Campus newspaper on the verge of collapse


Reporter - Kendall Downing

CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper at SIU-Carbondale, is turning to university administrators and the SIU Board of Trustees for financial help. The nearly century-old paper is on the verge of collapse.

The director of the School of Journalism points to declining advertising revenues similar to those facing many larger newspapers.

In 2006, the paper brought in about $1 million. This year, they're only expected to pull in about $550,000, and they've depleted much of a reserve fund to stay afloat. The staff's been cut by 30 percent, and the paper may not be able to make its payroll this summer.

It's the last day of exams, and the Daily Egyptian newsroom is eerily quiet, except for Mike Mullane.

"I'll definitely miss this place," said Mullane.

He kept up the paper's website and is graduating Saturday. But he has mixed emotions given the uncertainty looming over the Daily Egyptian.

"I'm leaving, and there's nothing I can do about it since I'm gone," said Mullane.

Tara Kulash is a former editor-in-chief, now a reporter.

"We have to keep printing the paper," she said.

She's championing the cause to keep the paper printing, even if that means every student has to pay for it.

"We'd like a student fee, that will help us a lot," said Kulash.

Professor Bill Freivogel is head of the School of Journalism.

"We're having to make some extraordinary steps," he said.

Short term, Freivogel is willing to take a month's leave this summer and use his salary and some School of Journalism funds to cover June and July's payroll. Long term, he's proposing that the university stop printing the paper on-site and out-source it.

Freivogel said he will not allow the Daily Egyptian to die.

"The Daily Egyptian is not going to go broke," he said.

Meanwhile, Mike Mullane hopes there will be a newsroom to come back and visit.

"I don't see it slowing down any bit," said Mullane.

The SIU Board of Trustees would have to approve any fee that would go toward supporting the paper. The Daily Egyptian currently receives no direct funding from the university.