Let’s Talk About the Argus

As far as campus institutions go, the Argus is easily one of the most vocally and consistently criticized. In my time at Wes, I’ve observed a wide variety of opinion concerning the Argus, ranging from indifference to anger to restrained praise. Recent incidents including the Mytheos debacle and the erroneous reporting of three students’ HIV results seem to have contributed to negative feelings toward our student newspaper. In addition to encouraging a general understatement of the Argus‘ successes (their website and Wespeaks being some examples of those), I don’t think that focusing on these content issues is the most constructive or valuable way to discuss the improvement of our newspaper. There are other, organizational, issues that are central to the Argus becoming more widely embraced by students. Therefore, I won’t be focusing here on the quality of the Argus’ content, though in many ways those considerations cannot escape any conversation about a media form, but will instead talk about how the Argus operates.

In this post, I’ll be focusing largely on something most students seem to know very little about: the Argus’ finances. While any student can read the newspaper and decide whether they approve of the quality of its content, it has occurred to me that not many students are aware of how much money our college newspaper receives from the SBC or how it is used. Because SBC funding comes from the student activities fee that we all pay for through tuition, I felt that is was especially important to inform students about where our money is going. Although I know many of us feel rather detached from the Argus and don’t see ourselves as having anything to do with the publication, in many ways we are its benefactors. Your student newspaper is not free.

After spending some time thinking about how the Argus operates financially, I realized it would be really helpful to look at other schools’ newspapers as points of comparison. So I’ve included in this post comparisons of funding sources, who on staff gets paid, and how often their newspaper is published for eight other schools.

After the jump you’ll find some statistics and interesting factoids about the Argus, other college newspapers, where your money goes, as well as some heavy opining!

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll acknowledge that I was one of two Argus photo editors during the spring semester of my sophomore year. I went abroad the following fall and when I returned the editorship was already decided, so that one semester was the closest I’ve ever been to the Argus. My experiences on the editorial staff won’t figure too deeply into what I say in this post except that I have some understanding of what it is like to be a student on the staff. It is time-consuming and sometimes maddeningly frustrating work. That goes double (triple?) for Editors-in-Chief. Point being, you shouldn’t expect this to be a tirade about how they should work harder or get better contributors or whatever. The current editorial staff inherited a lot of what they have to work with now and it would be too much of a simplification of how the Argus operates to blame them for any perceived flaws in what is produced.

Before I start getting into all the specifics, I should begin by explaining where I’ve gotten my information from. All of the details about the Argus’ finances come from the SBC, which has demonstrated its commitment to transparency by providing me with the detailed budget report for the Argus (2009-2010). A condensed version of the Argus budget is accessible to all students through their student portfolios. (Under “Student Life at Wesleyan” click on WSA Tools and Applications, then click on the SBC Allocations tab and View Submitted Request Forms, search for The Wesleyan Argus and choose “2009-2010 Wesleyan Argus Annual Budget [Approved and Budget Processed].”) The condensed version, in addition to not providing much detail, also does not accurately convey how much SBC money the Argus actually uses. I’ll elaborate more on that point a little later. (Just a note: The Argus did offer to provide me with information about their budget, but the SBC info got to me first.)

All of the information about other newspapers comes from their websites and from correspondence via email with Editors-in-Chief or business managers. I emailed the staff of these newspapers asking two questions: 1) Do any members of your editorial/general staff get paid? and 2) Does the newspaper receive funding from the university? In retrospect, I should have asked about funding from a student activities fee in question #2, but every respondent made it pretty clear where they were getting their funding from anyway.

Below is a chart that compiles the answers I got in my email exchanges as well as basic information about enrollment sizes and the Argus’ finances. (Sorry for such a large chart!)

