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Board postpones decision on SIU student newspaper

Published: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:14 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 9, 2014 12:26 a.m. CDT
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(AP photo)
The Tuesday edition of the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University is seen Thursday in Carbondale. The future of the 98-year-old paper is cloudy after the SIU Board of Trustees declined to approve a proposed student fee to help pay for the daily that administrators of the paper say would help keep the newspaper from losing a projected $200,000.

CARBONDALE – The future of the 98-year-old student newspaper at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale was unclear Thursday after the university's governing board declined to approve a proposed student fee to help pay for the daily.

The SIU Board of Trustees, during a meeting in Edwardsville northeast of St. Louis, postponed making a decision on the $9 student media fee the Daily Egyptian's administrators insisted would help keep the newspaper from losing a projected $200,000. WSIU Radio reported the fee would generate more than $260,000 annually to support the publication's operation.

The campus' journalism school director, Bill Freivogel, told the Carbondale Southern Illinoisan that publishing the newspaper could be "very hard" without additional revenue sources.

"We [the newspaper] can't survive without the fee – it's as simple as that," said Eric Fidler, the Daily Egyptian's faculty adviser.

But the university system's new president, Randy Dunn, countered that it wasn't the end for the paper, and that he wants to work with it on its business model over the next year.

Publishing the paper as an online-only publication has been suggested, the Carbondale newspaper reported. But Freivogel said that would only exacerbate the newspaper's financial issues, noting that print ads draw eight to 10 times the revenue of online ones.

The board, while resisting increasing tuition for incoming freshman at the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses, agreed Thursday to increase a range of fees.

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