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CU Boulder’s College of Media cuts funding to paper

Illustration: Alex Stallsworth · The Sentry

A bold move into the future of news media 

As the spring semester begins for college students around the country, extracurricular activities recommence as well. While all may be business as usual for most returning students, less than 40 miles away from Denver, a select group of students at the University of Colorado Boulder begin the year with a new challenge. The university decided to cut the budget for their student-led newspaper CU Independent (CUI) in favor of a university paper led by faculty members.  

Along with the shift in leadership of the paper, CU Boulder’s College of Media, Communication and Information also announced that students will instead be encouraged to focus on other forms of news media, taking on a more dynamic and proactive approach to leaning toward the way news is consumed in 2020.  

Students who formally worked for CUI intend to continue to work on an independent publication centered around student life at Boulder but coming up with funding may prove to be a challenge. 

The college of media previously funded CUI for its students as an extracurricular, with a price tag of about $13,000 a semester. Along with the economic support from the university, students will no longer have access to their newsroom and will instead need to begin the search for an off-campus office space to commence their work.  

Now that the CUI has split from the university, it will likely start fresh as an online-only paper until the funds can be found to begin printing physical papers. The lack of university-provided resources remains the biggest challenge in the student-led effort to keep the CU Independent up and running. 

The CUI has been around since the late 1970’s, after the first student paper CU housed, The Colorado Daily, which was founded in 1892, also parted ways with the university to become an independent publication. This was due to the university’s discomfort with The Colorado Daily’s alleged anti-war position.  

The Colorado Independent, then known as The Campus Press, picked up where The Colorado Daily left off, eventually changing its name due to a controversial article. After the incident, credit was no longer given to students working for CUI.  

With the switch to multi-media news coverage and the rebrand of the college’s journalistic image, students will have more opportunity to receive course credit as they are mentored by faculty working on the new paper. 

This comes at a time when information is received in a different way to how it was consumed during the early days of the University of Colorado’s founding. It’s possible that a larger online presence makes more sense for a place like Boulder, which is largely populated by young college students that fall into Gen X territory.  

However, the classic symbol of a student written physical paper is a bold move for such a reputable journalism school to rid themselves of.   As of January 2020 the future of the CU Independent remains unclear.

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