The student newspaper at the University of Texas won’t have to reduce publication from five days a week to four — at least for now. But continued decline in advertising revenue could force such changes in the future at The Daily Texan unless philanthropy and other sources of revenue fill the gap.
The board that oversees the Texan and other student media at UT voted unanimously Friday to retain the current publishing schedule for the fall and spring semesters and the once-a-week summer schedule. University administrators had proposed a four-day model and online-only publishing in the summer but said they weren’t wedded to the concept.
The Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees also cut student wages, as well as tuition reimbursements for student media managers, by 50 percent. The board also authorized the hiring of an additional advertising salespersons in hopes of boosting revenue.
Bottom line: Balancing the 2013-14 combined budget for the Texan, the Texas Travesty humor publication, the Cactus yearbook, KVRX 91.7 FM and Texas Student Television is expected to require an infusion of up to $150,000 from reserves. That, coupled with an expected deficit of about $150,000 this year, would reduce reserves to about $500,000.
“There are no good decisions here,” said Jalah Goette, director of student publications, during the runup to the vote. “This is a reflection of the changing industry.”
The board’s meeting on the UT campus was punctuated by an announcement by Doug Warren, editorial adviser to The Daily Texan, that he had previously submitted his resignation and expects to leave in June. He told the American-Statesman he was displeased with discord among board members and university officials and said he plans to finish building his house in Maine.
Students and faculty members who serve on the board agreed that it’s essential to tap alumni — many of whom objected to cutting back on publication of the Texan — for donations, as well as guidance in navigating financial challenges and developing a more robust website for the Texan.
The paper began publishing in 1900 and went to five days a week in 1913.