Editor-in-chief saves 90-year-old student newspaper at Southern Oregon University

The 90-year-old student paper, The Siskiyou, can continue to provide Southern Oregon University students news for at least another year.

The student staff was able to secure funding in June from the Student Fees Committee under their new status as a student organization.

After the university eliminated the class that produced the publication due to low-enrollment in April, some expected the newspaper would likely have to end. However, the editor-in-chief and the rest of class, with the instructor’s support, worked to find ways to save the paper.

They saw two options: raise the funds needed to apply for an endowment from the SOU Foundation using online crowdfunding or establish a student group to produce the paper and seek funding from the Student Fees Committee. The students opted to try both routes in the hopes one would end in their favor. The GoFundMe campaign has only raised $1,000 of the $50,000 they needed to apply for the endowment.

Eli Stillman, the former editor-in-chief of the paper who has now graduated, presented to the Student Fees Committee on the importance of having a student paper on campus. The committee then unanimously approved $10,000 of funding, allowing the paper to pay an editor and writers for a year, according to an article by a local paper, Ashland Daily Tidings.

The committee that granted the paper funding is the same committee that defunded it in 2014, the original reason the Siskiyou was produced by a class. The committee defunded the paper after it failed to produce advertising revenue. The funding the paper received in June will only sustain it for one year, so they will have to reapply for funding, leaving the paper’s future undetermined.

Students will have to show their support for the paper to ensure its success, Stillman wrote in an editorial after he helped secure the funding.

“We can’t be a paper that fights each year for survival. We need students to care, and to care so much that they get involved and help build The Siskiyou into something that doesn’t just limp along but grows and thrives,” Stillman wrote.

However, the paper now has higher readership, according to a previous article by SPLC, and Julie Akins, the instructor for the class that previously produced the paper, is optimistic for its success. In February 2011, 1,507 people read the online newspaper, but this February, the number increased to 14,970.