Column: The Minnesota Daily will need your help

When the time comes, be ready to support this important community institution.

Grace Thomas

Next week marks the end of my time with the Minnesota Daily.

I’ve been here in some capacity for three years. First, I was a reporter on the policy desk then web editor for a year. I took a semester off after that then came back this year to run the section you’re reading now.

To tell you the truth, it feels a little like I’m about to lose a limb.

But I don’t mean to use this space to simply wax nostalgic about all the memories I have here, the friends I’ve made, the triumphs and the heartbreaks of working at the Daily.

I do mean to tell you that the Daily needs your support in order to continue its vibrant journalistic contributions.

We are a resource to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus — and the entire Twin Cities — because we cover such a vital part of the campus community more than most other outlets.

I’m so proud of the reporting that’s been done during my time at the Daily. In just the past semester, the newsroom has gone in-depth on a variety of sexual assault allegations that were presented in articles that gave a holistic view of this issue on campus, its history and what changes are needed. Reporters have presented stories about clashing voices on campus with nuance and respect not found in a number of nationally popular outlets.

Most importantly, the quality and scope of our coverage has not faltered even as we have undergone major changes in the last year — cutting back print and bolstering our online presence. The digital landscape for media is fraught with challenges, but we’ve been striving to excel and innovate.

But these challenges won’t become easier as time passes. Nonprofit news organizations like the Minnesota Daily, Minnesota Public Radio or Twin Cities Public Television need your readership and financial support.

Funding cuts and strict budgets affect the salaries news organizations can pay their reporters, editors and staff members. The Daily, like other media organizations, has had to make its budget leaner. But being able to pay competitively is important in order to ensure that a newsroom is filled with a group of reporters from diverse economic backgrounds.

If news organizations’ funding continues to suffer, only financially affluent reporters will be able to work in our local newsrooms.

The pay is already a boundary for many. My first semester here as a reporter meant I worked every day of the week between the Daily and my other job in addition to my classes — just to pay the rent.

Further funding cuts won’t just impact the scope of our coverage, they’ll impact who’s telling the stories that make up our coverage.

When the time comes and we put out the call, I hope that you listen to it and support the Daily in a way that respects the impact it has had on the Twin Cities for over a century.

Keep your ears open.