COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M President Katherine Banks notified staff of the Battalion a week ago, she wanted print copies of the student led newspaper to stop immediately as part of her commitment to the universities path forward changes, but student journalists who broke the news pushed to extend the end date.
For students, getting rid of print copies of their paper is like ending an A&M tradition.
”Print media is something that is much more sentimental," said Brady Stone, previous Battalion staff member. "Looking at A&M traditions, print editions like silver taps, looking back at the George Bush funeral special edition that the battalion got to do,”
After the Battalion published the news of president Banks requesting the publication stop their weekly print editions, she released a public statement the following day allowing an extension until the end of the semester. As the new journalist working group continues to build suggestions for president Banks with their second meeting next week.
“I strongly believe in a robust journalism program," said M. Katherine Banks, A&M President. "Which is why I'm bringing back the degree... And the battalion returning to a university department combined with new facilities... Will elevate the profession and aid in restoring trust in news media,”
The Battalion is expected to transition to a digital platform under the reconstituted journalism department.
”We're looking for opportunities to build a first-class state of art program that will allow these students and faculty when they come here with this new program to really adapt to and be part of tsunami changes that we’re seeing in the industry right now,” Jon Heidtke, former Journalism Association.
As the industry evolves, former journalist and working group member Jon Heidtke believes the university is moving in the right direction.
“The Batt and all the other different you know opportunities that come out of this," added Heidtke. "Being able to have a collaborative lab where students can learn and grow from these areas will certainly help them as they transition into the workforce,”
Brady Stone, a member of the working group, shared prior to the announcement, the group was not consulted. Stone is hopeful suggestions made moving forward are taken into deep consideration.
“Given the way she’s made decisions just this past week that is a big concern of ours," shared Stone. "But I think that it is important that we don’t make decisions with that in the back of our heads, we’re just going to make decisions for what we believe is best for journalism at Texas A&M,”
For now, a petition to save the hard print copy of the Battalion is gaining traction, with nearly 4 thousand signatures so far.