In 2011, Student Press Must Answer the $2,000 Question

For many student press outlets, 2011 will be the year of the $2,000 question.

In a surprise announcement late last month, College Media Network confirmed that it plans to begin charging student press outlets using its College Publisher online content management system.

The base price for pubs using the current CP5 CMS: $1,995 per year, with a whole slew of options and possible extras including a $150-per-hour fee for support and training.  (Pubs averaging more than 25,000 online visitors per month are exempt from charges.)  The CMS was previously free for all, in exchange for online ad revenue sharing.

CICM’s Bryan Murley called CMN’s decision a “bombshell” and “game-changing move.” In an interview with Murley, CMN’s Rusty Lewis breaks down the sudden shakeup, including explaining why it was unveiled in late December.

As he wrote: “When it comes to paying fees, there’s never a great time to implement such a change or make this sort of announcement. We understand many student publications use the spring and early summer to budget for the upcoming school year, so the start of the calendar year was as ideal as any time. This announcement allows CMN a full semester to explain and educate the market about the new options with enough time for publications to understand what they need to budget for in the coming school year.”

The remaining questions: What do student media staffers and advisers think of the new fee? Will many pay up?  Will others take part in what might become known as the 2011 student press/WordPress migration?  Will a few student press sites at smaller schools unable to afford the fee simply fade away?

My answers to the latter three: yes, yes, and, sadly, yes.

5 Responses to “In 2011, Student Press Must Answer the $2,000 Question”
  1. Caleb says:

    As the editor of a small Texas college newspaper whose online website is currently hosted by College Publisher, this new charge is simply out of our budget. We are currently evaluating our different options, including moving to WordPress or buying our own domain and building our own website, but needless to say this is frustrating.

    On the other hand, perhaps it is time for our newspaper to break free from hosts like College Publisher and build and host our own website. Either way, this is the impetus we need to make a change, for better or worse.

  2. Luckily, our newspaper had just made the move from CP to our own website with WordPress. We have had a few road bumps along our change, but all in all it’s been a great move. I don’t think we will look back and regret the change at all. WordPress allows us a totally new look that readers have responded positively to.

    I think CP shot themselves in the leg with this move now it’s only a matter of time before they bleed out. They obviously don’t understand their target client—small to mid-universities who don’t have the money or personnel to dedicate to a fully custom site.

  3. Allison says:

    We currently operate on CP5. I made the switch over when I became editor last year, and it was a lot of work. Now, I can’t help but feel it was a waste of my time.

    2,000 dollars is simply not in our budget. My biggest issue with this is that the “smaller” schools are paying the price. Frankly, I feel like I am being punished for going to college with only 12,000 kids. Give me a break CP, way to support.

  4. Sheryl says:

    Our newspaper has finally made a push to bring more people to read our newspaper online. We started doing video, more interesting layout and online exclusives. We’re a weekly with a campus size of 1,600 students. We can’t ensure that we’ll get that many views in a month.
    We’re currently looking into other options, and there’s more out than WordPress. It’s just hard if you have no journalism program to back you up either.
    But honestly, CP wasn’t even that great. I was waiting for a reason to leave it. I look at it as an opportunity to think about what we can do to reinvent our image, web-wise.

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