The History and Future of University Newspaper
The History and Future of University Newspaper
  • Reporter Lee Ji-a
  • 승인 2015.04.08 17:46
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In the 1970s-1980s, military dictatorships had people completely under their control. When they suppressed major newspapers to hide problems in the government, university newspapers informed people and exposed the irrationalities of government. University newspapers had enormous power of influence. But now, many university newspapers are in troubles with public indifference.
The Postech Times interviewed Professor Nak Gyun Na (Chairman of Korea Communication Association) to identify current problems and how they could be overcome.

First, every newspaper gets a budget from its university so they do not have power. For example, Yonsei University gave students a choice whether they would pay for The Yonsei Chunchu or not in 2012. Only 18 percent of students paid for that. As a result, the budget decreased to one-third of the 2011 budget. Also, because they are almost dependent on the university, it is hard to guarantee freedom. The Sungkyunkwan University Weekly ran into trouble after publishing an article that criticized Samsung. Second, as the military dictatorship ended, common concern about society disappeared. People started to partake in individualism and interest in newspapers decreased sharply. In a video which treated university newspaper’s situation, some students in Chung-Ang University said, “I never heard of the newspaper.” Finally, candidates for newspaper decreased. In the past, the competition to enter university newspapers was the same as that of major newspapers. The ratio of applicants to members selected was 20:1 or 30:1. Now, it is rare to find one over 3:1. Newspapers are run only by a few people and the ability of reporters is generally lower than in the past.
Though some students raise the question of whether a university newspaper is even necessary, it is very near sighted. Reporters in SKKU and Yonsei university said, “If newspapers disappear, there is no supervisor committee of what the university does.”

How to overcome
Prof. Na said “It is not activated to publish private advertisements in university newspapers in Korea than in Western countries.” THE DAILY CALIFORNIAN, the newspaper of UC Berkeley, has many readers about 112,580 people who live in the city of Berkeley except students and faculties . Politically, America and Korea are very similar. America does not have any extraordinarily pressing issues that are generating interest in university papers. The big difference is whether income from outside exists or not. U.S. university papers can print advertisements from companies. To get more income they try to expand their readers and they print articles related to people and events outside the university. This generates greater interest in their newspaper, which makes more companies want to advertise in the paper. University newspapers can write freely if they are economically independent from the university.
The Korean Association of University Media Editors plans to develop criteria related to freedom of university newspaper and treatment of reporters in university rankings and hold a camp to develop the ability of student reporters.
In the aforementioned video, reporters in the university newspaper and experts said, “Most of all, university newspapers need students’ interest and feedback.”