This year alone, three independent, student-run publications have emerged. The Davis Beat, which made its debut Winter Quarter, the Davis Political Review (DPR), which circulated its first issue on May 1, and The Third World Forum, which resurfaced after years of inactivity.
The Davis Beat and DPR utilized the Club Finance Council (CFC) on campus to receive grants for their projects. The Davis Beat received $1,675, but they have recently stopped printing due to a lack of advertising.
“We’re thinking about going online, but we’ll see if we can make print work. It’s definitely a tough ad market out there. So we’re on hiatus until we figure out our finances … I hope we can keep it going,” said Adrian Glass-Moore, editor in chief of The Davis Beat and third-year East Asian studies major.
To continue printing the publication, Glass-Moore said he hopes to be able to seek out funds from a variety of sources. He cited a potential combination of advertisements, donations and other grants.
DPR also received a grant from CFC, in the amount of $1,077, during Winter Quarter. DPR is currently UC Davis’ first and only commentary publication, created by Alex Tavlian, who said he felt that a campus in such close proximity to the Capitol should have a political magazine.
“I transferred to UC Davis this fall and was surprised to discover that, for a campus so close to the State Capitol, there was no outlet for students to write about issues being discussed by the Governor and State Legislature,” Tavlian said, editor in chief of DPR and a third-year political science major.
After reading political review magazines from Harvard and UC Berkeley, Tavlian asked his friends in the political science department about their opinions on a political commentary magazine and the process accelerated quickly from there. By December 2012, they elected an editorial and executive board for the magazine.
The issue that was released at the beginning of this month included topics like California’s high-speed rail project, gun control laws and the DREAM Act.
“The benefit DPR has, as a nonpartisan commentary magazine, is that each issue acts as a mosaic of opinions from all across the political spectrum on issues that Americans talk about regularly,” Tavlian said.
Tavlian hopes that the magazine can eventually expand beyond the scope of the UC Davis campus and be distributed around the State Capitol.
In addition to The Davis Beat and DPR, The Third World Forum has resurfaced this spring after not printing for several years. The independent, student-run political zine had its debut in 1971 and was once funded by ASUCD. The Third World Forum has a mission to stand against all forms of oppression, including racism, Zionism, sexism and heterosexism.
“We believe that the University of California has been designed to promote and uphold the system of imperialism and racism, which dominated the United States,” the mission statement states.
According to Dan Reimold, college journalism scholar and assistant journalism professor at the University of Tampa, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain print publications on college campuses.
“The sad reality is that the trend at the moment is toward less advertising, less readers and more trouble in print, which certainly is not good news for these startup publications,” Reimold said.
He adds that there has been a very recent and dramatic drop-off in advertising revenue, in even the bigger, daily student papers, that he said he would consider the “A-list of student press.”
Reimold said another emerging trend today is a reinvention of how one would come to define student papers.
“A small group of papers [is] trying to reinvent what students think of when they think of the student paper, in terms of existing as more than just a news vehicle.”
Reimold, who created and runs the leading student press blog in the U.S., College Media Matters, said that surveys are finding that people between the ages of 18 and 24 on campuses are not picking up their campus newspapers in print as often as they used to.
There are also multiple mediums, and in the case of UC Davis, multiple student publications that are vying for the attention of the student body.
The University of Wisconsin, Madison has been able to sustain two competing student publications, The Daily Cardinal and The Badger Herald, until most recently The Herald announced its decision to stop printing daily and opt to publish increasingly online, he added.
“It depends on how you look at it in terms of who won — some would say The Daily Cardinal won because they are the long remaining print paper. Some would say The Daily Herald is going to be the ultimate winner because they’re trying to innovate first,” he said.
SASHA COTTERELL and MUNA SADEK can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org