Will The Siskiyou find the support to stay on its feet?

Our Mission: To generate the highest quality newspaper in an unbiased manner to the students, staff, and faculty with newsworthy, entertaining, and stimulating content.

The Siskiyou is a weekly publication at Southern Oregon University which first printed in November of 1926. In January of 2012, The Siskiyou made the transition to be completely online. This gave them the advantages of more in depth reporting that the print edition allowed them. In 2009, the staff of the Siskiyou was awarded top honors in the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s Collegiate Newspaper Contest. At nearly 90 years old, this student run paper at SOU is no longer receiving funding from the school. The newspaper was supported by the Communications department as a student group and class, however the classes low enrollment led to the class being cut, and therefore the funding being cut.

It’s widely expected for schools to have a newspaper, for students to provide other students with news about where they all attend school. From elementary school until college, many of us have seen our school papers and known authors from them. Former Siskiyou journalist Grant Brisbee commented on the pending loss of this paper, “If the Siskiyou goes away, I can see myself being asked about the place I went to school. ‘What kind of school was it? Was it a big school? A small school? What?’ And after pausing to pretend I’m being thoughtful, I’ll respond, ‘It’s the kind of school that doesn’t even have a newspaper.’” Brisbee attended SOU from 1994–1999. He now is a sports writer in the Bay Area who covers the San Francisco Giants. His articles on Major League Baseball have been nationally read and recognized.

SOU’s recent retrenchment affected many departments aside from the Siskiyou. Majors being eliminated include Art History and French. The current Physics major is suspended, and SOU will review establishing a new, more contemporary Physics program that aligns with current workforce demands. Photography, Professional Writing, and Film Techniques are some of the minors that have also been eliminated.

The communications department has had four different department scheduling faculty in the past year says Alena Ruggerio, department chair. This has led to many scheduling difficulties for students. For instance, Sports Journalism was offered last school year, but a pre-requisite was placed on the class for a course that didn’t even exist, leaving no one able to sign up for the course. This mistake was caught and corrected but only two days before the term started, leaving the class completely empty. According to journalism students, this is not the only class for which this has happened. This has left the Siskiyou without incoming writers, making it difficult to keep up with the website, as well as total lack of funding.

“The students are exploring applying to become a club and funded by student fees but due to application deadlines that money does not come through until next spring. Without a class or credits and no way to offer a small stipend to an editor and support freelance writers with a modest payment, it’s likely participation will end.”

A quote from the Siskiyou’s GoFundMe page.

The passionate students of the journalism department that once was, are refusing to let this paper go down without a fight. There are still many that are fighting hard to keep this newspaper going no matter what. However funding has been slow, and they’ve so far gathered 2% of the costs they need to cover for the next couple of years. The only other option is to appeal to the student group committee and get funding from the same group who defunded them previously.

If you wish to support the Siskiyou click here for their GoFundMe page. They are gladly accepting donations of any size.

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