Tribune faces page cuts

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The Marquette Board for Student Media responded to a university-wide budget shortfall last Wednesday by discussing the possibility of limiting The Marquette Tribune to eight pages per issue, with any additional pages supported by advertising revenue, according to a statement released by the Tribune early Saturday.

Board chairman and journalism professor William Thorn said at a meeting Wednesday that the cuts were the result of a university-wide spending freeze of 2 percent, according to the Tribune statement. Board members indicated at the meeting that cutting the Tribune’s pages as soon as possible was a financial necessity, and the university will also implement a 5 percent spending cut for the 2013-14 academic year, according to the Tribune statement. Thorn said Friday that the Tribune would likely be cut to eight- to 12- page issues next year if it is to remain a biweekly publication, according to the Tribune statement.

Thorn said in a board statement released Saturday that the largest single student media budget expense after student payroll is the Tribune printing bill.

“Thus, the first and most obvious option was to cut the number of Tribune pages to bring them more in line with the volume of advertising,” Thorn said.

Funding for student media comes from the university through the student media board, not the College of Communication. The Marquette student media board also oversees Marquette Television, Marquette Radio, The Marquette Journal and the online branch Student Media Interactive. The university provides a subsidy to student media, including the Tribune, and expects advertising revenue to make up some of the budget difference.

“This year’s subsidy was $150,000, but the low ad revenues have led to substantial spending beyond revenue, which would create a large deficit in the student media budget,” Thorn said in the statement.

Student media advertising Director Anthony Virgilio said in Wednesday’s meeting that he was optimistic the advertising department would be able to meet its revenue goal for the year, according to the Tribune statement.

During the meeting, Tribune Editor-in-Chief Andrew Phillips said he proposed alternative solutions to the budget cuts, including cutting the paper’s circulation. According to the Tribune statement, board members voiced strong opposition to cutting student positions or salaries, which they said make up 78 percent of student media spending.

In the board statement, Thorn said most reports surrounding the page cuts have been misleading and have ignored facts.

“Advertising revenues have fallen far short of this year’s target,” Thorn said, “and the student media budget is headed for a major deficit unless immediate steps are taken to cut expenses and generate additional advertising revenue.”

“As the board continues to work on balancing the budget, it will continue to explore options with students,” he continued. He said students can email him their suggestions at william.thorn@marquette.edu.

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