Dear Fellow Speccies,
We write today because the Columbia Spectator needs a little bit of your money and your time. On the money, Spectator needs your help to lessen the impact of an abrupt change in University policy that threatens to slash Spectator’s work-study program. On time, we ask that you consider volunteering to mentor a current Spectator staffer.
Trimming print publication costs while preserving revenue has enabled Spec to make a number of investments in its future, one of the biggest of which is to dramatically expand the number of work-study jobs at the Spectator from 5 in years past to 50 this year. In other words, 50 staffers eligible for work-study as a part of their financial aid package can work at Spectator instead of somewhere else. The goal is to ensure that everyone gets the chance to work at Spec, no matter what their economic status. Today’s Spectator staff is more reflective of the student body than in past years and that contributes to better journalism that is more effective for the students.
We hope that’s something you want to help preserve, because Spectator needs your help to do that. Columbia, which funds a portion of the work-study program, decided with little notice and for no sensible reason to cut its contribution. To continue the program at its current, expanded level, Spectator must raise $30,000 for this year alone. Without that funding, Speccies will have to fulfill their work-study commitment elsewhere, making it harder for them to commit to Spectator. We know that we can raise this money if those of us who benefited from our time at Spectator all pitch in.
We members of the Board of Trustees really can’t think of a more worthwhile cause than this. It speaks to the very core of Spectator’s role as a training ground for young journalists, and to our commitment as alumni to building a diverse and talented pool for the profession. The size of the program demonstrates the need. Please give what you can to keep this critical program working at its current levels by clicking on the button at the top of the page.
In addition, we are looking for alums to volunteer just a few hours over the year to mentor a member of the Spectator staff. We hear from the current board that they need more career advice and want to take better advantage of Spec’s alumni network. They want more contact with people like you.
We don’t just seek journalists as mentors. Everyone is welcome, as not all Spectator staffers want to move on to full-time careers in journalism. Spec has reporters and editors, but it also has programmers, advertising sales reps, social media specialists, photographers and designers/graphic artists. Any alum who would be willing to speak with a student a few times per year is warmly welcomed to serve as a mentor, by clicking here. Even if you don’t click, please add Spectator to your linkedin profile - make it easier for other Speccies past and present to find you.
Few of us on the board—and, we imagine, few of you receiving this message—would be who we are today without our Spectator experience. We hope that you will take this opportunity to give back to the institution that did so much for us by supporting Spec with your money or time. Or both.
Yours in Spec,
Stuart Karle CC ‘82
Chair, Columbia Spectator Board of Alumni Trustees
Beth Knobel BC ’84
Duchesne Drew CC ’89
Please find the button to donate at the top of the page.
Spectator is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible by the fullest extent of the law.