UNLV’s student newspaper was in jeopardy two months ago, when financial difficulties left advisers and students unsure whether the publication would survive into the spring 2017 semester.
The prospects for The Scarlet and Gray Free Press improved significantly this week with a financial proposal from the Las Vegas Review-Journal that would help fund the student newspaper for one year.
According to the proposal, which covers the 2017 calendar year, the Review-Journal would donate $40,000 — $10,000 per quarter — and print the weekly newspaper at no charge beginning with the first issue.
The proposal is expected to be considered for approval at the student newspaper’s advisory board meeting Jan. 17.
“The student newspaper at UNLV has always been an important resource for the Review-Journal and all other news media sources in the valley,” said Keith Moyer, editor-in-chief of the Review-Journal. “We felt it was important to help as we might in ensuring the newspaper’s doors remain open, until it can get itself on better financial footing.”
The proposal also states that the Review-Journal will not be involved in the operations or news coverage of The Scarlet and Gray Free Press, other than through Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius and staff writer Rick Velotta, who already serve the student newspaper in an advisory capacity.
Sebelius said he expects the proposal to be approved.
“Without this, it was in very dire straits,” said Sebelius, who serves as advisory board chairman. “I don’t think the paper would have survived without this. It will definitely save the paper.”
Editor-in-Chief Bianca Cseke agreed.
“We’re thankful and happy they’re willing to help us out in this way,” Cseke said. “I think we’re going to be around for the foreseeable future.”
In November, The Scarlet and Gray Free Press, formerly known as the Rebel Yell, launched an Internet donation drive with the goal of raising at least $30,000 to survive budget cuts. To date, the drive has generated only $2,900.
The newspaper received $30,000 from the Student Life Funding Committee for operations during the 2016-17 school year, a significant decrease from the $86,000 it received the previous year, Sebelius said.
Cseke said the student newspaper plans to diversify its revenue sources beyond advertising. The paper will continue to seek funding from the university, she said, and also has hired its first student fundraising director.
“It’s pretty dangerous to have just one major source to keep us afloat,” she said.