by Billy Clouse, Editor-in-Chief
They say that all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, this is the case for Thunderground. At the close of the fall semester semester, the organization will be discontinued.
I want to start off by thanking those of you who have been supportive of this project; as journalists operating outside of the school-sponsored organization, we faced many issues. Groups within the University, as well as SUU News employees, were blocked from working with us, it took me over a month to get permission to interview collegiate athletes, I never received a single press release from the Marketing Communication Office despite being told multiple times that I would be added to the mailing list and University employees had to contact me secretly to provide tips for investigative pieces.
Although the project only lasted for a semester, I don't consider it a failure — many students told me the content we put out is better than what SUU News's paid staff of 17 students has been creating. Even more important, we stuck with our values and never sacrificed quality for quantity.
Instead of plagiarizing, editorializing and reposting content, we committed to creating original articles, something we continue to do.
When I decided to take the project on, I did so because I didn't want the administration who tried to censor my writing while I worked at the University Journal to take journalism away from me.
I've loved writing and designing for Thunderground, but I'm running myself into the ground by doing it. During the weeks of magazine production, I relied on caffeine pills to stay awake, which by itself isn’t that bad. But while editing the November edition, I had consumed so many of them that when I took a shower a few hours before finishing the magazine, I couldn't stand because my legs were shaking too much. And that's a terrifying feeling.
It also doesn’t help that we don’t take $5.50 from every full-time student. No matter how well-written our articles are, the most we get is satisfaction, and that unfortunately isn’t enough of an incentive for most people.
And I understand that. Last semester, I only logged 10 payable hours most weeks even though I put in between 30 and 40 hours because I didn’t want my coworkers to not be able to get raises. I’ve put in more time and produced higher-quality work this semester, but I’m finding it hard to support myself without what amounted to less than $4 an hour that I received while employed by the school.
So, despite continuously growing readership and positive feedback, the digital revival of Thunderground will come to an end on December 15. To ease this, we will have a finale week after the release of our final magazine from December 11-15, where we will publish meaningful and in-depth pieces.
Again, thank you for your support. It means the world to myself and the contributors of Thunderground.