U. Kansas student newspaper, local commercial paper disagree over distribution

KANSAS — In the midst of a distribution dispute with a competing local commercial paper, the student newspaper at the University of Kansas has suspended a proposed expansion of its off-campus circulation.

The publication board for the The University Daily Kansan met Wednesday with an attorney to discuss options in its disagreement with The Lawrence Journal-World, the nature of which has not been publicly discussed.

The University Daily Kansan announced the postponement of distribution last week. The student paper had planned to distribute 600 newspapers inside various businesses around town. Each site would have had two to five papers, according to a Kansan article.

Although sources remain tight-lipped about the reasons for the dispute, the situation is not unprecedented. An article in Friday’s Daily Kansan refers to a “similar situation” between the Iowa State Daily and The (Ames) Tribune during the late 1990s.

In that disagreement, The Tribune asserted that the Iowa State University student newspaper, because it receives some state funds, was competing illegally with the community newspaper. The Tribune said that the student Daily should not be allowed to solicit advertisements or distribute its newspapers outside of the campus if it receives school financial support.

After three years of litigation, the dispute was settled out of court with an agreement that restricted the student newspaper’s distribution.

The University Daily Kansan receives money from student fees, which goes directly to staff salaries. The rest of the newspaper’s budget comes from advertising revenues, which pay for the newspaper’s rented space on campus and printing costs. The university provides utilities for the rented space as well as faculty support.

Wednesday’s meeting, which was the first in a planned series, was generally well received by those who attended. Gabriella Souza, editor in chief of The University Daily Kansan, said she hopes the dispute will be resolved by the end of the semester.

By Brian Hudson, SPLC staff writer

  • Ames newspaper settles distribution case against Iowa State University News Flash, 6/29/1998