A “gift” of emergency funds from Student Affairs will allow The Bulletin to continue regular operations through the end of this fiscal year. The arrangement, which will use no student fees, will also allow the student newspaper to start in the fall without a negative balance.
The newspaper was an hour from announcing shutdown for the remainder of the fiscal year due to financial hardship when, on April 10, Jim Williams, vice president of Student Affairs, met with The Bulletin leadership and extended the offer.
Williams said he would tap a discretionary fund to provide whatever the newspaper needed to finish the year under its regular operating schedule.
“I am thankful to the Jim Williams and the rest of Student Affairs for the financial assistance to The Bulletin,” said Sarah Spoon, Editor-in-Chief of The Bulletin and senior Spanish and English major. “To be within one hour of shutting down the single organization that has completely changed my life during my undergraduate education was completely heartbreaking.”
Williams had two stipulations for the gift. The first stipulation was that the The Bulletin continue it’s vigorous coverage of campus issues.
The second was that The Bulletin would develop a system to better monitor the publication’s financial health and report that information to the Student Media Board, the governing body of student publications.
“I appreciate all your efforts to determine some processes so that you have budget information that allows you to manage the complexity of a publication such as The Bulletin,” Williams said in an email. “Myself or Lynn (Hobson, dean of students) are always willing to discuss the budgeting side of the process and assist in getting whatever detailed information is necessary. As you might expect, the Division of Student Affairs has a number of programs that depend solely on fee or revenue depended on enrollment. It’s a challenge.”
The Bulletin, which has a current budget of approximately $96,000, had its fee allocation cut 12 percent last year by the Associated Student Government. The newspaper is entirely funded by student fees and advertising.
This semester’s shortfall was caused by ASG’s fee reduction in allocation, a drop in advertising revenue and an unexpected decrease in enrollment.
“Despite multiple measures being taken to offset ASG’s cuts, there was no way to foresee the dramatic drop in our other revenue,” Spoon said. “Unfortunately, the cuts just hurt us too badly.”
As of April 10, the newspaper was projected to have zero funds left by the end of the payroll period.
“I’m grateful for the help Student Affairs has given The Bulletin,” said Max McCoy, professor of journalism and adviser to The Bulletin. “It demonstrates the university’s commitment to student journalism and the paper’s importance to the campus and the community. I was particularly encouraged because Dr. Williams urged the student editors to continue their vigorous coverage of campus issues. This help from Student Affairs will allow the paper to begin the fall semester without an outstanding debt and signals to our student journalists that the work they do matters.”
The amount needed to continue operations through the end of the fiscal year was estimated to be $10,000 to $15,000.
Currently, The Bulletin employs 20 students, publishes a print edition nearly weekly during the fall and spring semesters, produces “Empowered,” a magazine-type supplement, and maintains a website and various social media pages daily.
The newspaper is printed at The Salina Journal and delivered on Thursday afternoons.
“Thank you all for your hard work and dedication,” Williams said.