Student Government to Student Newspaper: ‘If Staff is Passionate, They Should Work at Paper for Free’

Student government funding for The Spectator at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania has been cut in half for the next academic year, from $48,000 to less than $24,000.  The financial fallout means a dozen top Spectator staffers will no longer be paid and the paper will publish far fewer copies and possibly less frequently in print– shifting from a weekly to a bimonthly.

Spectator EIC Meagen Finnerty: “Student government officials ‘told us that if our staff members are passionate then they should work at campus media for free.  But for the number of hours we work here, that isn’t feasible.”

The harsh 50 percent funding cut is actually less than the sudden drops for other student media at Edinboro.  According to an Erie Times-News report, “Under the student government proposal, Edinboro’s student radio station, WFSE-FM 88.9, would receive $13,600. That is less than a quarter of the $64,430 requested.  The student television station, E-TV, would receive $15,000 after requesting about $40,000.  Pay for staff members would also be eliminated at the radio and television stations.”

WFSE is the eighth-largest station in the greater Erie market.  General manager Jason Hoffman, about the loss of staff pay: “When it comes down to it, the fact is that students can’t give enough of their time when they’re out there needing to work another job . . . and because of that, we are going to be unable to stay competitive in the Erie market.”

Times are apparently a bit tough for the university’s student leaders overall. Enrollment at the school is dropping and the SG has roughly $500,000 less to disperse to campus groups than the previous year.

Meanwhile, tweets late last month show Spectator staff were apparently concerned the funding cuts might shut the paper down entirely.

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