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What is the mission of Student Media?

Our mission is to help PSU’s Student Media organizations serve their community with useful and engaging media content and to provide a learning laboratory that nurtures the development of students who aspire to become skilled, ethical media professionals.

We meet our mission by:

  • Advising students in matters of federal and state law to minimize the risk of lawsuits and fines in such areas as libel, false light, intellectual property infringement, invasion of privacy, misappropriation of image, obscenity, and indecency.
  • Advising students on their rights under the First Amendment to guard against prior restraint and other potential infringements.
  • Helping students develop as critical thinkers who reflect on the implications of their practice as well as the greater media environment, including the role of diversity and inclusion in fostering social change.
  • Helping students develop an ethical framework based on an understanding of their responsibilities and the complex realities they are likely to encounter.
  • Providing necessary trainings for basic and advanced skills in journalism and multimedia production.
  • Helping students navigate the rapidly changing landscape of media, making them aware of technological advances and media usage trends.
  • Providing guidance with financial solvency and sustainability.
  • Providing resource materials to enable students to help themselves.
  • Enabling students to develop their leadership skills and capacity for managing organizational dynamics and functioning.
  • Facilitating financial transactions and other organizational processes in accordance with federal, state, and institutional regulations.
  • Helping the media groups collaborate more effectively among themselves as well as within the university framework.

What is the long-term vision of Student Media?

We will strive to become the Pacific Northwest’s preeminent student media program, one that maintains a national reputation for excellence. We want to become a destination program for media students who wish to train in a vibrant urban setting at the forefront of intellectual and creative culture in the region.

At the heart of this vision is an emphasis on leadership development and social change. Our success will be measured, not simply by the abilities of our students, but by their preparedness to be mindful contributors to their professional fields and to their communities.

What are our values?

We operate under the values of SALP, which houses Student Media:

  • Integrity - Ensuring that our actions reflect our words, especially when it comes to being active listeners, honest, accountable, and respectful.
  • Student Centered - Full awareness of the responsibility that SALP has to help students actualize their full potential.
  • Education and Growth - Supporting students by equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to meet the challenge of applying in-class principles to real-life situations.
  • Community - Intentionally creating an atmosphere that encourages students to discover and express all aspects of their identity, to make meaningful connections with others, and to have fun.
  • Continuous Improvement - Seeking and incorporating feedback and best practices.

Additionally, the following values guide our operation as we continue to evolve:

  • Media as a public good - We strive to minimize the influence of corporate agendas, providing an approach to media that emphasizes benefit to society.
  • Independent and critical thinking - We encourage our students to question basic assumptions that challenge hegemonic constructions.
  • Innovation - We encourage exploration of not just what is, but what can be.

How many students does Student Media serve?

We directly serve students in five student-run media organizations, as well as student employees in Student Media Operations. Since 2013, the number of students in Student Media has grown from approximately 200 to 280 at its peak in 2015. Typically, there are fewer students in the summer, with only two of the five student groups operating fully. With recruitment of new students beginning in the fall, the total number steadily increases throughout the academic year, averaging around 230.

Beyond the students we serve in our learning lab environment, Student Media impacts thousands of other students at Portland State with its array of informative and enriching content. Additionally, we are a vital source of information for the many faculty and staff members who serve our students, as well as for alumni and the external community.

Student Media is committed to diversity and inclusiveness reflective of PSU. While we have made progress over the past few years in this regard, we must continue to hold this aim among our top priorities, and we will keep taking active steps toward its fulfillment. The demographics for 2018 are based on 242 students who participated in Student Media as employees, organizational leaders, contracted contributors, and volunteers.

Race and Nationality


PSU 2018

Media 2018













African American









Native American



Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander





PSU 2018

Media 2018







Not Reported   0.8%

*This reflects the legally designated sex on record with PSU. It does not necessarily reflect gender identity.


18-66 (2018)


27.3% first-generation college students (2018)

How much editorial control do professional staff have over content?

Student Media organizations are student-run, and professional staff do not make any editorial decisions. There is no prior review of content by professional staff before publication, only discussion and guidance about general concepts, particularly related to media law and ethics. Detailed feedback is provided only after publication to ensure full protection of stuents' First Amendment rights. Additionally, we adhere to the advisor's code of ethics from the College Media Association.

