NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The majority of Tara Sullivan's column posted today on the Boston Globe's website focused on Tiger Woods' chances of winning the PGA Championship.
Toward the bottom, however, she couldn't help but voice her concern over how her college paper had been plunged into financial crisis.
Sullivan, like many others who have gone on to have successful journalism careers after cutting their teeth at The Daily Targum, are calling for Targum alumni and others inside the Rutgers community to band together in an effort to help support the paper.
"When I was a history major at Rutgers, it was The Targum that gave me my journalism start, and being independent from the university was the root of the pride we took in our jobs and felt in our work," she wrote. "To list all of the great Targum alums in the industry would fill this column, but here’s hoping support from all of us can help get this right."
Sullivan's words were echoed across social media and beyond on Wednesday as a grassroots campaign to keep Rutgers' independently student-run, student-operated newspaper afloat seemed to be mounting.
Although The Daily Targum generates revenue through ads and support from alumni, it is mainly funded by students whose tuition included a refundable $11.25 fee. Not enough students voted to continue the student fee during a recent campus referendum. Students are asked every three years to reaffirm their support.
At least 25 percent of the student body must support the fee for Rutgers to keep charging students to support the newspaper.
Of the 23,996 eligible voters, only about 6,500 participated, or only 27 percent of the student body voted on the referendum. Of those, who cast a ballot, 4,400 voted in favor of the referendum. So even though 67 percent of those students who voted approved the referendum, it turns out to be only 18 percent of the entire student body.
The news of the loss of funding spread quickly and by Wednesday morning, two former Targum staff members had already pledged their financial support. With many alumni working for high-profile news organizations - including Los Angeles Times' Marques Harper, New York Times' Randal Archibold and CNBC's Becky Quick - more support could be on the way.
Sandy Giacobbe, the Targum's business manager, said Wednesday that the paper is considering several options to make it easier for people to pledge their support.
He said there are plans to create a web page for alumni to donate to the Targum. Also, there's a plan to set up a link on the Targum's web page where the 4,000 or so students that voted in favor of the referendum could still go ahead and contribute the $11.25 or whatever amount they want.
He said last year's operating budget was about $800,000. The biggest expense was the printing and distribution of 10,000 copies each day, Monday through Friday.
The Targum also generates revenue through the sale of ads.
Sullivan, the former Targum sports editor, took time away Wednesday from covering the Boston Bruins' playoff march to lament what could be lost if the Targum can no longer publish.
"What I loved about it, I wrote headlines, I wrote captions, I sized photos, I did layout, I assigned stories, I wrote stories, I wrote columns," she said. "You got to do all of it. That's why when I kid about it being the best job I ever had, that was the truth. We learned every day how to do something new. I decided to be a photographer one day. You could do anything."