Letter from the editors: Martlet fundraiser

Op-eds Opinions

On Friday, March 23, from 6–9 p.m., the Martlet will host a curated gala featuring content from the past 70 years to commemorate our 70th birthday. The evening will also act as a launch for a six-week GoFundMe campaign to bring the Martlet newsroom into the digital age of journalism.

Over the past few months we’ve noticed that our newsroom equipment has begun—to put it politely—to slow down. We currently have one working computer for 12 editorial staff and a printer that embodies the phrase “patience is a practice.” This is not acceptable for a newspaper that publishes two newspapers per month. On top of our ancient equipment, have you been on our website lately? Our web server seems to enjoy crashing on a consistent basis, and the design, although stylish when the website was most recently refurbished in 2014, is dated.

So, our sob story aside, we’ve decided to do something about it! Ergo the gala and GoFundMe campaign. In this life, some things are too big to carry on your own. As most of us here at the Martlet are students and recent graduates, we decided to turn to the communities we’ve served for the past 70 years and ask for their help to bring us into the digital age.

This is why we are asking for help — we are asking for a boost into the age of digitalization to give us the breathing room to set our paper up for the next era of media (which has already begun).

There are so many exciting opportunities that the Martlet could explore in future years: weekly newsletters, stories with better video and photo integration, accessible commenting sections, and interactive elements on the website to keep the Martlet’s editorial board as close as possible to the students who read our stories.

These opportunities are not only exciting but crucial. One of the Martlet’s primary functions is to equip students with the tools they need to pursue fulfilling and powerful lives as professional journalists.

The Martlet teaches students how to scrum, conduct interviews, write, and edit, all while showing them just how hectic, messy, and fun newsrooms should be. Students learn how to take photos; shoot and edit video; and create, maintain, and optimize social media content for their own stories and for the Martlet as a whole.

Donors to the fundraiser are investing in a renovation of the tools we can provide for our staff and volunteers, and these are tools that will be used to continue our longstanding tradition of critical and progressive news reporting.

UVic students already contribute money to the Martlet in the form of their student levy, and we are incredibly appreciative of the funding we receive from students every semester. This money keeps us in a stable financial place, which is a pretty privileged position for a media outlet to find itself in these days.

But our print advertising revenue is declining, and we do not have a good enough website to make up for that with online advertising (nor do we have functional enough computers to effectively manage any sort of website at all).

This is why we are asking for help — we are asking for a boost into the age of digitalization to give us the breathing room to set our paper up for the next era of media (which has already begun).

And while we are excited for this new era, we know that we will head into it as the same publication that has flourished for what is now 70 years, confident in the knowledge of why we exist.

We exist to buck the status quo, whether that’s publishing the federally banned FLQ manifesto in 1970 or publishing genitalia on the cover for the sake of queer acceptance in 1992.

We provide watchful eyes on the university administration and the student government, informing students about a president’s allegedly questionable credentials in 1971 or the students’ society boycott against Maclean’s magazine in 2010.

We are a campus voice but also a community voice, and we are one of the few independent newspapers on southern Vancouver Island.

And we advocate for voices who either experience prejudice from or are excluded from the national media. Without corporate mandates holding us back, we are freer to include Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, and differently abled voices in our newspaper.

We invite everyone to give generously. Whether you have written for the Martlet, been interviewed and quoted (hopefully correctly), or just read a paper, this is your fundraiser for your newspaper. We are independent, student-run, and desperate to make a difference.

Logo by Austin Willis, Design Director