The Hoya writes to Media Board, plans to submit budget

Surprising no one, Vox has learned that the Hoya will submit a budget proposal to the Media Board for the 2010-2011 academic year. The decision, which was largely expected after the Hoya‘s Board of Directors chose to defer independence, was preceded early last week by a letter addressed to the Media Board, which was penned by the newly-elected Chair of the Board of Directors Kevin Barber.

In the letter, Barber blames “financial reasons related to the state of the national economy,” in addition to “the large additional expenses that independence would bring,” as the main factors that encouraged the Hoya to delay its dreams of independence.

“It wasn’t my individual decision to not go independent this summer,” Barber said Monday night. “It was a decision made by the outgoing Board of Directors, who decided that unless the financial environment changed, it wouldn’t be prudent to go independent … but I agree with them. I participated in the discussions about [independence.]”

While Barber says that he “does not anticipate any difficulties with the Media Board,” there could be a bumpy road ahead for the Hoya. In early March, the Voice‘s Galen Weber reported that the Media Board requested only $36,000 in funding—less money than the year before—because the Board “more or less operated on the assumption that the Hoya would become independent from the University within the next year.”

But, Barber seems optimistic about the Hoya‘s chances of getting its budget approved.

“We gave the Media Board no concrete indication about independence this year,” Barber claimed, adding that, “While I don’t know what [the Media Board’s] status is now, I’ve heard that they requested as much money as in years past.”

Concerning the prospects of an independent Hoya down the road, Barber said, “We’ll do everything that we can to make independence in the summer of 2011 a possibility.”

Editor-in-Chief Marissa Amendolia supported Barber’s statement, saying, “Independence still remains a priority.”

After the jump is Barber’s complete letter to the Media Board.

April 19, 2010

Dear members of the Media Board,

I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of The Hoya regarding
The Hoya’s submission of its budget proposal for the 2010-2011
academic year.

In each of the past few years, it seems, campus has been visited by
speculation that The Hoya may be on the brink of fulfilling its
foremost institutional goal by becoming independent. Independence has
not yet become a reality for The Hoya, however, and this year will
likely be no different. For financial reasons related to the state of
the national economy, the leadership of The Hoya has decided that it
would be imprudent to become independent this summer.

The recession has had a widely reported impact on newspapers around
the world — most have embraced budget cuts to remain viable, and a
number have closed. The Hoya’s prospects are less dire because of
advantages it has as a campus newspaper with a stable market, but it
has nevertheless been touched by these times of economic difficulty.
Our national advertising revenue has declined this year; in
combination with the large additional expenses that independence would
bring (e.g., the lease of office space, publisher’s insurance, a
university licensing fee, etc.), this decline in revenue would make it
difficult for The Hoya to become independent this summer with
confidence in its own financial viability.

We plan, therefore, to continue to operate next year as we have for
the past 90 years — as a student-run organization affiliated with the
university. Though we strongly believe that The Hoya must become
independent to fulfill its highest institutional goals, the current
economic realities of our industry must be noted. In this coming year,
as we endeavor to make independence feasible in 2011, we hope to
continue the productive relationship we have had with the Media Board
over the past several years.

This week, The Hoya’s business director, Phil Chang, will submit a
budget proposal for 2010-2011. We look forward to discussing it in
person with the Media Board in due course.

Sincerely,

Kevin Barber
Chair, Board of Directors
The Hoya

8 Comments on “The Hoya writes to Media Board, plans to submit budget

  1. Um, seeing as the Finance & Appropriations Committee already had a budget summit to allocate money to the Media Board — and that 100% of the Student Activities Fee money has already been allocated — how does the Hoya propose to get money? I presume the Media Board already allocated their share? Or perhaps they’re going to have to dip into their reserves?

  2. Good questions, Matt. Either the Voice reported the incorrect amount that the Media Board requested earlier this year (I don’t think they did) or Barber’s claim that they requested the same amount is wrong.

    Also, one other interesting thing about the letter: it mentions the cost of a “university licensing fee.” As of last fall, when I wrote a cover story about the Hoya’s bid for independence (http://georgetownvoice.com/2009/09/10/freedom-of-the-press/), Georgetown was going to give the Hoya their name (along with everything in their office not nailed to the floor) for $1. I guess this means that’s no longer the case?

  3. The Hoya turns a profit, and in fact subsidizes the other media outlets, including this one, so they shouldn’t need money from the Media Board. They said they submitted a budget, which does not necessarily mean they need money from the university.

  4. The Hoya has been claiming that it was imminently going independent for at least six years now, probably longer. Every year it falls through. It’s even printed news articles in the past proclaiming that it was preparing for the final stages of independence.

    This campaign is becoming laughable. Independence is to the Hoya what election controversies are to GUSA, reneging on commitments is to SAC, and the Independent is to itself: a perpetual failure and embarrassment.

  5. @Fact checker: two problems:

    1. Just because the Hoya “turns a profit” doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need money from the Media Board. All the money it receives it turns over to the Media Board, so it does in fact need money for each subsequent year. The reason why the Media Board requested less money this year is because the money the Hoya uses to operate each year does, in fact, come from the Media Board.

    2. I’d disagree with the characterization that the Hoya “turns a profit” and therefore subsidizes other media outlets on campus. If it were as simple as that, the Hoya wouldn’t have any trouble going independent next year.

    What that phrase really means is that the money the Hoya gives to the Media Board is usually (not always) greater than the money it takes from the Media Board. What this leaves out is the support the Hoya gets from the University (office space, utilities, insurance, legal support, equipment, etc.). When the cost of all of these things is factored in, it seems the Hoya is not turning a profit. (If it were, again, it could go independent.)

    It’s true that the Voice (and, by extension, Vox Populi) receives support from the University. We’re grateful for it, and judging by the service that the paper, and in particular this blog, provides to the community, I’m guessing most students don’t mind the fact that GU supports us. But the notion that the Hoya isn’t likewise supported by the University (and therefore supports the other media outlets on campus) simply isn’t true.

    I don’t think that the fact media outlets are supported by the University is a bad thing, given GU’s hands-off policy. A case could be made that it is a bad thing. But we are all supported by the University. So if you’re going to post under the monikor “Fact checker,” at least get your facts right.

  6. Just because the Hoya turns a profit does not mean they turn a large *enough* profit to go independent. And if the Hoya turns over the money they have at the end of the year to the Media Board, then the Media Board still wouldn’t need to request more money from GUSA because they never would have relinquished the money they got from the Hoya from the previous year. And I never said the Hoya wasn’t supported by the university.

  7. Having read your comments here and elsewhere (and assuming you’re the same person), I might suggest that you think about changing your name from “fact checker” to something a little less dishonest.

  8. Pingback: Vox Populi » Hoya delays independence again, WaPo doesn’t notice

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