47.8 F
Davis

Davis, California

Saturday, November 27, 2021

#SaveTheAggie: Vote yes on Measure 1

The California Aggie is asking for your help.

We are introducing a referendum to the student body to add $3.10 per quarter to student fees in a campaign that we’re calling “Save The Aggie.”

As the situation stands, our college newspaper doesn’t have enough money to make it to next year. This is The Aggie’s 99th year in publication, and if we don’t receive a major cash boost soon, it won’t live to see 100.

The Aggie makes 100 percent of its revenue off of advertisements, and is one of the few financially-independent university papers — we don’t get funded by ASUCD or student fees. But due to the deflation of the advertising industry and the ever-changing nature of journalism, The Aggie is seeing less and less money every year, just like many other newspapers across the country.

Since the 2006-07 school year, we have been using up our reserves to stay afloat, eliminating resources and cutting positions, jobs and salaries. This is due not only to the depleted advertising industry but also the adverse effects of year-to-year editor and manager turnover. It’s hard for student business managers to have long-term financial visions for the newspaper when they’re just trying to make it through the year, or even the quarter. There’s only so much a bunch of 20-something college kids can handle.

That’s why, in the model of other successful UC publications, we’ll be using the money to hire two full-time professionals to manage our finances over an extended amount of time, a move the most successful ASUCD units have also pursued.

We also hope to increase staff salaries, to compensate and motivate some of the most stressed-out students you’ll ever stumble upon (we overachievers flock to each other). For what essentially amounts to a full-time job, editors and managers get paid a bountiful two dollars an hour. Fun fact: we probably spend more weekday hours in the office than we do in the sunlight.

Another fun fact: all those articles you read in the paper? Their authors don’t receive a cent for them. That’s right, we don’t even have enough money to pay our writers, let alone our photographers, artists and graphic designers. It’s no surprise then that our staff has dwindled over the years — there’s a very small percentage willing to put in long hours for little-to-no pay.

There’s an ocean of talent out there, we just need to bait our hooks right — with an esteemed and award-worthy college newspaper. We see this referendum as an opportunity for an amazing transition for The Aggie — not only to save it, but to make it better.

Once we’ve covered the basics, we’ll be selecting a business and development manager, expanding our online and new media presence, publishing two or more times a week, running issues over summer sessions, paying writers and photographers, increasing editor pay to maybe even four dollars an hour (wow!), hiring and paying assistant managers, applying for awards and so much more.

So why do you need all this for your campus newspaper?

Because when shit hits the fan, we’re there in hazmat suits. Our reporters are out interviewing students on the Quad as they get pepper sprayed. Our photographers are at Murder Burger at one in the morning when there’s an armed suspect on the loose. Our staff members are the watchdogs for ASUCD.

$3.10: that’s less than the price of a CoHo burrito. Think about it: one burrito a quarter can pay for student salaries, a bi-weekly paper, more online content and a school newspaper you can be even more proud of. Not to mention that it’s a paltry price in comparison to predetermined fees, such as the $93 a quarter you pay for UC Davis Athletics.

The Aggie’s staff and supporters are fully prepared to embarrass the hell out of ourselves in getting this referendum passed. We’re changing our profile pictures and making announcements in our classes. We’re flagging down random people to ask them if they’ve heard about the referendum. We’re literally changing our middle names to “#SaveTheAggie.”

OK, just kidding on that last one. Not literally, that would require money — and, as previously stated, we have none.

But what we have plenty of is determination, solid work ethics and a strange, severe love for our little windowless office in 25 Lower Freeborn, known to all us sunlight-deprived staffers as “The Basement.” And if you care about anything that has to do with us — our paper, our purpose, our stale bagel that’s been hiding in the roof tiles for an uncomfortably unknown amount of time — vote yes on Measure 1, our referendum to save The Aggie.

Voting happens online at elections.ucdavis.edu/ from Tuesday Feb. 18 at 8 a.m. to Friday Feb. 21 at 8 a.m. We’ll be where we always are — bumping swivel chairs against each other in The Basement, typing with one hand and crossing our fingers with the other.

 

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