The Oredigger Student Newspaper published its first issue in 1920. Since then, the paper has provided a unique forum for students on campus. Over the last ten years, however, the Oredigger has faced some of the same problems that have plagued national papers. Specifically, advertising revenue for the paper has decreased by over 50% since 2009. On top of this, the level of financial support from the school has decreased. In 2009, the paper received approximately $40,000 from the school. Last year, we received just $32,655 during the allocation process.
As student clubs across campus grow, it becomes harder and harder to convince the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) to fund the paper. Realistically, USG’s decision to cut funding for the paper makes perfect sense. Printing papers is expensive and there is little to no evidence indicating a high number of students actually value the publication.
The counter argument, of course, is that regardless of the paper’s readership, its existence is key to providing students with a forum to challenge their administration. Unfortunately, this type of reporting has been the exception rather than the norm in past years. The paper generally features articles about lectures on campus or the new Call of Duty and not hard hitting investigative reports about high level administrative decisions.
There are no doubt a number of students who enjoy these pieces and others who periodically pick the paper up while killing time on campus. Still, given the choice between funding the Mines Activity Council an additional $10,000 for a better E-Days ,or giving the paper that money, the former seems to benefit more students.
It is unlikely that the paper will ever lose funding entirely, but if nothing changes, budget cuts may be inevitable. Fortunately, as Editor-in-Chief of the paper, I believe a few key changes can help us avoid this issue entirely. Newspapers across the country have begun to face the looming take-over of online media and, given our budget outlook, it is time for the Oredigger to do the same. Rather than wasting money on publishing weekly papers, we can simply push content to our website and publish a monthly paper, featuring the best articles from our website as well as new content. This will save us about $8000.
My intention is to spend this money on redesigning our website as well as incentivizing improved content. In order to make the paper more relevant to the student body, I intend to publish multiple investigative reports about issues that are uniquely important to Mines students. We have already started working on a few of these articles and hope to begin publishing them before September ends. The end result of these changes will be a paper that costs students less, but provides them with more relevant and engaging content.
Finally, in order to mark these significant changes and help rebrand the paper as a real resource for students, I would like to change the name. After consulting our Editorial Board as well as our staff writers, I have concluded that our name represents a significant barrier to rebranding. The name itself is used by countless organizations across campus and is not immediately associated with the paper. Changing the name to something that is used solely by the newspaper will help us develop a more niche role on campus and will make us instantly recognizable. I understand that this may upset some people as it is a deviation from an almost 100 year label. However, it is time to update the paper and while the changes will be more than name-deep, updating the name is an excellent place to start. If you have any opinions on the matter, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome the feedback.
If you have any ideas for a new name, suggest them on our Facebook page at facebook.com/orediggernewspaper.