By Emily Rosenberg
The Gatepost receives an average of 500 online reads per week, and I see dozens of people walking around reading our paper daily.
On admissions days, students pick up the paper to learn more about campus. And departments across campus hang up our articles and photos on bulletin boards to advertise their accomplishments.
Our paper is a service.
It is an essential communication source that administrators, faculty, students, and prospective students use to learn and think critically about our campus.
And having run since 1932, it is an archive of Framingham history.
The Gatepost is also a student organization, one of the largest on campus with over 30 staff members.
It is a privilege to print a weekly newspaper on a small state university campus.
But, it is also incredibly challenging. Most of those who know me have probably looked at me and told me I looked tired.
And I am.
Laying out a paper every week is a full commitment on Thursdays, usually resulting in being awake until 4 or 5 a.m.
When I was an associate editor, I took a quick nap between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. before getting on the RamTram and heading to an internship in Boston on Fridays.
But the work does not just consist of the 12 hours spent in the office on Thursday - copy-editing articles, laying out the paper, and designing and editing photos.
It is meeting with interviewees for hours a week, training staff members, attending events and meetings to cover, coordinating with the EXP, coordinating with editors, coordinating with journalism classes and advisors, writing the weekly editorial, running the weekly meetings, and planning the paper and advertisement correspondence.
It is also delivering the papers every week, ensuring the papers have been delivered, managing the website, managing the social media, finding new ideas every week to write about, problem solving when a staff writer is sick or an interview has fallen through, and writing breaking news when something big is happening on campus.
It is also ensuring your staff is emotionally healthy, and getting the most out of their experience on the paper as possible.
And then finally, before Thursday at 6:30 p.m., writing a few articles.
Then, ensuring all of your Friday homework is done by Wednesday night, even if you have a lot of Thursday night homework and a lot of Thursday meetings to attend.
All of this often turns out to feel like a full-time job.
I have enough financial aid to only need to work one 8-hour job on campus as a RAMs peer mentor, but as a second semester senior, I often am concerned I should have chosen to work another paid job with a lot more hours at a local business in Framingham to save up for my future and to start paying off my student loans.
Because of my devotion to The Gatepost, I opted not to do so. Working any more hours while also being the top Gatepost editor would strain me academically and mentally.
Also, with the number of hours I dedicate to putting out a paper every week combined with my academics, it would be almost impossible to work off campus on the weekdays.
I am not only frustrated by this fact for myself, but because for some students, this could be a deciding factor in whether to pursue the position of editor.
My concern is the number of students who will never pursue The Gatepost editor position because it is too much unpaid work.
And while we are a student organization that shares a floor with Comic Book Club, the Dance Team, Green Initiative, and clubs alike, our work is a real job experience as we reach out to community professionals, interview administrators and staff, and produce an award-winning weekly paper.
If The Gatepost managing editor positions were paid, editors would not have to make this decision.
Nor would they have to work 20 or 30 extra hours per week as RAs or baristas on top of the full workload they already do to pay their bills as many editors before them have.
It is a decision that is systemically more likely to fall on students of color.
And our University and the Student Government Association is always talking about knocking down barriers to inclusivity.
Per SGA bylaws, SATF funds are required to benefit “All Students.” SGA has set precedent by providing the SGA President with a scholarship through these funds.
Why shouldn’t this be extended to other critical student leaders?
By paying The Gatepost managing editors, you are benefiting not just all students but everyone in the FSU community who reads our weekly paper.
Most state college newspapers pay their managing editors. Framingham State is an outlier in making the position volunteer.
To have a newspaper, those who manage the paper must be healthy and motivated.
Editors won’t be healthy and motivated if they are balancing work, academics, internships, and working full-time for the paper.
And on the other hand, the University may never know the talent it is missing if a student decides they are too busy with work to join The Gatepost and pursue an editor position.
The Gatepost editor position has historically been a volunteer position. But with rising costs, keeping this position volunteer at a University where most students work to afford their education and living costs is not feasible.
And it is certainly not equitable.