Taking a look at the past year

Heather Bryant / Editor-in-Chief
May 12, 2011

This past year has been a tumultuous time for the Sun Star. In November of 2010, Sun Star staff realized that budget numbers weren’t adding up — far more was going out than was coming in. Since then, the Sun Star has had a long road to getting answers about the actual fiscal health of the paper. There still aren’t clear answers and there might not be for some time. What I hope to do in the coming weeks is resolve lingering issues from the past year so we can move forward.

The Sun Star is paid for in part by 7 percent of the student governance fee. That amounts to approximately $32,000. That’s a lot of money for the students to contribute. Because of that, the Sun Star holds itself accountable to the students. We strive for transparency.

Over the past week, I have compiled a summary of the fall 2010 and spring 2011 print issues. In this PDF, you can find how much each issue cost and how much advertising was sold for that issue. The difference is the amount covered by the Sun Star’s share of the student fee. The costs listed include staff hours, the cost of content by both staff and freelancers and printing costs.

Other information gathered includes how many pieces of content were published in each section of the paper. UAF is a very diverse campus filled with people with many interests. The Sun Star tries to publish content that reflects the diversity and interests of our readers. Over the last year, the Sun Star published 440 pieces of content and interviewed 347 people. In the summary, each issue is broken down. You can see how many pieces of content were in each section.

For example, you can look at the Aug. 31 issue and see that it was 16 pages and it cost $2,377.24. There was $1,837.61 in ads sold. The student government fee paid for $539.63. In that issue there were four articles in campus life, three in news, three in politics, one in the West Ridge report, two columns and the blotter. Ten writers and two photographers and graphic designers were published in that issue. There were 14 unique photos and five unique graphics.

Information like this is important for making future decisions. We can look at the trends and see what areas are being covered and which ones aren’t being covered enough. You can use this information to see if your interests are being represented. If they are not, let us know. When you have something going on, contact us or stop by. We do our best to cover as many things as possible, but we can’t cover it if we don’t know it’s happening.

In the next week, the Sun Star will be putting out a reader survey. I urge you to participate. The Sun Star is your newspaper; please take the opportunity to give us feedback that will help improve the quality and value of the Sun Star.

2010-2011 Sun Star Final Summary (PDF)

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