NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A funding crisis has hit one of the oldest college newspapers in the country.
At Rutgers University, students decide whether to fund the publication, and this year there were not enough votes. Young reporters there have broken stories that have made international headlines, but will that continue?
Some of the biggest headlines in history were born out of the Daily Targum newsroom on Neilson Street in New Brunswick.
The student paper at Rutgers University went independent in 1980, so it could freely cover everything happening on campus. Since then, student fees have funded the non-profit that oversees it, known as the Targum Publishing Company. Every three years, students vote on whether to be billed $11.25 for the paper. And this time they didn’t get the 25 percent of votes needed, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Tuesday.
“I was really heartbroken by it,” Daily Targum reporter Chloe Dopico said.
Newly appointed business manager Sandy Jiacobbe said it’s a setback, as the fee funds most of the paper’s operations. Student staff are paid a daily fee and there’s three full-time employees, including an accountant.
“It is going to change our operations going forward into the future,” Jiacobbe said.
Managing editor Priyanka Bansal is determined to deliver the news.
“Without a pay or with a pay, we’re still here because we care about covering the news,” Bansal said.
She recently covered the university faculty’s efforts to organize what would have been a historic strike, and reporter Dopico investigated white supremacist fliers that popped up on campus.
“We sat in the newsroom until 2 o’clock in the morning, writing it, rewriting it, rewriting it,” Dopico said.
It’s the breeding ground for reporters like Maria Cramer, who now writes for the Boston Globe.
“That is a newspaper that taught both of us a lot — how to deal with people, how to work with people, how to deal with the controversies that come with being a reporter,” Cramer said.
Rutgers journalism professor Steven Miller said the collegiate audience is what may have hurt the referendum.
“This generation of students doesn’t pay attention to the newspaper,” Miller said. “They just take anything that’s on their Twitter feed and think life happens in 280 characters and it doesn’t.”
For now, the paper will rely on its reserves, ad revenue and donations that come in from alumni and professors, but it’s not clear how long that money will last.
Rozner reached out to Rutgers University multiple times on Tuesday, but no one got back to her with a comment.