After 150 years of bringing free and independent journalism to the Berkeley community, The Daily Californian is facing a crisis. On Monday, ASUC elections will begin. If the Save the Daily Cal Initiative passes, we will be able to serve students for the next five years. If it fails, more than a century of student journalism at UC Berkeley will die.
For the last decade, UC Berkeley students have supported The Daily Californian. By voting yes on the V.O.I.C.E. Initiative in 2012 and the Ink Initiative in 2016, they have given students a voice in Berkeley and brought free campus and city news to our community while giving opportunities to future generations of journalists, writers, photographers, designers and businesspeople. The Daily Cal has continued its work for 150 years as Berkeley’s newspaper of record and, for the last 50 years, as an entirely independent publication.
But the expiration of the Ink Initiative this year could mean the end of the Daily Cal. Voting yes on the Save the Daily Cal Initiative will maintain this free public service for the Berkeley community at large and allow the Daily Cal to continue producing diverse, entertaining and informative content.
What is the Save the Daily Cal Initiative?
The Save the Daily Cal Initiative is a $6 semesterly fee and a $2.50 summer fee, which will allow the Daily Cal to offer its free content and educational opportunities to students. Of all fees collected, 33% will be contributed to general scholarship funds, so $2 each semester and $0.83 each summer return to financial aid.
This is an increase from the Ink Initiative’s previous $2.75 semesterly fee. The increase was proposed to make up for losses in advertising revenue since the Ink Initiative was passed.
How can I save the Daily Cal?
Vote “Yes” on the Save the Daily Cal Initiative on April 4-6 to keep this free public service for the Berkeley community. In order for this initiative to pass, 20% of the student body must vote without abstaining, and half of these votes must be “Yes.” UC Berkeley students will be able to vote online, in Eshelman 412 and by Sather Gate.
What does the Daily Cal do?
The Daily Cal has two missions. One is to provide award-winning, professional and factual news to all members of the Berkeley community — students, faculty, staff, residents and workers. This includes breaking news, investigative journalism, arts, sports, opinion and creative content through print and multimedia platforms. Through this, the Daily Cal gives the Berkeley community an opportunity to make its voices heard on campus and beyond.
Another is to provide an opportunity for UC Berkeley students to receive training in journalism and all aspects of print and online media production. Students trained at the Daily Cal have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes and work at publications such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone and The Washington Post for more than a century.
Why does the Daily Cal need your support?
In the last five years, the Daily Cal’s revenue has shrunk by 47% as profits from advertising have fallen dramatically — a challenge faced by local media organizations across the country. The pandemic has further decreased revenue, which has in turn led to fewer services and opportunities. In the last two years, the Daily Cal has cut print issues and positions in an effort to keep its doors open. If the Save the Daily Cal Initiative passes, many of these services can resume. If it fails, what remains will vanish.
Why does the Save the Daily Cal Initiative matter?
Despite the budget cuts and revenue losses, the Daily Cal has continued to provide daily content and expanded its online offerings through the tireless efforts of its committed staff of students and professionals and the funding. The loss of funding from student initiatives, however, would mean the end of those efforts. If this initiative does not pass, then the Daily Cal as we know it will cease to exist. Voting “yes” on The Save the Daily Cal Initiative will maintain the Daily Cal’s digital services, increase diversity in its newsroom and save The Daily Californian.