School/Newspaper Total Undergraduate Enrollment (Fall 2008) How often do they print? Who, if anybody, on staff is paid? How are they funded?
The Williams Record 1,997 Weekly Only the distributors of newspapers and subscriptions Wages, printing, and all overhead costs covered by ad and subscription revenues
The Wellesley News 2,344 Weekly Only the delivery person Used to be financially independent but has had to accept money from the student activities fee due to a budget crisis
The Middlebury Campus 2,450 Weekly Only the office manager and circulation coordinator Middlebury buys newspapers from them, [EDIT @ 10:08 PM] also gets revenue from ads and subscriptions
The Colgate Maroon-News 2,832 Weekly Only two-person delivery staff- $10/hour Working towards moving away from school funding
The Trinity Tripod 2,344 Weekly Nobody on staff is paid Printing is paid for through the Student Activities Fee, overhead is paid for through ad revenue
The Colby Echo 1,846 Weekly Editors who work at the Echo for more than one semester receive a “modest stipend” every other week Wages and overhead covered by ad revenue and subscriptions, printing is paid for by the Student Government Association
The Amherst Student 1,699 Weekly Nobody on staff is paid Have had to accept student body money because of money issues, but are working to become independent again soon
The Mount Holyoke News 2,168 Weekly Editors and writers do not get paid Receives about $25,000 from the university
The Wesleyan Argus 2,772 Twice a week Editors-in-Chief; online editor and assistant online editor; production and layout staff; business, advertising, and subscription managers; delivery staff Receives around $40,000 at the beginning of the semester from the SBC, then repays some of it from revenue

Source: National Center for Education Statistics [www.nces.ed.gov]

Funding

Last semester, the Argus received $40,042.97 from the SBC. Of this amount, $24,510.99 went to printing costs alone, $13,590 went to pay student workers, and $1,941.98 went to miscellaneous overhead costs. Every year, the Argus pays back some of this money through their revenue from ads and subscriptions, which usually amounts to about $10,000-$15,000 by the end of the year. The total amount of SBC money used by the Argus is around $25,000-$30,000 per year. Since I don’t have these kinds of figures for other college newspapers (except for The Mount Holyoke News, which receives about the same amount), I cannot tell if this amount is unusual. One thing that I find interesting though, is that while other newspapers seem to specifically allocate student money for printing costs, the Argus does not explicitly state that SBC funds are only being used for printing. It is entirely possible that wages and overhead costs are covered by their revenue (and the numbers could support this being the case), but I know I would be far more comfortable with so many staff members getting paid and getting paid the amount they do if these allocations were made clearer, at least in terms of SBC budgeting.

Staff Wages

This section is definitely the most difficult one for me to write because talking about whether someone should get paid for the work that they do is very uncomfortable. I know that many people I’ve talked to don’t understand why Argus staff is paid. From the chart above, it is clear that the Argus pays quite a few more members of their staff than the other newspapers I looked at (besides The Colby Echo). What stands out even more is that the Argus pays their Editors-in-Chief. Here’s the thing—I’m not sure that they don’t deserve to be paid. According to last semester’s budget documents, the two EIC’s were paid $530 to be split between them. (This semester there are four EIC’s and it is unclear how the $530 is being split.) Either way, that doesn’t amount to that much money per person considering that they probably spend 20+ hours a week on the Argus. Because of this large amount of time,  it would be difficult for EIC’s to have an outside job. On the other hand, it’s also true that putting “Editor-in-Chief” on a resume is pretty valuable in itself.

I’m not too familiar with the work that the rest of the paid staff does, so I can’t comment on how taxing their jobs are. Still, the fact that so many members of the non-editorial staff are paid is interesting when compared to the number of paid positions on other college newspapers. Again, it is difficult to suggest that someone should no longer be paid for their work, but I think it’s worth asking why they are paid (and paid as much as they are) in the first place. Today, the answer to the question of why they get paid usually seems to be “because otherwise nobody would do it,” but that still doesn’t clarify for me why section editors aren’t paid and why other members of the staff are. I’ll be interested to hear the philosophy behind the Argus’ wage system if there is anybody who knows. Since it was probably developed so long ago, I’m doubtful that anyone currently on staff could say for certain why the system is the way it is today.

