Bills, Bills, Bills: ISD Editorial Staff responds to a recent proposal

Interested candidates for summer jobs should contact Amber Mohmand at for more details. Those interested in applying to work during the fall/spring term should contact Katherine Kealey at 

Interested candidates for summer jobs should contact Amber Mohmand at [email protected] for more details. Those interested in applying to work during the fall/spring term should contact Katherine Kealey at [email protected]

Local media across the country has been facing an enormous hurdle: money. 

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 100 local newsrooms have shut down. Some newsrooms have “merged” with larger ones, but this merger means that the specialized coverage of their communities is nearly completely gone. Over 65 million Americans live in counties that have one local newspaper — or zero. 

Students at Iowa State and residents of Ames are lucky enough to not reside in one of those counties. Both the Ames Tribune and the Iowa State Daily provide coverage for our communities. 

The Daily has a unique opportunity in the fact that we are a student-run newspaper. We are students, which means that we provide perspectives that others cannot. We know the ins and outs of Iowa State and we know what needs to be covered. In addition, we have the ability to connect with sources within the university because we are also members of the university community. 

But, we are facing the same struggle that every other newsroom has been, and is currently facing. 

The pandemic put a strain on our budget, as it has put a strain on everyone’s finances. Our students have been working double-time to produce the content you see in your inbox every day while trying to keep up on schoolwork.

The students who put out this content do it for very little in return. If they get paid at all, it’s a small amount. They don’t receive any glory. Being a student journalist is a thankless job.

We do it because we care. 

We want to inform you about what is going on in our community. Over our 130 years of serving Iowa State’s campus, we’ve done all we can to be stewards for this community and to be watchdogs for the entire campus.

Whether you read our stories everyday or not, we think we provide an important resource to you and we need your support.

On March 23, senators of the Iowa State Student Government Senate introduced a bill to terminate the Iowa State Daily’s contract  for the purpose of “renegotiating.”

Our contract accounts for student enrollment fluctuations and allows for mutually agreed upon changes. If the Student Government is receiving less money from students, then they have less money to give out. We have met the metrics and have been in good faith discussions in regard to potential amendments. We have demonstrated nothing but openness and willingness to discuss possible changes. 

Staff at the Iowa State Daily were told that some senators felt we were uncooperative in terms of discussing our contract. This is untrue, as Daily leadership met with Student Government in September regarding this topic, open to discussions.

In February, the Daily’s editor-in-chief gave a presentation to the Senate that explained how the money was allocated throughout the Iowa State Daily. The Senate has a representative on ISD’s board that can view financials and be included in discussions regarding the organization as a whole.

Additionally, a point was made that there would be an appreciation for “greater oversight” over the Daily. However, it is unclear whether it was about the content or financial oversight. Over the last eight years, the Daily and Student Government have developed a collaborative relationship, operating well together. The Daily has been transparent with how the funds provided by the Student Government are utilized. Students tasked with managing the relationships have been excellent partners but are often sidelined due to Senators, who are on a crusade to defund the Daily.

If it was in reference to the Senate having a say in our content, this would be a slippery slope and we would lose all credibility as a journalistic organization.

There is a rock bottom that our organization can hit— a point at which we can no longer function. If that happens, students, faculty and staff will lose a resource that delivers curated and pertinent information right to them. Since 1890, we have been the record-keepers of Iowa State. Without us, there will not be an outlet for our campus community to have their voices heard and objective accountability will be lost.

We will continue to work with Student Government, as we have always indicated we would be willing to do, regardless of whether or not the Senate votes to advance this bill or not. The only thing this bill does is create unnecessary tension between the Iowa State Daily and Student Government.

Student Government and the Daily are two of the largest and most influential student-run voices on campus and we want nothing more than to work together to make our campus the best it can be. 

If you would like to support the Daily, please send an email to your senator encouraging them to vote against this bill.