Many college newspapers face cuts in funding

Many college newspapers face cuts in funding

The struggle for print-based publications in an Internet-dominated world has made its way to an Austin institution.

The Daily Texan, the University of Texas’ campus newspaper, is facing a financial struggle that is threatening the future of the publication. On March 1, the independent Texas Student Media, TSM, will consider a print reduction, according to the Daily Texan.

Since 1900, The Daily Texan has been an important source of news to the Austin community. Reducing or eliminating the print version of the paper seems like a disservice to the Austin community. That being said, the Texan’s trouble reflects the similar struggle of many college newspapers to stay afloat.

The Daily Texan averaged over $2.1 million in advertisements each year in 2007; however, last year, The Daily Texan sold less than $1.3 million in advertisements, according to TSM, and they expect these numbers to continue declining.

Although the future of The Daily Texan is uncertain, the publication clearly knows where it stands.

According to The Daily Texan, reducing the number of days they print a new issue will not solve their financial woes.

Print advertising accounts for nearly 100 percent of the publication’s annual advertising sales.

Unfortunately, similar dilemmas have become common among college publications.

When the University of Georgia’s campus newspaper, The Red and Black, changed its daily print production routine, both its print and online edition declined in readership, according to The Daily Texan.

Marquette University’s campus newspaper paper, The Marquette Tribune, recently cut the length of its print edition in half, according to College Media Matters.

Fortunately, Hilltop Views is not in the same sinking boat as many other college publications. Unlike The Daily Texan and newspapers at other public universities, we receive funding from our university.

We use revenue from ad sales to pay for our online edition, but university funding pays for our print edition and pays our staff.

Hilltop Views has some financial support from the university, which allows us to maintain weekly print and online editions, but we do sympathize with struggle papers.

In fact, we have a direct connection with The Daily Texan’s struggle–Hilltop Views was printed at The Daily Texan’s press before the UT Board of Regents decided to sell the printing press.

Unfortunately, the move away from print media and toward online media seems inevitable.

Hilltop Views is also different from other campus newspapers in an important way.

In addition to being a voice for the entire SEU community, it is housed in the School of Humanities where it serves as a laboratory for students concentrating in journalism across a variety of majors.

We only hope the move online does not eliminate print media like The Daily Texan entirely.

A free press is simply not free, but that does not mean a free press is not important. If papers are forced to reduce their print runs and move online, they lose revenue from print ads.

The loss of print revenue makes it difficult for papers to exist all, even if they exist exclusively online.

The decline of print media may seem like a niche issue, but newspapers, especially small papers and student-run papers, are an important place for civil discourse and an integral part of our community.