The Daily Texan/Texas Student Media is a much smaller place now than when I first arrived in 2006. Newspapers that were usually 16 or 20 pages are now only 12 or 14 pages. Instead of two sections, there’s usually only one.
Advertising is how we’ve always paid our bills — so when it collapsed, a collapse that was largely caused by the greater economic collapse in 2008, so did the Texan’s finances.
There used to be a magnificent printing press — a gigantic machine that shook the building every time it was fired up for the next morning’s edition. You could wander to the back of the Texan offices and see massive rolls of newsprint being pulled across the massive machine and then sliced and diced until it became the next morning’s paper.
The friction generated from pressing paper between different metal plates that were covered in ink would heat the pages until they were almost too warm to touch — the papers were literally “hot off the presses.” It was shut down and sold off in 2009 and four people lost their jobs.
By the time the newspaper starts back up in January 2011, the professional staff will be only half the size it was when I started here. Once more, good people that I’ve known for a quarter of my adult life will have lost their jobs because bankers on Wall Street blew up the economy.
The Texan is not managed by the University and receives very little funding from it. Currently, each student pays about 3 cents a day for the finest college newspaper in the country. Talk about a steal.
For those THREE cents:
— We investigate the University regents to make sure they’re spending university money responsibly, instead of on ritzy hotels in Hollywood.
— We dig deep at the University to tell the stories of our almost impossibly diverse university — of Muslim students who practice their religion, a transsexual attempting to adjust to his new life and students struggling to recover from drug addiction.
— We make state leaders answer tough questions about key state issues like concealed carry on campus, tuition deregulation and budget cuts that threaten classes and key university services.
— When a student walks on campus with an AK-47 that he fires off as he walks down 21st Street, we’re the crazy bastards running towards the gunshots, chasing the SWAT teams and demanding officials provide whatever answers they have.
This is what we do, and if we fail, no one else will do it. Go to any city where newspapers have disappeared and reporters have been laid off — nothing exists to adequately fill the gap that’s left — City Hall goes uncovered, there is no cops reporter for the police department, no features writer to profile the struggles of a neighborhood.
If The Daily Texan fails, it will be because the collective student body allowed it to fail. The surest way for us to stay in business would be for the University to allow us to increase the price of that student body subscription from three cents a day to five.
— Tim, Frank, Danny and everyone else who's retired or being laid off: Thank you for all of your help throughout the years – from being the guy with a BIC, to being the guy who protected us from the crazies who wandered off the Drag and into the office, to helping get the office set up for election night — god speed.
— Audrey White: That's not me on the phone. Seriously. Really. Pick it up. Oh hi, it's me!
— Vicky Ho: I'm still alive. You keep missing and I've still got The Daily Texan assassination squad on speed dial.
— Collin Eaton: You're fired. Wait, I can't do that? Anyways, remember that one time we did that FOIA and we got like one e-mail out of it? Yeah… Fun times.
— Claire Cardona: You're the very best boss I've ever had.
— Andrew Kreighbaum: You're a tough editor who wouldn't have it any other way. You pushed us all to become better reporters. In the end, we were. Here's to being the man up when the call comes in.
— Lena Price: You're going to rock as news editor.
— Bobby, Michelle: Thanks for all of your help during edits.
— Doug Warren: The Texan assassination squad's next target is the rail. Don't ask me how I know that… Thank you for all of your "advise" throughout the last couple of semesters – it's been invaluable.
— Aziza Musa: Can we pick a day to just go all "Office Space" on the police scanner? I swear every-time that weather alert warning goes off, I think the warp core has breeched or something.
— Pierre: I hope you get your immigration papers.
— Tamir/Peyton/Erika: You’re the best photographers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
— Ben: You’re the best boss of a boss I’ve ever had. When the new website launches, it will be because you had the balls to okay that completely insane idea I had.
— All of my Copy Desk peeps: Keep the razor wit and the lame puns. All I know is that I'll never rest until "Kim Jong-Ill For Loko" runs on W&N. BTW-Whatever happened to that fan page? Oh god, now you're going to bring it back, aren't you…
— Matt Jones: I still insist you must watch "The Wire." There is no getting around this fact. You must. End of story.
— Dave (AAS), Dave(FWST), RG, Jay, Abby, Kelley and Joe: Thanks so much for your help and guidance over the past couple of semesters and for putting up with the new kid on the block.
— To Shauns (Stewart and Swegman), Jimmie Collins, Flannery Bope, Meghan Young, Ricardo Lozano and both Scotts (Loewen and Armand): You taught me so much when I first came to the Texan.
— APExchange: YOU SUCK! Love, everyone who has ever had to endure you.