A message from Chuck Clark:
If you check in on this website occasionally, you’ve noticed some changes over the past three weeks.
We’re rolling out a new design for WKUStudentPubs.com, the alumni website for WKU Student Publications, along with some new important features and additional functionality.
The biggest reason behind this refresh is to make the website more useful for alumni in this era of the global coronavirus pandemic and to ensure it is a handy tool as we seek private support for the College Heights Herald, the Talisman, Student Publications Advertising and Cherry Creative.
In so many ways, 2020 has been the most challenging year of our lifetimes — the pandemic, the economic collapse, the divisiveness in our government and politics, the resurgent movement for racial equity across the nation… numerous stories of the decade, all happening at the same time.
While these challenges have hit each of us on a personal level, the impact on WKU Student Publications has been profound, and not without damage. For a comprehensive look, check out the report Where We Stand, which we posted in August.
Just as our students have stood up to the challenges of 2020, Student Publications as a whole is doing the same. In the coming weeks, at our Oct. 9 Homecoming virtual gathering, we will unveil our largest effort ever to sustain our student-led publications:
- We will publicly launch a campaign to create a $3 million endowment, a long-term effort to help sustain our operation for generations to come.
- We will open a public radio-style membership program, encouraging alumni, friends and members of the community to support Student Publications with monthly donations at levels designed to be comfortable for anyone.
- We will focus our fundraising efforts on generating contributions to the Student Publications Legacy Fund, which can be used to meet our current, most pressing needs; and the Student Publications Fellowship Fund, which works with professional partners to support internship experiences for up to 10 promising students each summer.
And you’ll be able to complete your donation without ever leaving your device.
You can get a preview of what we’ll announce Oct. 9 by paging through the navigation tools on the left-hand rail of this webpage if you’re viewing it on a desktop or tablet, or under the menu icon in the top upper right if you’re on a smartphone.
Don’t hold us to everything just yet, as this is still a work in progress. And like any good story, it will evolve with strong editing.
I know this campaign is a big step. But I also know our alumni and friends. I saw us come together to raise more than $1 million more than a decade ago to build the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center. I saw us rally to save the independence of the Herald and the Talisman in 1988 when a president, miffed by vigorous coverage, attempted to install faculty editors for our publications.
I know the mettle of our people. I know you answer the call when the cause is just. And I’m confident that this effort, as big as it is, will be successful.
It must be. The survival of WKU Student Publications and our four student-led divisions — the Herald, the Talisman, Student Publications Advertising and Cherry Creative — depend on it.
We intend to continue producing some of the very best student journalism in the country in some of the very best student-run publications. And we are committed to being the training ground for the next generations of professional journalists who will rise to the top and add to our 34 alumni whose work has been honored with Pulitzer Prizes.
Already, our students are tackling challenges with both purpose and creativity:
- The Herald, faced with a print edition limited first by the virus and then by a collapse in advertising, launched a daily email newsletter that now goes to 24,000 subscribers every weekday with the latest news.
- Talisman, which cannot issue print magazines this year because of budget cuts, is reinventing its always eclectic website with deep and rich reporting, storytelling and photography and will produce an entirely new digital-format magazine.
- Student Publications Advertising is working to replace lost revenues from university clients and shuttered businesses by focusing on the reach of our daily newsletters, the popularity of our publications’ social media and our distribution kiosks, which carry the only outdoor advertising on campus outside the football stadium.
- Cherry Creative, our branded content studio launched in 2018, is succeeding at generating new revenue with digital products, such as the WKU Graduate Gallery, while developing service oriented events, such as the WKU Housing Fair.
This is, in every way, a real world experience for our current students. They’re being confronted with problems, analyzing and solving them, all in real time.
And that’s why we have no choice but to keep this valuable enterprise healthy. I’m confident you’ll be there to help us.