What if I want to give feedback on something that was published?

If you have questions or would like to provide feedback on something that was published, contact the editor/manager of the publication directly. If there was a clear factual error, the publication is ethically obligated to issue a correction. If something was technically correct, but still problematic due to context or possible misinterprettation, the publication may decide to issue a clarification statement. If there were no factual errors or potentialy confusing material, but you are still concerned with some element of the content published, please remember that the more specific your feedback, the more effectively the issue can be addressed by publication if needed. Of course, our organizations would also love to know what they're doing well!

What is expected of someone who participates in Student Media?

Students are expected to adhere to our policies. Find out more about how to get involved and what to expect.

How much funding does Student Media receive from PSU student fees?

View an interactive graphic of budget trends for Student Media and its groups from 2009 to present. You may also view budget trends in the accessible data table below.

Year smops Vanguard SENTINEL KPSU psutv pathos
2009-10 $188,360  $229,943  $41,917  $193,410    $18,692
2010-11 $195,560   $236,212  $44,011  $176,429    $18,118
2011-12 $208,183  $256,665  $47,410  $187,638    $19,493
2012-13 $215,079  $258,697  $47,862  $131,845 $33,071  $22,320
2013-14 $196,452   $215,104  $39,180  $95,567 $23,896  $14,891
2014-15 $200,681  $158,508   $28,606  $96,895 $28,268  $13,650
2015-16 $239,518  $112,036  $23,236  $71,659 $33,435 $12,968 
2016-17 $281,432 $111,973 $33,623 $76,961 $41,775 $15,235
2017-18 $257,011 $198,676 $48,133 $74,534 $42,769 $14,471
2018-19 $225,455 $189,614 $45,213 $67,241 $38,489 $13,600

Total in 2018-19:  


Collective Budget Trend

$207,238 reduction (26%) since peak ($786,850) in 2011-12

Note: In 2011-12, there were 7 total budgets. Currently, there are 6.

  1. 2012-13: PSU.tv became a fee-funded Student Media group. 
  2. 2015-16: The Rearguard and Portland Spectrum merged to form Pacific Sentinel.
  3. 2016-17: Portland Review moved to the English Department.

Recent Initiative

We eliminated our advertising operation (July 2017). As with industry-wide trends, our ad revenue had steadily decreased over time, arriving at a point where it cost more simply to maintain an advertising operation than the revenue it generated. The final year of our advertising operation provided ample evidence that the trend would not only continue, but likely get worse, with fewer advertisers willing to pay for print ads and digital revenue insufficient to offset the loss of print ad revenue. A primary limiting factor for digital revenue is the widespread use of ad blockers on websites. Additionally, increases in social media ad revenue largely favor distribution platforms rather than content creators. This confluence of factors has resulted in a crisis in the economics of journalism, as featured on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Under such circumstances, media organizations must make a choice. They can operate even more like businesses, embracing various non-journalistic revenue-generating ventures and, in many instances, deceptive "native ads" masquerading as editorial content. Or, they can move in the direction of media as a public good, wherein people pay for a service they deem valuable, one that benefits them and society at large. We have chosen the latter.

Media as a Public Good

  • We aim to foster a national dialogue about the value of media as a public good, pushing back against austerity practices that force decisions that ultimately are not in the public interest.
  • Our approach relies on stable institutional funding, concurrent with as much functional independence as possible via safeguards against undue external influence.

Grounded in Leadership Development

  • The Media Fellows program, focusing on media law, ethics, organizational dynamics, and social change,  helps students reflect on their practices so they can develop their capacity for critical and independent thinking, question and challenge hegemonic practices, and more effectively serve their community.

A Laboratory for Innovation

  • We hired a part-time technology advisor in September 2017, and we will hire a team of student tech. employees in winter term 2018 to establish an innovation lab that would not only parallel PSU's broader emphasis on innovation, but also place us among the more forward-thinking student media programs in the country.
  • Students will be encouraged to experiment with forms of storytelling and other facets of media. Beyond simply preparing students for jobs in the media world that is, we want our students to take a lead in shaping the media world that will be.
  • Emphasis on mobile devices and social media optimization.
  • Driven by video and interactive content, including 360 video, virtual reality, and augmented reality.
  • Diversified forms (illustrated storytelling, infographics, podcasts, etc.).