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MailTribune.com
  • Proposal cuts funding for SOU's student newspaper

  • Funding for Southern Oregon University's Siskiyou newspaper is slated to be cut next school year, leaving editorial staff without pay.
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  • Funding for Southern Oregon University's Siskiyou newspaper is slated to be cut next school year, leaving editorial staff without pay.
    The cut, proposed by the school's student fee committee, comes two years after the publication discontinued its print newspaper in favor of an online-only platform.
    "This year it was seen that the Siskiyou was not making optimal use of their funding," said Lora Stamper, chair of the student fee committee.
    The committee acts as a steward of mandatory student fees collected each term, divvying up the money to clubs, resource centers, athletics and events in the student union.
    Since the publication's transition online, advertising revenue has dropped off completely, and the current site, www.siskiyou.sou.edu, doesn't display a single advertisement.
    The cut needs to be approved by the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University president and the university president.
    "We didn't try to fight it because the reason we were given for the cut was our failure to generate revenue (ads) over the past couple of years, which makes complete sense," says first-year editor Shannon Houston. "We didn't figure it'd be worth it to fight."
    Houston said she and all the other editors were new to the Siskiyou this year and found no system for advertising in place.
    "From what I understand, the Siskiyou never adopted an online ad system since leaving print in 2011," said Houston. "In our case, our revenue issues stem just from a lack of system, period."
    Former editor Nia Towne, who spearheaded a transition from print to online in January 2012, said when she left the newspaper later that year, advertising was solid.
    Towne said the online publication had enough advertisements to end 2012 breaking even, with ads covering the wages of four part-time section editors.
    Even without pay, Houston and some other editors plan to continue running the newspaper next year, and they are working to secure advertising, Houston said.
    If they make enough money, it would be nice to bring back some type of print publication, too, she said.
    Stamper said the Siskiyou could apply to the student fee committee next year for funding for the following year.
    "Ideally we'd be able to set up a system and make enough to get (the funding) back," said Houston. "We'll see what happens."
    —Teresa Ristow
    Read more in Wednesday's newspaper.
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