We as students face a continuing uphill battle to protect our rights to information even though we attend a public institution. Whether it be information about increasing student fees, cuts to classes, cuts to administrative services, or the way in which the money we pay for our education is used by our institution. This is vital stuff that most of us do not have the time to investigate on our own, which is why the existence of independent media is such a necessity. One such example of independent media is The Bottom Line, which serves the UCSB community through its unbiased and informed investigative journalism. As an independent form of media on campus, it provides us students the information we want to know without being tied to advertisers or commercial interests.
The Bottom Line currently survives on an ever-slim budget, which has consistently dwindled as our public school system has had to make budget cuts. In the face of this it seeks to remain a truly independent paper, funded by those who need its information the most: UCSB students and it does not want to be held by outside interests. A similar independent media source on campus, KCSB-FM 91.9, remains independent through a student lock-in and community member donations.
The Bottom Line seeks $1.69 from each student a quarter, which is less than most of us pay for a small cup of coffee. Moreover, The Bottom Line deserves consistent funding so that it can continue to grow into something bigger and better, to reach its full potential. Not only does The Bottom Line provide students a rare chance to get involved directly with the media and to delve into very important student issues but it is the type of entity public universities need to have; a medium that is constantly analyzing and questioning and seeking out answers for its community.
Independent media must be fought for and sustained on our campus. The Bottom Line provides us students with the critical analysis we cannot do alone. This week, you have the opportunity to make sure The Bottom Line survives to report another day. Join me along with others in the fight to protect independent media on this campus. Regardless of the side you may take on this issue, I ask that you vote on GOLD this April 22-25 and make your voice heard.
Michael Kenney is General Manager of KCSB and a fourth-year geological sciences major.