The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

PRINT IS [still] NOT DEAD

The+Battalion%2C+Texas+A%26amp%3BM%26%238217%3Bs+student+run+newspaper%2C+will+print+one+paper+a+week+this+semester.
Photo by Brady Stone

The Battalion, Texas A&M’s student run newspaper, will print one paper a week this semester.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the day we, The Battalion, were told to stop printing. 

On Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, then-editor-in-chief Myranda Campanella and then-managing editor Julia Potts were called into an unexpected meeting with two administrators within the Division of Student Affairs. The same morning 5,000 copies of The Battalion’s weekly print hit stands, administrators declared it would be the final print version of the paper. 

To relieve any lingering confusion, since 2018, the university has not provided any financial support for The Battalion’s print edition, nor does it provide compensation to any of The Battalion staff. The university does provide The Battalion, and The Aggieland Yearbook, an office space on campus and a full-time adviser to the publications. 

However, just as administrators have no right to order the student government to write or pass a bill simply because they conduct business on campus, they have no authority to decide what, or how, The Battalion publishes. 

The Battalion’s leadership acted swiftly upon receiving these demands, scheduling a meeting with University President M. Katherine Banks, who insisted this would lead to “a new era for The Battalion.” 

In some ways, she was right. The Battalion was able to respond quickly, publish its story and rapidly gained support from all corners of the Aggie community. Regardless of previous opinions, current and former students, faculty and staff and media outlets of all types spoke out in support of editorial independence, putting their full support behind the 130-year-old publication. Following the public outcry, The Battalion published its “Print Is Not Dead” edition on Feb. 17, 2022.

Since this new era began, The Battalion has dominated the national awards stage, earning eight Pinnacle awards from the College Media Association, ranking first in Associated Collegiate Press’ Fall 2022 Clips and Click Contest and winning the first-ever Student Press Freedom Award from the Student Press Law Center — just to name a few. 

Hard-hitting journalism such as “The Rudder Association” reached readers everywhere and even made The Texas Tribune’s “The 2022 stories Texas Tribune journalists wish we’d had” alongside work by The Houston Chronicle and The Marshall Project. 

Our own coverage of the Memorial Student Center losing its status as an early-voting location last year informed the local community and directed eyes from all across the state to College Station and the importance of ballot access. 

But The Battalion, and student journalism more broadly, is about so much more than the headlines that reach national proportions — it’s about telling the story of our community, Aggieland, authentically. 

Being run by students, for students, allows us to pinpoint the stories that matter most to our audience, explore these issues with passion and share them with Aggies everywhere.

When our podcast producers sit down with college athletes to record their podcast, “Home Turf,” they’ll inquire into the athlete’s sport and achievements, but also their classes, perspectives and student life. 

When news of the overturning of Roe v. Wade rocked the country, our newsroom asked itself, “How will this affect students and other members of our community?” and subsequently published student voices on the topic.

The glory isn’t ours alone however, as we are incredibly fortunate and grateful for the support received in the past year. While thanking everyone who supported us would be impossible — that doesn’t mean we won’t try. 

To our former adviser, Douglas Pils, thank you for being our rock and our tireless advocate. To the faculty of the Department of Communication and Journalism, thank you for always centering student voices in the conversation.

To Friends of The Battalion, the non-profit who helped us make the transition to a student organization, thank you for helping us to remain independent and improve pay our hardworking staff.

To the Student Press Law Center and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, thank you for continuing to advocate for student media across the country and for coming to our aid in our time of need. Thank you as well to the other student media outlets who supported us on social media or wrote their own editorials championing editorial independence.

The biggest thank you goes to the Aggie community, who has continued to support us through their readership — physical and digital — outreach and by contributing to Friends of The Battalion and The Battalion Excellence Fund through the A&M Foundation. 

While our staff is committed to embracing new mediums and ways to reach our audience, make no mistake; Print is not dead until we say it is. 

The Battalion has been printing for 130 years, and today, we are committing to yet another. So here’s to another year of print journalism, of commemorating Aggieland and telling stories about students, by students, for students.

The Battalion’s Editorial Board represents the views of The Battalion, as a publication, and is composed of Michaela Rush, editor-in-chief, Caleb Elizondo, opinion editor, and Ruben Hernandez, life & arts editor.

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