The Collegian’s project for increased transparency

Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick

Editor’s note: As part of a media transparency initiative, on May 8, 2017, the Collegian spent the last day of publishing of the year telling our readers about us. You can read more about the people behind our publication in the Editor’s Blog.  

The Rocky Mountain Collegian serves the student body and general community of Colorado State University, but it is not an official publication of the University. The Collegian started in 1891, originally as a university publication. Following a scandal in 2007, in which the Collegian published an opinion piece that was simply the words “Taser this… F*ck Bush,” the paper was forced to become an entity separate from CSU.


On August 1, 2008, the Collegian became a 501(c)3 non-profit company, The Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation (RMSMC), which included all outlets of student media, currently including a newspaper, radio station, TV station, magazine, student video productions and a video training team. Now safely housed in a separate company, the Collegian is free to criticize and compliment the University according to what rings true and unbiased. Its only allegiance is to the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics, not the University or corporate shareholders.

RMSMC’s mission of providing opportunities for students to learn aligned with the Associated Students of Colorado State University, the University’s student government. Because of the similar goals ASCSU agreed to fund the services that RMSMC provides. In this way, the Collegian is funded by CSU students, but not the University. In a round-about-way, student fees are the primary sources of funding for the Collegian, as well as advertising. All advertising efforts are also student run and account for about half the paper’s funding.

It is important to know the history of anything to be able to improve on the present. Around 120 students work for the Collegian in some capacity. Crammed in the basement of the Lory Student Center, it is easy for the students of RMSMC to forget how although they are in the heart of campus, they aren’t always connected with the entire community. The new management staff is trying to improve on the connection between the Collegian and the campus, as well as the community as a whole.

This year, efforts for improved transparency began. Collegian leaders began community meetings and reached out to diversity offices to try to patch-up burned bridges and build new ones. Because they were new and under-marketed, community meetings were not well attended, but the new administration is excited to build on the platform that has been built this year. Collegian leadership will organize meetings that are open to community attendance, increase recruitment and work to make a more inclusive environment.

The Collegian looks forward to a year of outreaching to the community more than ever, building a staff with more diverse perspectives and having a stronger relationship with its audience. If the campus funds the paper, the Collegian owes the campus a transparent publication – we look forward to delivering it.