Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Monday, July 16, 2018

Financial troubles have plagued The Eagle since 2010

After 88 years of printing, The Eagle plans to slowly transition to a Web-only publication.

“The Eagle will build towards a stronger Web presence next semester to ensure it remains a force for journalism on campus” Eagle Editor-in-Chief Zach Cohen said.

The newspaper has struggled financially in recent years. While remaining editorially independent, the University has provided the newspaper with a loan to cover production costs each year.

However, unresolved debt to Student Activities, a sudden reduction of the newspaper’s budget and a drop in print advertising revenues have made it difficult for The Eagle to maintain the publication in print form.

Ad loss plays major role in printless future

The Eagle’s current financial difficulties are due to a lack of ad placement, according to Eagle Board of Directors Chair Brett Zongker.

The Eagle Board of Directors consist of Eagle alumni and working professionals who serve as advisers for The Eagle staff. Senior members of the paper’s staff also serve on the board as student representatives.

“The challenge for The Eagle, I think, is there doesn’t seem to be much support at the moment for advertising from campus offices and student groups,” Zongker said. “That’s been a huge loss of revenue for the Eagle.”

In recent years, The Eagle has become more reliant on ad-serving companies that receive a commission to recruit national advertisers to the paper, according to Jake Kelderman, The Eagle’s business manager. Kelderman was brought in during the fall of 2012 by Student Activities to look at The Eagle’s financial situation.

2010 budget cuts still felt in 2013

Charlie Szold, editor-in-chief of The Eagle during the 2010-2011 school year, was forced to transition the then-biweekly Eagle to a weekly publication in 2010 due to growing financial problems. The paper halved its budget during the transition.

Prior to 2010, Student Activities granted The Eagle a loan of $100,000 per year to cover the costs of production. However, an ad revenue shortage in 2010 reduced the annual loan from Student Activities to $50,000 a year, according to Szold’s 2010 letter in The Eagle.

The transition to Web may serve as an opportunity and challenge for the future of journalism, according to Kelderman.

“Print is just a medium, but the medium is just a small part of the package,” Kelderman said.

sgaber@theeagleonline.com


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