Proposal suggests cutting print version of student newspaper

TEXAS — As part of a university-wide effort to “go green,”members of the Student Congress at University of Texas at Arlington haveproposed a plan that if passed could result in a loss of revenue and readers forthe university’s student newspaper.

Student congress members proposed a resolution Sept. 1 asking theuniversity’s newspaper, The Shorthorn, to go online-only in order to savepaper, but the newspaper’s director, Lloyd Goodman, said the congress has nodirect authority over the newspaper.

The author of the resolution, Bess Alvarez, has proposed two otherresolutions that would reduce paper waste in university printing. She did notrespond to a request for interview by press time.

Although he said he did not want to guess at the author’s rationale,Student Congress President Kent Long noted that Alvarez’s proposal “speaksmostly to going green on our campus.”

Resolutions are first proposed and then sent to a committee for researchand debate, before being voted upon by the entire body, Long said. If aresolution passes, it goes to UTA President James D. Spaniolo, who decideswhether to implement it. This particular resolution would then need to beapproved by The Shorthorn‘s publishing board before it could go intoeffect.

Long said that members of the Community Affairs committee are currentlyresearching the proposal and contacting people from the paper and from thePresident’s Sustainability Committee.

“They’re getting as much information as possible so we can lay out the bestargument for both sides,” he said. Goodman said a move to online-onlycould affect the newspaper’s readership. He said he thinks students prefer topick up newspapers on their way to class to reading articles online. Heestimated daily print readership at 17,300 people, compared to between 750 and1,500 daily online readers.

In addition to a stated desire to reduce waste, the resolution cites anestimated yearly printing cost of $250,000 for The Shorthorn and adistribution cost of $10,000 as another reason ceasing printing would bebeneficial. Goodman said the paper pays these costs out of its budget, which ismade up of advertising revenue and some student fee money.

“If the print edition were to cease, our lost ad revenues would beapproximately twice as much as money saved,” he said. The loss of that revenuecould force the paper to cut its staff, resulting in less content, Goodmansaid.

Shorthorn Editor-in-Chief Marissa Hall said she was shocked when sheheard about the resolution, but was not really worried. The introduction of theresolution is just the first step in a long process, she said.

Hall and Goodman both said that the paper already tries to beenvironmentally friendly, recycling old papers and cutting the number of dailycopies from 10,000 last spring to 8,000 now.

“We want to be green but also serve our readers in the best way we can,”Hall said.