Evaluating Administrative and Funding Models for Student Newspapers

At Private, Mid-Sized Institutions

Topics: Student Organizations and Activities, Student Experience, Student Affairs, Student Government, Student Unions, Cost Savings, Administration and Finance

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Campus newspapers are unlikely to follow the national trend of the elimination of print news publications; student newspapers are student organizations that provide students with an outlet for creative writing and social interaction, not a business. Student fees serve as the primary funding source of funding for student newspaper operations and small, private institutions do not typically compensate editorial staff members or offer course credit. This brief outlines administrative and funding models for student newspapers at private institutions.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. Student fees serve as the primary funding source for student newspaper operations.

    2. To decrease printing costs, reduce the length and frequency of print editions rather than eliminate the print edition entirely.

    3. Institutions fund media-related student organizations that are independent of the student newspaper or undergraduate communications program.

    4. Most advertising revenue comes from local sources; online advertising produces significantly less revenue than print advertising.

    5. Most profiled institutions do not compensate staff members or offer course credit for content on the editorial or business side.

    6. Require students to select a faculty advisor and develop a formal process for faculty advisor selection to ensure active participation.

    7. Provide training and career development through direct instruction from faculty advisors and special sessions with local experts and industry members.