Journalism Addresses Student Media Company Closure

We share alumni desire to protect freedom of the press for students

As professional journalists and now educators, our faculty is disappointed in the closing of the Student Media Company, an independent 501(c)3, due to funding challenges.

We have also been deeply disappointed that newsrooms across the country have had to make deep cuts in reporting and editing staffs. But that is the economic reality of the digital age.

We have heard from our alumni and are heartened by their interest in protecting freedom of the press for SMU’s student journalists. We strongly share that interest and plan to assemble an advisory board composed of faculty and student representatives from across campus and professional journalists from outside the University to provide new collaborative opportunities and to guard freedom of speech for student voices at SMU. In fact, one of the board’s first tasks will be to draft a statement of principles for the student media operations within the Division of Journalism that will include strong protections for freedom of expression.

Lauren Smart, SMU journalism alumna and professor of practice in SMU’s Division of Journalism, was appointed late last year to the Student Media Company’s advisory board. “When I was appointed to the board, the stark reality of Student Media Company’s financial situation was a key topic of discussion,” she says. “The decision to dissolve the company was difficult for all of us. Fortunately, students will continue to have a voice in digital publications as part of the Division of Journalism. The division’s commitment to independent reporting and freedom of the press is what attracted me to return to SMU as a professor of practice, and we will carry that commitment into the new student reporting ventures.”

In maintaining the digital presence of The Daily Campus as a platform for campus news, the Division of Journalism believes we can ultimately bolster student engagement and create innovative collaborations across campus. Our faculty have dedicated their careers to instilling students with the values of a free press, and we believe their guidance and mentorship will be pivotal in the reinvigoration of The Daily Campus in its new form.

We will work with students to produce the best and most professional news website possible to cover the SMU community. We remain dedicated to teaching and protecting First Amendment rights.

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