AUSTIN (KXAN) - After facing a steep decline in advertising revenues, the University of Texas's student publication narrowly missed having their print publication schedule reduced to four, instead of five, days per week.
On Friday, The Daily Texan's managing board unanimously voted to maintain the current print schedule, but will further reduce the paper's staff wages by 50 percent. The board also voted to hire a sales representative to boost revenue.
According to the Texas Student Media Board, the approved 2013-14 budget is expected to require $125,000 to $150,000 from reserves, which currently stand at $800,000.
As a caveat to the new budget, board members emphasized that they hoped the publication would find a way to become more digital-first and financially stable. Laura Wright, The Daily Texan's editor-elect, said she intends to implement a five-year plan to do just that.
"If we restore the Texan and then are having the same discussion in a few years, the discussion will be cutting the whole paper," said board member Vincent Cicchirillo.
Originally, TSM considered a reduction in the publication schedule from five days a week to four during the spring and fall semesters. Summer publication, which had already been reduced to once a week, would be strictly online.
However, an outcry of opposition came from Daily Texan alums, and they raised over $2,000 in 12 hours to purchase a full-page ad in the paper to petition against the proposal. Other students and faculty galvanized to save the paper as well.
Currently, advertising revenue has declined to $1.3 million from $2.1 million in 2007, and is projected to drop by $300,000 in the coming year. In previous year, the board has voted to reduce back-office university employees, trim wages, and outsource printing and distribution to the Austin-American Statesman.
The Daily Texan's adviser, Doug Warren, has been active in attempting to sustain the print publication. In the midst of the board meeting though, Warren announced his resignation, which will come into effect in June.
"There needs to be a solid plan moving forward," said Warren. "But I'm not going to be part of that discussion."
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