The Daily Barometer is currently involved in a fundraising campaign called “College Media Madness.” (Photo by Ashton Bisner)

Oregon State University’s student newspaper, The Daily Barometer, is currently participating in “College Media Madness,” an annual fundraising event that offers audiences the opportunity to jump on a basketball-style bracket to support their favorite college or university reporters.

“Essentially, it is 31 different college newsrooms from across the country, raising money for our newsrooms in a friendly, competitive manner,” said The Barometer’s Riley LeCocq, the 2022-23 editor in chief.

Fundraising runs through April 3 with information available at this link. The Baro’s team link can be found through the Oregon State University Foundation’s “Beavs Give” campaign.

First published as The College Barometer on March 16, 1896, the student publication has chronicled student life on and off campus for 127 years. 

Currently a part of Orange Media Network — which also includes three magazines, a television studio and a radio station — The Barometer prints a paper every month along with posting regular online and social media content. 

OMN says the paper is supported almost entirely by student fees, a system that generally works well for day-to-day operations, such as payroll and most publishing decisions. However, the operation’s finances become challenging under special circumstances, such as when the sports team wants to travel with the Beavers to a championship game, staffers need vehicle access for news coverage or the editorial board weighs adding a new position or special section. That’s where donations can come in, OMN said.

In 2022, the first year The Barometer participated in College Media Madness, some of the donations helped send reporters to Allegiant Stadium, where Oregon State beat Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl.

“Since Beaver Nation has such support already, we want to be able to be there for these moments,” LeCocq said.

Donations help to support news coverage in small ways, too, she added. For instance, earlier this year, a staffer who lives off campus was tapped to take a story involving a town hall meeting with Congressional representatives, but didn’t have a way to get to it. OMN reimbursed his rideshare costs.

“We want to be able to support our writers so it’s not money out of their pockets,” LeCocq said. “It doesn’t matter if you can donate $10 or $100, we appreciate the support, regardless.”

LeCocq, a third-year kinesiology major from Vancouver, Washington, joined OMN as a columnist during her first year at OSU. Stuck in her residence hall studying biology and chemistry during the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself missing the opportunity to write. 

Prior to becoming a columnist, her only writing experience was through essays, she said.

“My first readout was really rough,” she recalled. “After the first story, it got a lot easier.”

LeCocq said she stayed with OMN because she loved having a place where she could talk to people and use what she learned from them to educate others. 

“I would do an interview and think, oh my gosh, this is so cool, when else would I have the opportunity to talk to someone like this?” she said.

The experience prompted LeCocq to apply, successfully, for the position of editor in chief this academic year. She is considering pursuing health-related journalism as part of her career, something she said she wouldn’t have thought about prior to joining OMN.

Part of LeCocq’s editorial emphasis has been coverage of the greater Corvallis community in addition to campus happenings, which has been another reason outside donations have increased in importance. 

Through their coverage, staffers have learned more about the world around them as well as contributing to that knowledge for their audiences, she said.

“We are the only ones who can get these types of stories,” she said. “This gives the next generation a platform to speak.”