Editorial: an overview of the current financial situation at Arthur

Dear readers,

With every new year comes a new set of challenges and opportunities. Over the past 50 years of its existence, Arthur Newspaper has experienced obstacles of every kind. However, past boards and editors persevered through these highs and lows, and have struggled and succeeded in continuing the vitality of this newspaper. This year, your board and editors have been faced with the challenge of continuing operations in spite of increasing print publication costs, and the general future for print publication as an industry. Although we have worked to maintain the legacy of Arthur Newspaper, it is you who keep us alive, the readers, and we know you have a passion for print media. That is why Arthur Newspaper continues to maintain the integrity of its print publication.

In an attempt to maintain this vision, readers may have noticed that near the end of this past semester, Arthur reduced to a bi-weekly distribution, and will continue as such for the foreseeable future. This is due to our efforts to remedy a financial crisis that we discovered early this year. As a result of hiring a new business manager and getting our board trained, we have developed a decisive plan to ensure Arthur is able to get back on its feet and operating at full capacity within two years. If you would like to learn more about these troubles and our plans to overcome them, you are welcome to attend our Annual General Meeting on January 29. Rest assured, Arthur will continue to represent the student voice.
Arthur is moving towards becoming a more fiscally responsible entity, and we are restructuring in a way that ensures that students get the most out of Arthur, as a space to gain writing experience, and as a way to develop important professional skills. Arthur has always served this purpose, and will continue to do so.

Over the last five to six years, Arthur has been unknowingly accumulating a debt of near $10,000 annually since 2011. This was due to an oversight in one of the newspaper’s bank accounts, which had no systems in place for debt management. When the current co-editors took on their positions, the budget they were given was not appropriate for the financial situation. However,  these shortcomings are being remedied and the newspaper is taking appropriate measures in establishing a balanced budget for 2017 and beyond. We will ensure that there is a proper insight into the newspaper’s funding, as the current debt accumulated due to non-TWSP hired staff costs. The Trent Work Study Program (TWSP) provides 75%  coverage towards OSAP recipient students through a work support grant. Through the last few editorships, up until last school year, editors were not aware that hiring non-TWSP staff was financially unfeasible. The debt grew unnoticed until this year, and details of how this happened are still being investigated. With the appropriate measures, budget cuts and fundraising, we are committed to putting Arthur back on track and the board has worked out a plan with the hopes that within two years we will be able to return to our normal operating budget.

What changes can you expect to see? Most noticeably, you will no longer be seeing as much colour in print, in an effort to cut costs. Second-most obviously, you will be seeing our beautiful vintage black and white newspaper once every two weeks. And the hardest change to see, we are cutting back our staff—including the editors, whose hours are being cut drastically due to the reduction in print production. On the plus side, you can still expect weekly news from Arthur. We will continue to publish weekly online, so don’t forget to check out www.trentarthur.ca for the community and campus news you crave.

While we are working towards financial stability, we are also happily accepting donations. If you or someone you know would like to sponsor a print, you can! Anyone who donates to Arthur will enable us to print an issue. For more information, or if you have inquiries for the board, please email editors@trentarthur.ca and we will forward your questions to the Board of Directors. The AGM will be on January the 29th in Scott House’s Senior Common room at 3:00 p.m. to discuss the details of our budget.

Written corroboratively by
Arthur Board and Editors