By: Albert Luna
I love this publication. The past 11 months at the Round Up have been some of the best times as Editor.
Not only did we put life into a publication that had inarguably lost its identity, but we (hopefully) changed the outlook for this great institution in what I genuinely hope is the most positive way possible.
Last summer, when looking ahead to what has now been the past year, there was so much uncertainty from every angle: media advisor, a budget, a leader, a sense of direction as a whole.
The Round Up, and student media altogether, seems to now finally be able to be back on its feet. On our side, it only took a constant rotation of hiring’s, firings, and resignations alike, all within months, to finally be able to come to terms that these things are not easy by any measure and they take time.
However, at least for a year, we brought The Round Up back; we were able to cover clubs, events, sports, and the news for the first time in far too long for what should be a constant watch dog of the University. That alone should be chalked up as improvement – exit stage right. However, we simply do not see it in the same light.
With all of that said, we missed the mark this year. We recognize it. We own it. We missed opportunities, we missed tips, we missed where the students are.
Additionally, from an internal standpoint, we came up short as well. The very years’ worth of work we are trying to distance our self from —the previous cast preceding us— has inevitably crept back in from a managerial, financial, and content standpoint.
We need to reach students at a quicker pace, we need to become a viable presence as we once were on campus, and we need to get back to being a publication that students can not only be aware of, but proud of by the same token.
Therefore, it has come down to this: we cannot afford to print The Round Up.
Afford not only in the sense that the University’s money supply is drying up at an alarming rate for services that have been mainstays for years— which can affect the budget that is allocated to The Round Up and its expenditures— but also afford to be moving away from the students and the mediums in which they receive news.
The limited budget we have makes for a limited amount of staff which results in a limited amount of content – all of which is dedicated to filling the pages on a weekly basis of The Round Up.
For every story written, unless it is sports, is not posted online until the day the Round Up comes out in print to give the reader incentive to pick up the physical copy, of which we can go to advertisers and charge a certain amount depending on our readership. The print demanded the staff to devote all of their limited amount of work hours to the print, further neglecting the powerhouse of our online platform.
The easy answer is to simply have the staff focus on the digital aspect– yet NMSU Human Resources will not allow students to work more than their budgeted hours. The next logical step is to have people simply contribute for free— much like the majority of other college newspapers— however, NMSU HR also states that everyone must be paid, regardless. I suppose the majority of college publications in this country should be expecting a heavy fine for labor violations, as this University clearly has very questionable ways of interpreting almost anything.
Also, simply put, millennials don’t read print anymore. We see this as a perfect way to evolve into a more current and relative news entity – we see ourselves as an online platform going forward. Not only is the staff behind this, but we can justifiably say the community is as well. The process that led to this conclusion will be documented in greater length at a later time.
This decision has not and likely years from now in hindsight will still not be easy. The Round Up has always been in print. It is what we are. It is what we could hang our hat on at the end of the day but we must move forward with how quickly the journalism field is changing.
Next year will look drastically different, instead of being outside in bins when you are getting out of class, ideally, we will be that story on your Twitter feed that you click on while you are still in class doing the inevitable scroll down your timeline. The time to evolve is now, and we cannot miss this “opportunity” the University has given us.
We can promise one more printed Round Up for everyone that will be returning to school in the fall, as well as being (hopefully) an active part in input and comments about the change in the meantime.
We can also, however, promise timelier news, holding our University officials accountable for their decisions to a higher degree, and more coverage than NMSU has seen in a long time. At the very least, we can offer to you, the reader, an opportunity to watch next year’s unrelenting staff try to push this establishment to a higher level – and live with the results.
In the meantime, during this summer break, I would urge everyone with input to reach out to us – after all, this is the students’ voice.
Most of all during this time, as I have said all year, keep your ears to the ground for news, give us feedback, and most importantly, continue to write your own story.
Albert Luna is the Editor-in-Chief for The Round Up and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (575) 646-3743.