College is a place for finding your niche, and I think many students would agree that they find their extra curricular activities more enriching than their actual classes. For the past two years, The Signal has dominated my personal college experience. I have spent an ungodly amount of hours in the Brower Student Center basement. Though I probably have shed a few years off my life from the countless stressful Mondays, I care about The Signal. A LOT.
This year some things have changed. We no longer have color pages. We have cut circulation from 4,000 copies to 2,750. The number of pages per section is limited. Why? Because, we’re in horrendous debt. Why? Because leadership in the past wasn’t careful, leadership that existed many years before the current editorial board even arrived at the College. $10,000 in debt doesn’t happen overnight, and if you’ve seen our production room, you know the debt isn’t a result of our lavish interior decorating.
Luckily, the Student Finance Board (SFB) has been understanding of this, and has worked with us to come up with a solution to this problem, one in which the number of pages we produce will depend even more strictly on our ad revenue, as we are funded entirely by ads, and money received from SFB is a loan. We have to pay it all back because we get no funding from the school.
And for the first time in a long time, we ended last semester in the black (that is, we didn’t lose any money) because of the things we’ve changed and the efforts we’re making. Also, many students newspapers, such as Rutgers University’s Daily Targum, charge the student body a subscription fee or get money from the school. As mentioned above, we have never done that.
Last spring, previous editors Joe Hannan and Megan De- Marco met with Tim Asher and SFB and made some immediate changes.
For example, they cut circulation initially, added advertising on our Web site and assembled an advertising team instead of just one person to go out and get advertisements. When they realized at the end of the Spring 2009 semester that we weren’t on track to turn a profit and start working toward paying SFB back, we did an online-only issue, which saved us a significant amount of money.
The Signal has been the College’s newspaper since 1885. We are independent of the College’s administration, meaning we are a newspaper made by and for students. It might sound corny, but we take it seriously.
I’m explaining all this, not because I want to advertise the sad state of our finances or validate our existence, but to provide reasoning for the changes you have seen and will see over the next few years. As our readers, I think it is important for you to know the reasons behind these differences and learn from someone with authority on the subject.
This is a rough time for all organizations, given the status of the budget. Some organizations are at risk of being cut, organizations, which may not be important to the entire student body, but are essential to many.
As someone who is part of an organization that represents one of the main reasons I didn’t transfer, I think it is important that we all pull together in this time of need and change and support all of the various organizations on campus in whatever stuggles they may be going through.
(with additions by Caroline Russomanno)