The Famuan to print weekly, reduce deficit

The Famuan will continue to print once a week on Wednesdays and update its website with content daily.

The change occurred during the spring semester, partially due to a financial deficit.

According to Ann Kimbrough, dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, the deficit is at least $125,000.

Kimbrough said The Famuan’s projected expenditures for the 2013-14 academic year are $164,907, which includes student salaries and printing costs.

The student-run newspaper receives funds to operate from advertising revenue and what FAMU’s student senate allocates from student activity and service fees.

However, The Famuan’s adviser, Valerie White, who was also the newspaper’s adviser from 2000-03, said the Student Government Association wants to eventually cut funding for the newspaper.

“We’re grateful for the money we get from the senate,” she said. “But when I left as the sole adviser, SGA then was trying to wean us from their budget, so we knew then we needed to raise more money and that they would keep decreasing their allocation to us.”

According to documents obtained from SGA’s website, the student senate allocated $34,993 for the 2013-14 academic year. That is down from $47,042 for 2012-13 and $59,464 for 2011-12.

Deposit logs from The Famuan show that between July 2010 and June 2011, the newspaper received $51,634.50 in ad revenue; $78,130.63 from June 2011 to July 2012; and $50,603.06 from July 2012 to June 2013.

Kimbrough, who began as dean in August 2012, said she has a plan that will chip away at the deficit.

“Our goal is to help the students, by way of working with the adviser and The Famuan administrator, to increase revenues through advertising and reduce expenses, thus the projected expenses figure could actually be decreased,” she said.

The Famuan’s decision to print less frequently is not the only one of its kind. Some newspapers industry-wide have been cutting costs by printing three or less times per week or moving online completely.

In a March 2012 study by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, newspaper executives were asked about the future of the industry five years from then. The most common response was that newspapers would be delivered only two or three days a week or once on Sundays.

The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans, for example, announced in May 2012 that it would move to printed papers three times a week and “significantly increase its online news-gathering efforts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Nolan McCaskill, editor-in-chief of The Famuan, explained that a stronger digital presence will not only benefit readers but those who contribute as well.

“We’re happy we can still produce a newspaper for people to pick up,” he said. “But with establishing a daily online culture, that gives more students opportunities to produce more stories and multimedia content to truly take advantage of our digital platform.”

The Famuan contacted FAMU’s SGA and Comptroller’s Office for comments for this article, but comments were unavailable up to publication time.