TSM board votes to cut wages, reimbursements but maintain print schedule

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The Texas Student Media Board voted to maintain its five-days-per-week print schedule for The Daily Texan but significantly cut wages for all staff and tuition reimbursements for student managers for the upcoming year at its meeting Friday. 

Though the initial budget recommendation submitted included a revised four-day weekly printing schedule for The Daily Texan and significant publication cuts to The Texas Travesty, those cuts were not included in the approved budget. 

Daily Texan adviser Doug Warren announced he was resigning effective in June, a decision he partially attributed to frustration he felt with the management of the board. 

The Texas Student Media Board oversees the operation of five media properties, including The Daily Texan, The Texas Travesty, KVRX, TSTV and Cactus yearbook. Seven of the 10 voting members on the board have held their positions for less than six months. 

One major theme of the meeting was the lack of available data on the potential repercussions of cutting down The Daily Texan’s print publication to four days a week. Jalah Goette, Texas Student Media director, said advertising revenue was not necessarily tied to the number of printing days, and instead was linked to circulation numbers, but was unable to provide specific data to bolster that claim. 

Robert Quigley, journalism senior lecturer, addressed the issue specifically.

“Has there been enough research done to determine whether we should cut a day?” he asked. 

“I did what I was asked to do,” Goette said in response.

Current Daily Texan editor-in-chief Susannah Jacob also emphasized the lack of hard data available. 

“One less day a week is one less day to sell ads in the paper,” Jacob said. “I’m looking for a number.” 

The meeting, which began with a one-hour discussion by the executive board and then reconvened as a meeting of the full board of operating trustees, included several moments of heated arguments.

At one point, accounting lecturer David Verduzco, voting member and chairman of the executive board, asked Warren for his thoughts on potential revenue generators for the newspaper. Warren said he had listed all of his ideas in a report he submitted earlier this week. 

“Not everyone here gets the report,” Verduzco said.

Warren replied tersely.

“Not everyone here votes.” 

Another question was that of alumni support. Several former Daily Texan staffers raised money to place an ad in the newspaper, which ran Wednesday. They also circulated an online petition that gained a few hundred signatures and opened a Twitter account under the name “Friends of the Texan.”

Board president Paepin Goff, a communication studies senior, asked if any efforts had been made in recent years to garner financial support from alumni. No one present at the meeting mentioned any specific initiatives. 

Adrian Matthys, director of development for the University Development Office, said Thursday that he did not know of any attempts the board had made to work with the development office. 

“We’ve never done anything on behalf of TSM, or The Daily Texan, for alumni donations,” Matthys said. “We would be happy to work with the organization.” 

Texas Travesty editor Katherine Swope, a psychology senior, said as soon as the print production of the Travesty was threatened, there was an outpouring of alumni support.

“There are people who have jobs today because of their experience at the Travesty,” Swope said. 

Dave Player, board member and law student, asked if this support was a realistic source for short-term revenue. 

“How do we turn this alumni enthusiasm into revenue, immediately?” Player asked.