Support student journalism
Picture the UC Davis campus on a Tuesday morning during week six of Winter Quarter. The CoHo line is a mile long, bike circles are packed with students rushing to their midterms, professors are holding extended office hours and those that spent the night in the 24-hour study room are slowly emerging into the daylight.
While all of this is happening above ground, no one has time to consider anything else, let alone think about what’s going on in the basement of Freeborn Hall.
Few may know it, but Lower Freeborn is a thriving, creative and exciting place. Home to The California Aggie, The Basement has become a space for writers, photographers, graphic designers and copy editors to celebrate and engage in high-quality student journalism.
This academic year marks The Aggie’s 100th birthday. For 98 of those years, our staff has provided a print newspaper to the UC Davis campus community. However, in 2014, financial difficulties forced The Aggie out of print. All operations were moved online, staff pay was cut entirely and readership dropped significantly.
In a relatively short amount of time, The Aggie became a volunteer, web-based organization, and UC Davis became the only undergraduate UC campus without a print newspaper.
Flash forward two years later, and we’re still here — building up our online presence, boosting social media engagement, having daily Editorial Board meetings and holding foosball tournaments in 25 Lower Freeborn. But something is different. We no longer have a hard-copy source of student news in Davis. The Aggie recognizes that the print newspaper industry isn’t what it used to be, but this trend isn’t necessarily the reality of a niche college market. We cannot accept sacrificing services that all other UC students have for an industry shift that does not apply to our campus.
So, in honor of our unit’s centennial, we are campaigning for the Print The Aggie initiative. If passed during this quarter’s ASUCD elections, the measure would increase quarterly student fees by $3.73 — less than a CoHo sandwich. With this money, The Aggie will be able to resume weekly printing, create close to 100 compensated student positions and hire a professional business manager to oversee our finances.
By running a fee initiative that other UC newspapers have successfully implemented in years past, we hope to create a sustainable business model that will last long into the future, while also fulfilling our mission of delivering news in an accessible way. Additionally, we believe that our 100 staffers, all of whom put in many hours of work every week to keep the newspaper running and provide a service for UC Davis students, deserve pay for what they do.
Print journalism is important, especially on a college campus. In addition to increasing transparency of local issues and keeping an official record of UC Davis history, an on-campus print newspaper gives student groups more visibility for their events and allows for a higher level of accountability for ASUCD and the administration.
We understand that an informed student body is an educated, conscious and well-rounded one. We also understand there’s nothing quite as pleasant as reading a print newspaper while drinking a cup of hot coffee.
If you enjoyed reading through this newspaper, consider voting ‘Yes’ on the Print The Aggie initiative next week, so this can become a normal occurrence. If not, still cast a vote. It’s a duty that comes with being a student.
Voting will take place at elections.ucdavis.edu from Tuesday, Feb. 16 to Friday, Feb. 19.