Ohio State Outsources Lantern’s Business & Ad Operations; Staff ‘Blindsided’, Student Jobs Uncertain

Ohio State University is outsourcing the “advertising and business operations” of The Lantern student newspaper to a full-service regional media company owned by Gannett.  A Lantern report confirmed student staffers were not informed that negotiations for the move had been in the works.  Matt Harris, an OSU junior who works on the paper’s business side, described being “blindsided” by the announcement.

The company, Media Network of Central Ohio (MNCO), has overseen the printing and distribution of the Lantern for the past six years.  School officials contend that the aim of the full business shift to MNCO is educational and idealistic– keeping the focus at the student level on just journalism– although there are undoubtedly cost-cutting, money-making, and brand-building components involved.

According to the Lantern, while MNCO does want to employ some student staffers, it is unclear how many will be hired from the current crew and in what capacity.  During the last academic year, 14 students and three professionals were in the paper’s business office.  Harris: “I don’t want to come back and then find out I don’t have a job.  I’m not going to interview for a job I’ve had for three years.”

Lantern news content and editorial decision-making will apparently not be affected by the move.

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