American’s Eagle Forced to Clip Budget, Print Run

The Eagle at American University is scaling back its print run and making other adjustments due to “financial difficulties.” In an open letter to readers, the student newspaper’s editor in chief Charlie Szold announced a 50 percent budget cut, from $100,000 to roughly $50,000.  He rightly termed it “generally unpleasant.”

The twice-weekly broadsheet pub will now be a weekly tabloid.  Student staffers’ stipends have been eliminated or severely reduced.  The staff will also deliver the papers themselves, apparently saving $10,000 a year (?!).  According to Szold, the new arrangements were required after a stunning $50,000 drop in ad revenue during the last academic year.

One potential benefit, Szold says, is the obviously inherent need for a greater online push.  In his words, “Instead of focusing most of The Eagle staff’s efforts on filling newsprint, we can now focus on doing our primary task- informing the AU community.  This year, The Eagle’s website will be updated more consistently with breaking and general news stories. We hope that each day The Eagle’s website will have new, unique and interesting content.”

The larger question: Is this a financial blip on the college media radar or a sign of a rough semester ahead?

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