Student Media Board
Minutes for Jan. 10, 2018, Emergency Meeting
I. Call to Order
Leigh Gaskin, board chair, called meeting to order at 4:15 pm.
Other members present were:
Aloni Martin, Gabriella Ramos, Hannah Basler, Kai Amos, Jacob Wagoner, Parker Blekkenk, Rachel Wong, Erica Nicol, Jennifer Murray, Karen Breese, Matthew Winchell, Carmen Jaramillo, Matt Haugen, Benjamin Shors, Ceridwen Walsh, Madison Jackson and Richard Miller.
Staff members: Jacob Jones and K. Denise Boyd
II. New Business
• Board discussion of short-term options for addressing budget deficit.
Boyd distributed copies of a sheet that outlined previous spending cuts, the projected budget deficit of $130,000, and options for reducing that deficit in order to maintain minimal reserves.
Gaskin limited public comments to five minutes, and on financial options only.
The board voted to allow Jackson, editor-in-chief, to start the meeting by giving a presentation to the board.
The newsroom strongly disagrees with print-frequency cuts, Jackson said. The experience helps students get jobs after graduation, creates a unique learning environment, and provides valuable experience.
Jackson said Miller needs to create a written plan for increasing revenue.
Jackson said the proposed changes weren’t adequately communicated to the newsroom. Any changes to print frequency need to be approved by the board, she said, as does the annual budget. Jackson proposed waiting until the proposed $5 referendum before doing anything. If the referendum fails, she said, the office should consider reducing the salary or number of professional staff.
Jackson also presented testimonials from former Evergreen staff on why print frequency should not be cut.
Miller said the students were told of the new budget developments as soon as they occurred, and that the board meeting is part of the discussion process. Miller said that continuing the Evergreen’s mission is more important than adhering to traditional platforms and that reducing print frequency would allow the Evergreen to continue producing daily journalism.
Miller said he was unable to create a plan that would guarantee enough additional revenue to address the deficit, but has been working on a variety of options.
Board member comment to Jackson: Waiting for the referendum doesn’t make sense, it’s better to deal with problems now. Start making steps today as a good will gesture.
Jackson: We created a new position to work with the ASWSU on the proposed referendum. It is hard to come back from cuts.
Board comment from Karen Breese: Does putting the paper on social media/digital make a difference in the newsroom?
Jackson: We wouldn’t have to meet nightly to make print deadlines. More students would work from home and not on campus. This would affect the culture of the newsroom and diminish the quality of work.
Other comments: Advertising Manager Jacob Wagoner said cutting print days could hurt advertising income, which has already been reduced by university budget changes.
III. Public comment
A motion from Ramos to begin public comment, seconded by Miller.
Zach Anders, former ASWSU senator. Said he has worked for three papers that have all shut down; cutting print is a death rattle. ASWSU referendums have passed with support from ASWSU, like the Chinook for $99. We need to have ASWSU get behind the referendum.
Sheila O’Rourke, former WSU employee. Should see about a faculty/staff subscriptions and donations. Wants to donate to the cause; she’ll contact Tracy Milano after the meeting to make arrangements.
Kai Amos, editor, Chinook. Amos asked if decreasing the press run would save money. Miller said we are currently at the minimum charge with our printer.
Other members of the public spoke of the value of print journalism to the community and to the student staff.
IV. Executive Session
The board went into executive session at 5:40 p.m. Resumed public session about 5:55 p.m.
V. Action taken
Shors – Moved to continue with five-day production until the proposed March referendum. Motion rejected, 13-5.
Miller – Moved to go to 4-day week production until the proposed referendum and cut summer print production. No second taken.
Miller – Moved to cut summer print production if referendum fails. Approved, 15-3.
Shors – Moved to continue with five-day production until the referendum. Rejected 10-6 with two abstaining.
Wagoner – Moved to table additional options until Jan. 31 meeting. Approved unanimously. Student leaders will send Miller requests for more information before the next meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 6:45 pm.
Minutes taken by K. Denise Boyd, fiscal specialist