Letter from the editor

CODY COTTIER, Evergreen reporter

Transparency is key.

As a newspaper, our purpose is to provide information fairly and objectively to the student body.

In the interest of full transparency, it’s important that we at Student Media keep no secrets. That is why I am writing this letter to you, our readership, to let you know our fiscal strains and the actions taken by the editorial board on this newspaper, and other leaders in the Office of Student Media.

Last week we covered S&A Fee deliberations. Student Media was given a 25 percent increase to its base allocation. We needed a 163 percent increase. We fought this decision.

While this number sounds huge, we asked for this because of instructions we received from a previous S&A Fee Committee, which directed the Office of Student Media to use up what were then healthy reserve funds and ask for a larger increase once the reserves ran out.

Despite our efforts to replenish the reserves on our own over the last few years, the reserves are no longer healthy. We then asked for this larger increase, and were pushed aside by the S&A committee. “This is not a serious request,” one Board member said.

But it is a serious request.

Our department has increased substantially in the last two years, and within this time has won more awards regionally and nationally than all previous years combined. This semester, the Daily Evergreen was awarded the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Award, naming this newspaper one of the top two in the nation.

As a result of the success our department has had, Student Media staff has more than doubled in size in the last two years. We currently employ 176 students. We have added Web and Mobile and Marketing departments, and next year will bring on a strategic communication project with the Visitors’ Guide Magazine. The funds we requested would give staff salaries to two additional advising positions to assist in this growth and diversification. These positions have been vacant for years, with our director Candace Baltz filling the roles of three people.

With the increase given to us by the S&A Committee, the Office of Student Media could not fund its advisers, and our three-person professional staff would have been cut to half-time. Our finances would have been unsustainable as our efforts to diversify our revenue streams would have been severely hampered. Our newspaper was facing the dire reality of ceasing to be a daily paper in the near future.

Because it seemed our request was not seriously considered by the S&A members, we appealed the S&A Committee’s decision to President Elson S. Floyd. We wrote a letter explaining our plight and engaged in dialogue with him about how we may be able to obtain necessary funding.

Yesterday evening, we met with Floyd again. He generously gave us temporary funding for our professional staff positions, which will give us funds through the next fiscal year.

However, we recognize this solution is not meant to be a long-term one. We are working on pursuing options to fill this gaping hole in our finances, and keep our newspaper serving the student body as a daily publication long-term.

At this time, we are planning on re-petitioning to next year’s S&A Committee in the fall. We are also planning on exploring the possibility of putting a referendum before the student body to secure permanent funding for the Office of Student Media.

On behalf of the Office of Student Media, I want to extend our most sincere thanks to President Floyd for assisting us. We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the continued existence and growth of this office and preserve the student voice.