Southern Oregon Student Newspaper Faces Funding Cuts, Fewer Readers, Zero Ad Revenue

Funding for The Siskiyou student newspaper at Southern Oregon University will be cut starting next fall, leaving staff without pay and saddled with a website currently not sporting a single advertisement.

According to The Medford Mail Tribune, the Siskiyou went online-only in 2011. High-hopes about interactivity and 24-hour updates have faded to concerns about campus relevancy, low readership, less fresh content, fewer staff and now literally zero ad revenue.

Siskiyou editor Shannon Houston: “I do know our visibility has decreased, being online only. It makes it harder to let students know that we’re even around. In the long run, that [will] probably affect revenue.”

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The print-digital comparison: In 2010-2011, 3,000 copies of the weekly print Siskiyou were placed in newsstands across SOU’s campus and a few other local off-campus spots — boasting 12 pages of content from five editors and 12 to 15 writers. As the Mail Tribune confirmed, earlier this month the paper’s website nabbed 1,100 hits and boasted roughly six new stories over the course of a week.

To her credit, Houston and her small, soon-to-be-unpaid editorial team are determined to jumpstart an online advertising system and possibly even bring back the paper’s print edition.

Before being implemented in the fall, the current round of funding cuts must still be approved by the university president and student government.

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