Next week, we’re going to ask you to do something we never thought we would have to do. It’s something we haven’t asked of the student body in general since the 1970s. We definitely cringe at having to do this.
We’re going to ask you to give us more money.
The main reason we’re doing this is that, despite our best efforts, we aren’t earning enough money through advertisements to match the rising cost of producing the paper, so we have to increase our other source of income: money from the readers.
You currently pay 85 cents per quarter to the Daily Nexus in the form of a lock-in fee, which is essentially money students give to various groups around campus. The lock-in fee equals 6.5 percent of our overall revenue. This amounts to about 1.7 cents per issue — less than two pennies for a day’s worth of campus and local news, Wednesday Humps, Sudokus, crosswords and other Nexus goodness.
On next week’s ballot, we’re asking for $3.85 from you per quarter. Yes, this is over a 300 percent increase. But look at other things that cost about $4: half of a Freebirds burrito, one bottle of Two Buck Chuck with the CRV, a big frappuccino thing at Java Jones. With this fee increase, your Daily Nexus would still cost only 8 cents per copy.
The last time we asked for a lock-in fee increase — to the current 85 cents per quarter — Ronald Reagan was governor of California. If we were to adjust for inflation, we would be asking for $4.09 a quarter. We don’t even want that much. We’re just asking for enough to get the paper out and to pay our mainly student-comprised staff.
The Daily Nexus has fought to make ends meet for years. We have tried to be open with the fact that we’ve been in debt for a long time. We did a big reorganization of our business operations in 2007 and since then, we’ve been getting ourselves out of the hole. We had big hopes financially for the 2008-09 school year. Unfortunately, due to a recession-induced decline in ad sales and increases in printing costs, we still have our back against the wall.
Print editions of the Friday paper were cut in an effort to save money. And we have saved thousands of dollars by putting the entire paper online once a week — but it simply hasn’t been enough.
Yes, this is a really inopportune time to be asking for money. The economy is tough, to say the least. Those creeping up on graduation know the job market in general isn’t looking to hire. Those starting their higher education are learning how expensive college is and wondering if they’ll be able to pay for all four years.
That’s why we hope you really think about every fee coming up on the ballot next week. About 20 groups are in the same financial situation we’re in and we encourage you to take time to think about each one. The Daily Nexus, for whatever it’s worth, is your campus newspaper and employer of over 100 students. We make you laugh, cringe, scream at injustices, blush and everything in between. In an online survey done last spring, we learned that 91 percent of the undergraduate student body reads the Nexus at least once a week. Whether you find the paper’s content engaging, hilarious or just plain outlandish, we need your help to keep things going.