There’s a new student paper coming to university campuses in Texas — courtesy of the Republican Party of Texas.
After pitching the idea of producing a conservative campus newspaper to two previous party chairmen only to have the idea wither on the vine, the party's youth outreach director and current University of Texas student Austen Bailey finally found a kindred spirit in current chairman Steve Munisteri. It turns out, as an undergraduate at UT, Munisteri ran a conservative student paper called The Texas Forum.
With a target launch date of Oct. 1, The New Texas Forum aspires to be a monthly conservative paper written by and for students from all across Texas. After an initial rollout at UT, Bailey hopes to expand circulation to other major campuses in the state.
“It’s going to be an answer to The Daily Texan or the Burnt Orange Report,” he says, citing UT's student paper and a popular left-leaning blog started by now-former UT students. The New Texas Forum will also have an online presence for daily news items. “There’s absolutely no conservative voice out there,” Bailey says of the UT campus.
Michael Hurta, the president of UT's University Democrats and a writer for Burnt Orange Report, is not convinced that either publication Bailey cites warrants a Republican rebuttal. He says the Burnt Orange focus and readership has shifted away from campus over time. As for print publications, Hurta says, “I feel there’s not a liberal or conservative paper on campus, and I’m not entirely sure what they mean by countering The Daily Texan.”
Hurta doesn’t anticipate there being much of a market for The New Texas Forum. But Bailey says there’s a sizable group of potential readers on campus, some of whom might not even realize it yet. “It’s not that the belief isn’t there,” Bailey says. “No one has pushed it out there yet.”
The first issue of The New Texas Forum will feature, among other things, an interview with Donna Campbell, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. “I think it’s going to be really good,” Bailey says. “It’s going to be an eye-opener.”