After eight years of publishing as Marquette’s alternative, independent, student-run news source, The Warrior is on hiatus and ceasing print operations.
But that doesn’t mean it’s finished, said Scott Genz, a graduate student in the school of management and chairman of The Warrior’s board of directors.
“The Warrior is still going to be around,” Genz said. “We’re not shutting down – we’re taking a break for the semester as we take a look at how to make it a long-term, viable business.”
As chairman, Genz provides guidance to The Warrior’s staff and helps ensure the publication meets its budgetary obligations. The Warrior’s board of directors will convene this semester to discuss the future of the publication.
“Given the continually rising costs of publishing, newspapers weren’t making financial sense anymore,” Genz said. “We’re going to look for other alternatives and how The Warrior will carry on going forward.”
Genz said one of the options is expanding The Warrior’s existing website, thewarrior.org, to support the capabilities of a strictly online publication. Once the board decides on The Warrior’s new direction, Genz said they will begin recruiting a new staff but will preserve the newspaper’s founding values.
“I don’t think from a content side we’re looking to change,” Genz said. “We want to uphold the free market ideas – the main message is that we won’t change.”
In 2004, The Warrior became the campus’s only alternative newspaper, named after the infamous mascot debate resurfaced and motivated its founders, according to The Warrior’s website. The university had struggled with a student body and alumni majority who were in favor of “Warriors” and opposed the newly instated nickname “The Gold.” Despite public sentiment, Marquette aired on the side of political correctness and defaulted to the replacement that had first been selected in 1993 – “Golden Eagles.”
A handful of disgruntled students noticed the disconnect between the administration and its patrons and decided to create a forum for students to express and distribute their ideas outside of university influence.
Diana Rickert, an ’08 alumnus, was one of those five malcontent students that ended up founding The Warrior.
“At the time, what really lacked on campus was true intellectual diversity and tolerance,” Rickert said. “The students who founded The Warrior sought to provide a marketplace of ideas for the student body – a safe place where under-represented perspectives were welcome.”
Rickert helped launch the first issue in November 2005 along with a modest 15-person staff that grew to 45 by the spring of 2006. Under Rickert’s tenure as editor-in-chief from 2005 to 2007, The Warrior won five Milwaukee Press Club awards.
“The Warrior operated with 100 percent autonomy, and gave staffers in every position an incredibly rich experience,” Rickert said. “After the papers were published, we even hand-distributed the issues to our readership and hand-delivered to advertisers. There were a lot of cold days when we stood out on Wisconsin Ave. distributing issues, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Since The Warrior operates outside of university sanctions as a 501c3 non-profit organization, it could not deliver newspapers to campus newspaper stands or other buildings. Although hand delivery will no longer be necessary without print operations, The Warrior will still need to rely on a volunteer staff and funding through donations and advertising revenue.
“The guiding principle is to promote free market, capitalistic ideas and a strong Catholic base,” Genz said. “From the news side, we try to keep that out, and on the opinion side, we keep it as open as possible.”
Zach Geren, a senior and journalism major in the College of Communication, said he has heard of The Warrior, but never saw hard copies available.
“It’s a paper not sponsored by Marquette, so I would’ve enjoyed seeing a different view on events or topics,” Geren said. “There isn’t enough publicity for it.”
The Warrior typically published about 5,000 16-page color issues for distribution, according to its website, which was circulated approximately once a month. But with changing industry standards, the print vehicle may no longer best serve The Warrior’s mission.
“It has been seven years since The Warrior was founded, and a lot has changed in that time,” Rickert said. “The journalism industry in particular has undergone some changes, and … a print publication is not always the most effective way to reach people. So is it important for The Warrior to continue to publish? I would say it’s important for The Warrior’s mission to continue, whether that be through a print publication or any other means.”