San Antonio College’s 95-year-old student newspaper, The Ranger, announced in an article on Oct. 6 that it would be ceasing production in December. As we mourn the discontinuation of a beloved, nationally ranked and well-respected publication, we must acknowledge the importance of student journalism. A product of students and faculty of the journalism department at San Antonio College (SAC), The Ranger cultivated the skillsets of not only young journalists but also campus and community leaders. The devastating announcement from The Ranger was the result of budget cuts, the retirement of several department faculty members, COVID-19 and low program enrollment. With each of these factors threatening many student newspapers, usually subject to the decisions of college administrators, independent student journalism continues to prove itself indispensable.
In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” The Paisano editors and staff applaud the work of The Ranger and understand the challenges colleges journalists face. As a publication completely independent of UTSA, The Paisano has met daunting financial challenges in its 40-year history. Independent publications such as The Paisano highlight the democratic nature of journalism and nurture the creativity of college students. The Paisano newsroom is populated by UTSA students of all majors — students who maintain the future of the publication through volunteership. Although not without hardship, The Paisano has successfully cemented its 40-year independence — in the process generating multifaceted individuals who have moved on to a wide range of fulfilling careers.
Students wishing to pursue journalism at SAC in the spring are now robbed of their opportunity to contribute to the rich history of The Ranger, but this loss serves as a testament to the crucial need for independent student journalism. As student journalists, we have a duty to preserve our democracy through freedom of the press. Now more than ever before, it is imperative that we continue empowering other student journalists to work through hardships like low engagement and shutdowns. This devastating loss is one felt not only by SAC students and the San Antonio community but also by student publications all across the nation.