Texas A&M based student paper demanded to stop print production in ultimatum with leadership
Updated: Feb 21, 2022
The Battalion, a student-run paper-based at Texas A&M, has received demands from the President of the University, Katherine Banks, to halt production of its print editions. This order was initially immediate but has been changed to at the end of the Spring semester.
The Battalion has released print editions since its founding in 1893 and introduced digital production in 1997.
The demand, according to leaders at the university, is apparently to force a switch to a strictly digital format, citing the industry’s quick shift to digital as print advertising revenue continues to decline. The paper is entirely funded by advertisements but already has finalized deals to secure $61,000 in advertisements for the rest of the semester.
“Gen Zs and millennials predominantly receive their news [digitally], and that is the market, here in College Station, certainly [among] college students” President Banks explained. “I do understand why [other university leadership] felt as if you need to have at least one experience … to understand print media. I’m not a professor of journalism, I don’t understand exactly why [print media] is important to the field.”
The ultimatum issued by Banks would see the 129-year old paper become part of the
the system and receive funding straight from the university to compensate for the loss of advertisements or lose all funding, resources, and office space.
The reaction from the students has been overwhelmingly negative about the order as they unite under the hashtag #SavetheBatt. One such student and former writer for the Battalion is Peyton Reed who spoke to The Chronicle regarding the situation.
“They’re trying to kill the print version and make the batt a part of the university, which would mean that the university would have control of the content rather than it be a free press. That would turn it to state media.” Reed stated.
It is unsure whether this decision will remain given the overwhelming backlash to the decision, but the implications for the future of student journalism seem grim.