Printing Schedule

Here is the one place where the Argus is most obviously an outlier. Of all the newspapers I’ve looked at, only the Argus publishes twice a week. It is possible that there are other schools of our size that publish bi-weekly, but I still don’t think it makes sense for such a small campus’ newspaper to come out more than once a week. Barring unusual circumstances, not that much news-worthy stuff happens around here. I think that students’ most common complaints about the Argus, namely that its content is weak and that there are far too many errors, would be greatly reduced if the staff had more time to work on a single issue each week. I think this is a case where quality trumps quantity. I can’t imagine anyone would prefer a lesser-quality newspaper twice a week to a higher-quality one once a week.

Printing weekly would also presumably cut down on costs. Staff wages that are paid per issue would amount to about half of what they are now. Printing costs should be much lower as well. It would also make much less sense to pay EIC’s if the Argus were to be a weekly paper because they would have fewer constraints on how they spend their time. With lowered costs and probably better quality, it seems clear to me that printing once a week is the direction that the Argus should take.

In researching and writing this post I have been well aware of the haterade (love that word) that could potentially be thrown my way. Ultimately, I have decided that it doesn’t matter how much crap I get for this post. Somehow I became part of one of the two biggest campus media outlets, and I’ve found myself caring way more about how information is and isn’t made available to students and how many opportunities we have to express our concerns about all sorts of issues. The Argus has done plenty of reporting on Wesleying, but generally nobody at Wesleying has commented in depth on the Argus. Feeling that lately students have really been questioning the Argus’ relevance to campus life and the staff’s commitment to quality work, I have chosen to bring some attention to these student concerns while also trying to be constructive about it. While it is easy to criticize the Argus and its staff, we’re really not doing anything to help the situation unless we acknowledge that putting out the newspaper is really difficult and also talk about ways that it could be made easier, including the possibility of decreasing the number of issues each semester.

You can ignore my commentary, but I want to make sure that the information I’ve included in this post is available to anyone who wants to know more about our student newspaper and how it compares to others. I think this is important, not only because we effectively pay for the Argus, but because the content and quality of our newspaper does affect how knowledgeable we are about what happens at our home away from home eight months of the year. Hopefully, somebody else with more time and a better handle of money and newspaper publication issues will tackle this topic in the future and fill in the gaps where I couldn’t.

So, enough of my opinions, what do you all have to say? Do you care how much money the Argus receives from the SBC or that staff gets paid? Would you be OK with the Argus only publishing once a week? Do you simply not care about anything related to the Argus (I know quite a few people feel this way)?

[A HUGE thanks goes out to the EICs and business managers at Williams, Wellesley, Middlebury, Colgate, Mount Holyoke, Colby, Amherst, and Trinity! Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you also to the SBC, The Wesleyan Argus, and to anybody else at Wes who helped me in the research and writing process.] [Also, I think it’s especially important to reiterate for this post that Wesleying bloggers write independently of each other, and the publishing of the post is not constitutive of some kind of “feud” between Wesleying and the Argus.]

130 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About the Argus

  1. H5N1

    we’ve actually had a lack of copy editing staff these last few months, especially with our old head copy staffer mark procter (hi mark!) having graduated at the end of fall semester. if this portion of our staff could be improved in terms of numbers (and, with time, experience), the paper’s rate of minor errors could certainly be improved.

  2. A thought

    Typos and misprints was never an issue until this year. Maybe the Argus’s problems have to do with the editors themselves and not the fact that it’s biweekly.

  3. A thought

    Typos and misprints was never an issue until this year. Maybe the Argus’s problems have to do with the editors themselves and not the fact that it’s biweekly.

  4. anonymous

    the amount of money the argus has has nothing to do with the awful copy-editing that goes on there. the argus is basically unreadable to me because of all the mispellings and general typos.

  5. anonymous

    the amount of money the argus has has nothing to do with the awful copy-editing that goes on there. the argus is basically unreadable to me because of all the mispellings and general typos.

  6. Mark Procter

    Having a twice-weekly paper is a pretty cool thing. Having a once-weekly paper that I came back to multiple times during the week would be cooler.

    I’ve worked as an assistant editor for two sections, and as a copy editor. A lot of sections were thin on content a lot of the time. A once-weekly schedule would allow both more and better content in each issue, as well as a chance for multiple drafts of the layout.

