Daily Californian, in the Red and Down a Major Donor, is Hunting Hard for Cash

Yet another financial misfortune has befallen The Daily Californian, a top-notch student newspaper desperately in need of cold, hard cash. Over the summer, the largest single donor helping fund the UC Berkeley pub decided to no longer provide needed moola.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, “For the past few years, the paper’s major anonymous donor has been supplementing declining ad revenues, which fell by 17 percent last year. But those funds dried up in June. And while the paper has a cushion to sustain itself [temporarily], it still needs to raise $180,000.”

As I previously posted, revenue troubles have plagued the Daily Cal for a number of years. It has led to cutbacks in page size, staff pay and the number of issues printed each week. In spring 2012, the paper requested a special $2-per-semester-per-student fee to help keep its economic hopes afloat.

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At the time, staff appealed to students with a special front-page editorial declaring “We Need Your Help.” The page also featured a blank top-of-the-fold. According to its editor in chief at the time, the white space was symbolic of what would be missing from readers’ lives if the Daily Cal ceased to exist.

Soon after, the campus vote on the fee was held up due to concerns about how the money would be spent.

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Sixteen months later, down a donor and continuing to bleed red, the paper has hired a development director and launched a fundraising campaign targeting businesses, foundations, former staffers and alumni of the university’s graduate school of journalism.

New development director Mary Ann Grossman: “One of the cases for support that we’re making is that if we could ramp up again and have the funding we need to publish the paper again five days a week, we’ll be able to give more students this unique, hands-on training and prepare them for careers after graduation.”

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