Students resurrect FHSU paper
By JUDY SHERARD
Despite two attempts to cut 2013-14 funding, the University Leader, the Fort Hays State University student newspaper, was funded Thursday by the Student Government Association.
SGA approved the allocation of $51,801.50 for the 2013-14 school year. It includes funding for salaries, printing, membership in the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press and office supplies. That amount will allow the Leader to print a newspaper for the entire school year.
"I'm really pleased with their decision," said Molly Walter, editor-in-chief, and a member of the Leader staff since 2010. "That was our goal, so I'm pleased we made it."
Last spring, SGA voted to cut funding to $19,750. The amount was $32,250 the previous year. The newspaper published its final print edition in January when it ran out of money.
Leader representatives "asked if the university would fund them for the remainder of the semester. I made the decision not to proceed at that point," FHSU President Edward H. Hammond said at a news conference in February.
Hammond has appointed a task force to develop recommendations for implementing a multimedia model to disseminate student-produced news, information analysis, opinion and entertainment.
When asked by SGA senators about the task force, Walter said no one from the Leader is on the task force.
"We would like to keep the Leader around. We are a newspaper. We are not a blog. So we want a newspaper to come out of it," Walter said.
"Whatever happens with the task force, they're still a student organization and have the same rights as a student organization," said Chris Roberts, SGA legislative affairs director and meeting chairman. "We should not base decisions on things we don't know."
The task force will consider SGA's funding of the Leader along with other information, said Paul Faber, College of Arts and Sciences dean and task force chairman.
Since the Leader became strictly an online presence, Walter said there's been less interaction on Twitter and Facebook.
"I think we've taken a huge decrease by not printing," she said.
"Because the University Leader only has to blog on the website, they are not getting as much attention," said Vernon King, SGA senator. "They are trying every single day to get people to go to their website. Not only are they doing journalism, they're doing writing, they're advertising. They're trying to build up what we took from them."