Funding cuts threaten future of Salt Lake City Community College newspaper

UTAH — The future of Salt Lake City Community College’sstudent newspaper, The Globe, remains uncertain due to drastic fundingcuts by the college’s Student Fees Board. The Board reported the paper mustincrease readership and focus more on campus activities before asking forfunding.

The Utah State Board of Regents approved the college’s Student Fees Boardrecommendation to cut the paper’s allocated student fees in half in March 2010.Currently, The Globe receives $1 for every full-time enrolled student.Starting in July, the paper will receive 50 cents, decreasing their total budgetto approximately $20,000. The rest of The Globe‘s funding comes from adrevenue to cover other expenses such as delivery and student salary. TheGlobe has a joint-operating agreement with the University of Utah’s studentnewspaper, The Daily Utah Chronicle, which sells ads for both newspapers.

According to a March 10, 2010 Globe article, titled “SLCC’sindependent voice in danger,” Nicholas Ferre, a student senator and member of the Student Fees Board said, “Itwas a very hard decision… What was brought to my attention by the student bodywas that The Globe was lacking in certain areas, and that they reallyneeded to focus on…who their target audience was.”

Ferre listed these “areas” as the overuse of advertisements, the overuse ofwire articles and the need for more campus-related articles.

The Student Fees Board is composed of the dean of students, the vicepresident of student services, the college’s budget director, the dean ofstudent planning and support and students leaders–the student bodypresident, a student senator and a student peer leader. SLCC’s vice president ofstudent services is the nonvoting chairperson of the Student Fee Board.

Members of the Student Fees Board did not return multiple calls by presstime.

Ani Arakelian, editor-in-chief of The Globe, said she thinksjustification behind the budget cuts is unfounded.

“One of the major things that was said was that we don’t cover enoughcampus events, which is just flat out wrong. We’ve also been told that we covertoo many sports, but we have nationally ranked teams, we’re not going to ignore[them],” Arakelian said. “In the past, The Globe was not doing as well asit’s doing right now, and there were a lot of wire articles being printed. Inthe spring semester we have not printed one wire article, and in the fallsemester 2009 we printed less than 10.”

Arakelian said she was also told to print fewer papers. The Globeprints 15,000 papers a week for 60,000 students spread out over eight campuses.The Globe was formerly a twice-weekly publication, but reduced printingto one issue a week to cut costs.

The funds The Globe receives from the Student Fees Board go directlytoward printing costs.

“We also have to pay for delivery, we also have to pay for our papers to bepicked up and recycled. There are a lot of costs that go into a newspaper thatpeople don’t realize…I don’t understand the reasoning behind cutting ourfunding for us to print [fewer] ads. That just means we have to print twice asmany ads,” Arakelian said.

Arakelian said she has been encouraged to only publish online. TheGlobe has been publishing online content for its”> Web site for five years.

“We don’t get half the readership we get [in print], online…They don’twant to read their student news online. The newspaper is something they readbetween classes,” Arakelian said.

Julie Gay, adviser for The Globe agrees. “National advertisers andadvertisers print in college newspapers because it works. They wouldn’t do it ifthey didn’t get a return on their money. If we did that and we went totallyonline, we would lose our entire revenue stream,” she said.

Arakelian said the cuts were likely to affect the newspaper next spring andthat she was told to run The Globe as normal, even if the paper goes intodebt.

“It takes awhile for it to catch up to us for when we don’t have money. Atthat time, we were told to run into the red, but after that time I’m not surewhat will happen exactly,” Arakelian said.

Gay highlighted the importance for journalism students to get real worldexperience by working for their school newspaper.

“When they know that someone else is going to be reading it, it’s going tobe published, that’s a really meaningful thing for them. So if we lose ourability to print, we lose the ability for our students to display their craft,which would be a very sad thing,” Gay said.