If you haven’t heard the news by now, the Rutgers student newspaper, The Daily Targum, announced on Monday that for the first time since being an independently run organization, that they failed to pass the referendum voted on by its peers. The paper relies on student funding to operate and not enough voted to continue an $11.25 per semester student fee. It’s the bulk of the funding that supports the Targum’s operations.
The paper began in 1869 but has counted on student funding since it went independent back in 1980. This is the first time they’ve ever failed to garner enough support from every school on campus for funding on the referendum, which is voted on every three years. At least 25% of students needed to vote in favor of continued financial support, which did not happen. In a tweet on Monday, they said “We do not know what the future holds, but the Targum Publishing Company’s Board of Trustees and staff will be working to address this funding crisis.”
There have been countless professional journalists and sportswriters that began their careers at the Targum. If you are a sports fan, which you probably are if you read our site, prominent sportswriters like Tara Sullivan, Mike Vornukov, Greg Bedard, and Kelly Whiteside all wrote at the Targum. Local and former Rutgers beat writers that are Targum alums include Ryan Dunleavy, Sam Hellman, Matt Hladik and Matt Sugam. In addition, here at On The Banks we have had several Targum alums on our own staff: Dave White, Garrett Stepien, Brian Fonseca, and Griffin Whitmer. There are many alums covering news around the globe I haven’t mentioned by name, that’s how impactful the Targum has been on professional journalism over the years.
Steve Politi of NJ Advance Media wrote a great article about why Rutgers fans should care about the Targum surviving, in addition to all the great talent that has come from the publication. One quote that stuck with me in particular was from Rutgers’ head of communications, Kevin Lorincz, who said, “The Targum provides valuable coverage for our athletics programs, coverage many of these programs wouldn’t otherwise receive. Working with our student media, helping them learn the protocols of the industry in a working setting, is an important way our office contributes to the educational mission of the University.“
The Targum publishes online as well, but there is value to continuing a printed newspaper version that can’t be replicated. The smell of a fresh morning paper and feel of the pages as you read it. The copy below is one of the greatest back covers the Targum has ever produced in its century and a half existence:
I read the Targum often as a Rutgers student in the late nineties and always enjoyed the sports coverage. I still think of the annual Mugrat issue, which was ahead of its time before the Onion existed. It would be a shame to see the Targum cease to exist in the future. It’s such an important voice on campus and training ground for future journalists.
We can all help make sure the newspaper survives. The Targum started a fundraising page and have raised just over $7,000 at the time of publishing this article. The goal is $100,000.
For all those reaching out to support us, thank you — 150 years of student journalism are being drastically changed right now, but we will continue to serve the Rutgers community. We have set up a fundraiser that can be accessed here.— The Daily Targum (@daily_targum) May 16, 2019
Anything helps. https://t.co/518DSLKKHU
One of my favorite things about the Rutgers community is valuing traditions. The Targum is part of the fabric of the Rutgers experience. Let’s help make sure that continues. Click on this link to donate to the Targum’s cause.