    I think funding is certainly important, but really fucking hard to discuss productively.

    People are comparing the Argus to other papers, arguing about the opportunity cost of using funds for the Argus as opposed to other publications, deriding and defending the content, and attempting some character assassination on the side. That’s more of a hubbub than a discussion.

    Would it help to create a forum where discussions on each aspect of the issue could occur separately, rather than having to scroll up and down to determine who’s talking to who?

  7. Mark Procter

    Having a twice-weekly paper is a pretty cool thing. Having a once-weekly paper that I came back to multiple times during the week would be cooler.

    I’ve worked as an assistant editor for two sections, and as a copy editor. A lot of sections were thin on content a lot of the time. A once-weekly schedule would allow both more and better content in each issue, as well as a chance for multiple drafts of the layout.

    I think funding is certainly important, but really fucking hard to discuss productively.

    People are comparing the Argus to other papers, arguing about the opportunity cost of using funds for the Argus as opposed to other publications, deriding and defending the content, and attempting some character assassination on the side. That’s more of a hubbub than a discussion.

    Would it help to create a forum where discussions on each aspect of the issue could occur separately, rather than having to scroll up and down to determine who’s talking to who?

  8. Andrew Huynh '11

    44:

    In addition to what Charlie (#46) has already noted, I want to clarify that the SBC is not facing a budget surplus of roughly $40,000 this year – the amount is actually significantly less. Based upon the WSA’s end-of-year report, as well as the final weekly committee report from Sunday, April 23rd, the SBC has approximately $17,000 remaining in its budget. I cannot say that this number is final – at the end of the fiscal year, unused funds are reassumed by the SBC and the overall surplus may be marginally higher.

    Nonetheless, it is not the SBC’s goal to withhold funding from any student group – it is actually quite the opposite. Sometimes we find that our weekly budget cannot meet the many funding requests that we are presented with, which is when we recommend alternative sources of funding. Sometimes student groups approach us with these additional sources already in place, which demonstrates their passion for an event or student group. These efforts are always appreciated because it allows us greater flexibility in allocating more to other student groups that meet with us in a given week. Either way, we try to work with student organizations to reduce or eliminate the amount of out-of-pocket expenditures they must incur in order to encourage more high-quality extracurriculars on campus.

    We recognize the student body’s concern about having exorbitant year-end surpluses and have worked to ensure that allocations are maximized to support the diverse groups at Wesleyan. We are always impressed with the quality events and proposals that we review, and are always happy to fund them accordingly.

  9. Andrew Huynh '11

    44:

    In addition to what Charlie (#46) has already noted, I want to clarify that the SBC is not facing a budget surplus of roughly $40,000 this year – the amount is actually significantly less. Based upon the WSA’s end-of-year report, as well as the final weekly committee report from Sunday, April 23rd, the SBC has approximately $17,000 remaining in its budget. I cannot say that this number is final – at the end of the fiscal year, unused funds are reassumed by the SBC and the overall surplus may be marginally higher.

    Nonetheless, it is not the SBC’s goal to withhold funding from any student group – it is actually quite the opposite. Sometimes we find that our weekly budget cannot meet the many funding requests that we are presented with, which is when we recommend alternative sources of funding. Sometimes student groups approach us with these additional sources already in place, which demonstrates their passion for an event or student group. These efforts are always appreciated because it allows us greater flexibility in allocating more to other student groups that meet with us in a given week. Either way, we try to work with student organizations to reduce or eliminate the amount of out-of-pocket expenditures they must incur in order to encourage more high-quality extracurriculars on campus.

    We recognize the student body’s concern about having exorbitant year-end surpluses and have worked to ensure that allocations are maximized to support the diverse groups at Wesleyan. We are always impressed with the quality events and proposals that we review, and are always happy to fund them accordingly.

