New school year, new hope for campus newspaper


Reporter - Kendall Downing

CARBONDALE, Ill. - The immediate financial crisis at a local university's newspaper is over for now. But administrators know long-term changes are needed.

We first told you about the situation at SIU-Carbondale's campus paper, The Daily Egyptian, back in May. Administrators feared they couldn't make the summer payroll with the $50,000 they had in the reserve fund.

SIU President Glenn Poshard forwarded the paper $55,000 from a campus account, and the director of the School of Journalism took a short leave without pay.

Now the reserve fund is back above $100,000.

On a college campus, you find students and normally a newspaper. That's true this year, but those in charge don't take it for granted.

"We came close enough that it really scared us," said Bill Freivogel, Director of SIU-Carbondale's School of Journalism.

He said The Daily Egyptian can't die. It will make a century in business in 2016.

"It's essential to the school of journalism's mission, and it's essential to the university to have a student newspaper," he said.

A student fee is a possible solution, providing a constant revenue stream. Right now advertising dollars fund the paper, down $500,000 sine 2006.

Plans are in the works for a renovated communications building. Cutting the on-site printing press would free up more funds.

"I love this paper. I love this industry, and I didn't want to see it go down," said Kayli Plotner, current editor-in-chief.

Plotner said the focus this year is online and mobile.

The Daily Egyptian has a free app and redesigned website, which she hopes can appeal to advertisers.

"It's given me a new insight as to how hard newspapers work not only to go out and find news but to have the money to produce it," she said.

Plans are also in the works for a Daily Egyptian alumni conference later this fall, where professionals can offer their solutions for sustaining the paper's viability.