Archive for Thursday, March 10, 2016

KU newspaper’s fee revenue won’t be restored following Student Senate vote

This screenshot shows the front page of the University Daily Kansan website, kansan.com, as it appeared Friday morning, March 11, 2016.

This screenshot shows the front page of the University Daily Kansan website, kansan.com, as it appeared Friday morning, March 11, 2016.

March 10, 2016

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The University Daily Kansan’s student fee revenue, which was slashed in half this year, won’t be restored for the coming year, under a bill approved Wednesday by the Kansas University Student Senate.

The Senate approved a bill allocating required student fees for fiscal year 2017, including $1 per student for the student newspaper, generating about $45,000 for the year.

That’s half of what the Kansan previously received, a $2 fee generating about $90,000 a year.

Overturning the funding decision at this point would require either Student Body President Jessie Pringle or Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to veto the Senate’s fee package — which also includes a $2 fee increase to fund a new Multicultural Student Government — according to Senate communications director Isaac Bahney.

Kansan leaders pleaded for their funding to be restored before the Senate Wednesday night.

The student fee revenue is roughly 5 percent of the Kansan’s total revenue, the rest of which comes from advertising sales, Editor-in-Chief Vicky Díaz-Camacho said. The student dollars are critical, she said, especially since advertising revenue declined $50,000 from fall 2014 to fall 2015.

After the fee cut, the Kansan had to eliminate paid student positions and was financially unable to hire a faculty adviser for the news side of the publication after the departure of the previous news adviser left the position empty.

“Not to have that sounding board, that person to support us and just help us through this learning process that is so essential to student journalists, to me it’s so surprising that no one empathizes with that,” Díaz-Camacho said. “We all need direction.”

Kansan news editor Kelly Cordingley said the newspaper has about 28 students on its payroll and roughly 30 unpaid correspondents.

Starting in the fall the Kansan cut its print publication to just two days a week, but leaders say they still need a full staff to produce more and higher quality web and social media content.

An earlier version of the Senate's fee recommendations called for restoring the funding, and a number of Senate members said Wednesday they favored restoring the Kansan’s funding.

However, the recommendation on the table came within a larger fee package — including the fee increase to fund the new Multicultural Student Government.

Senator Harrison Baker, for one, called failing to restore Kansan funding this year a “necessary evil” to enable the Multicultural Student Government to move forward without further delay.

Díaz-Camacho didn’t return a message seeking comment following the Senate’s decision.

A lawsuit filed by current and former Kansan editors against Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tammara Durham remains pending in federal court.

Last month Díaz-Camacho and former Editor-in-Chief Katie Kutsko sued Gray-Little and Durham, alleging that by approving the 2015-16 fees they allowed the Student Senate to illegally cut the newspaper’s funding based on its content, creating a chilling effect on its “expression of First Amendment-protected speech.” Kutsko works as an intern for Sunflower Publishing, which, along with the Journal-World, is owned by The World Company.

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Comments

David Holroyd 2 years, 1 month ago

Why does the paper need to HIRE a faculty advisor?Does anyone on the faculty not feel so inclined to advise without pay? Quite frankly , that lack of responsibility of the staff appears that the staff is not interested in teaching but rather in $$$.

Maybe it is time to put The Kansan, UDK, literally in the trash can.!

Jeremy Arthur 2 years, 1 month ago

I don't think you understand the time commitment involved for the UDKs faculty advisor. It quite frankly un-reasonable to expect someone to work in that capacity for free.

Amy Varoli Elliott 2 years, 1 month ago

David I am sure you could volunteer your time.

Paul Geisler 2 years, 1 month ago

What do you actually know about the UDK??? When was the last time you read it, in print or online? As a former KU student I know the UDK has an obvious role to inform KU students of stories that are focused on student life at KU but it is also exists to educate future journalists how to write, design, sell advertising, etc., for a newspaper! When I worked for KU Printing Services during the early 90s I helped print the UDK and was damn proud to do it!

Brett McCabe 2 years, 1 month ago

I would encourage Jessie Pringle to veto this bill and eliminate two really bad ideas with one action: give the UDK another chance to secure funding, and eliminate funding for this ridiculous alternate-universe student government.

It's hard to imagine that a university with one of the top Journalism schools in the country can't scrub up $90,000 to properly fund its newspaper.

William Weissbeck 2 years, 1 month ago

Was once one of the top schools. Check the rankings. If I recall the last major Newsweek type ranking didn't list KU in the top 20. Mizzou and Columbia still at/near the top.

Liza Pehrson 2 years, 1 month ago

The UDK is one of the largest newspapers in the state, and has been the learning ground for so many future journalists. Their staff frequently win awards for content, both in print and online. The UDK also gets a lot of information out there that other news outlets do not--including news stories regarding the diversity issues at KU. I find ita bit ironic that funding for a Multicultural Student Government has to come at the expense of funding the very newspaper that helped get the need for a Multicultural Student Government recognized. Both are important to the success of KU.

George Shers 2 years, 1 month ago

The student senators are elected by the student body to represent them [except for some set-aside positions reserved exclusively for some minority groups]. That is their sole function. By their setting up a co-equal diversity senate, they have transferred their power to non-elected people. As an attorney, I would think that to be illegal, as an elected official who gives up their elected function no longer represents the student body and has basically resigned. The students did not vote for someone who turns around an appoints someone else.

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