NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Daily Targum, the newspaper written and managed by Rutgers University students who have covered the events and people in and around the school for 151 years, is planning a significant reduction in its print run and will print on a monthly basis.
Editor in chief Andreana Loukidis said that the staff remains committed to covering important issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the nationwide racial reckoning in the wake of George Floyd’s and the early stages of Jonathan Holloway’s tenure as Rutgers’ first Black president via other platforms – even if the vast majority of the student body is relying on remote learning for the fall semester.
“The decrease in the number of students on campus means that we have to take advantage of our social media platforms and our website to successfully connect to the student body and keep them informed,” Loukidis told TAPinto New Brunswick. “We’re actually in the final stages of entirely revamping our website and releasing an app that will allow students to never feel like they’re out of the loop.”
She said that the monthly print issues will have a 2,000-copy press run, with 750 going to College Avenue, 250 going to Livingston and 500 available on the Cook and the Douglass/Busch campuses.
Last fall, The Targum printed Mondays through Thursdays with a 5,000-copy run.
Loukidis said the majority of the staff will be working remotely. The few staff members who will be in-person to design the pages will be working out of the College Avenue Student Center. She said the move from the space on Neilson Street was made “in order to be more present on campus.”
Although it had been a vital source of information for hundreds of thousands of students over the decades, the future of The Daily Targum seemed uncertain after editors failed to secure student funding in 2019.
Although The Daily Targum generates revenue through ads and support from alumni, it has been 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% 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% 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% of those students who voted approved the referendum, it turns out to be only 18% of the entire student body.
That prompted the staff to cut back from publishing five days a week to four.
When asked if losing student funding has affected the Targum’s publishing schedule, Loukidis said, “The biggest impact that losing student funding had on The Daily Targum is it forced us to realize how disconnected we had become from the student body, and we’ve worked particularly hard to close that gap – our social media initiatives throughout this pandemic are an example of that. Our goal is to be an outlet for the student voice to be heard throughout the Rutgers community.”
The Daily Targum is the second-oldest and among the largest college newspapers in the nation, according to its website.
It has won multiple Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Crown awards, the highest recognition for college newspapers.
Dozens of professionals cut their journalistic teeth at the Targum. Notable Targum alumni include Jessica Durando (CNN), Marques Harper (Los Angeles Times) Randal Archibold (New York Times), Becky Quick (CNBC) and Tara Sullivan (Boston Globe).