  10. Charlie Kurose '10

    44:

    It’s impossible to predict with complete accuracy whether there will be an SBC surplus in a given year because the SBC doesn’t know how much money student groups will ask for throughout the year. Predicting this is far from a perfect science. During the first semester and into the second semester, the SBC budgets so that it will distribute the entirety of the student activities budget by the end of the year. What happens sometimes, however, is that student groups request less money near the end of the second semester than expected. This allows for the possibility that student groups that met with the SBC during the first semester may not have received full funding (though nearly every student group gets, at worst, almost all of the funding they ask for) and yet there is still a surplus at the end of the year. This is what happened this year, and you would know that if you actually cared enough about this issue to follow the weekly reporting that the WSA does on the status of the student activities budget.

    Everything is made easier when student groups can find additional sources of funding to supplement their request to the SBC. Student groups don’t have to do this, but many do (such as the publications that have posted in this chain of comments), and when they do it reveals a true passion for the activities they are planning. The SBC sincerely appreciates these efforts — thank you.

  11. Charlie Kurose '10

    44:

    It’s impossible to predict with complete accuracy whether there will be an SBC surplus in a given year because the SBC doesn’t know how much money student groups will ask for throughout the year. Predicting this is far from a perfect science. During the first semester and into the second semester, the SBC budgets so that it will distribute the entirety of the student activities budget by the end of the year. What happens sometimes, however, is that student groups request less money near the end of the second semester than expected. This allows for the possibility that student groups that met with the SBC during the first semester may not have received full funding (though nearly every student group gets, at worst, almost all of the funding they ask for) and yet there is still a surplus at the end of the year. This is what happened this year, and you would know that if you actually cared enough about this issue to follow the weekly reporting that the WSA does on the status of the student activities budget.

    Everything is made easier when student groups can find additional sources of funding to supplement their request to the SBC. Student groups don’t have to do this, but many do (such as the publications that have posted in this chain of comments), and when they do it reveals a true passion for the activities they are planning. The SBC sincerely appreciates these efforts — thank you.

  12. ddc

    @39

    i know which magazine you work for and you guys don’t deserve any funding from sbc.

  13. ddc

    @39

    i know which magazine you work for and you guys don’t deserve any funding from sbc.

  14. 2012

    @pooper and stufferino,

    If you had read the last issue of the Argus, you would see that the SBC is going to have a budget surplus of about $40,000 this year. Perhaps the problem with your publications not receiving enough money has more to do with the SBC’s unwillingness to allot the appropriate amount of funds, and less to do with the Argus (one of many, many student organizations that receive funding from the SBC) receiving money to print.

  15. 2012

    @pooper and stufferino,

    If you had read the last issue of the Argus, you would see that the SBC is going to have a budget surplus of about $40,000 this year. Perhaps the problem with your publications not receiving enough money has more to do with the SBC’s unwillingness to allot the appropriate amount of funds, and less to do with the Argus (one of many, many student organizations that receive funding from the SBC) receiving money to print.

  16. except

    @33: “For the record, a lot of the student wages go toward the layout staff. They’re the ones who stay there all night long (sometimes till as late as 6am–the EICs stay this late, also) putting the paper together.”

    Except there’s still quite a few people who do layout who aren’t paid, and a lot of the time the reason it takes until 6 am is because the Argus staff is inefficient (and usually trying to fill space with crap in order to finish an issue).

  17. except

    @33: “For the record, a lot of the student wages go toward the layout staff. They’re the ones who stay there all night long (sometimes till as late as 6am–the EICs stay this late, also) putting the paper together.”

    Except there’s still quite a few people who do layout who aren’t paid, and a lot of the time the reason it takes until 6 am is because the Argus staff is inefficient (and usually trying to fill space with crap in order to finish an issue).

  18. johnwesley

    speaking as an alumnus, I thought the Argus coverage of the proposed demolition of Mocon was excellent; they had the only interview with Joyce Topshe, the VP for facilities which cleared up a lot of issues for me. Also, their Comments section seems better suited for ongoing conversations like the one on sexual assault on campus, although, that seems more strictly as having to do with their online capabilities; it doesn’t impact printing costs.

  19. johnwesley

    speaking as an alumnus, I thought the Argus coverage of the proposed demolition of Mocon was excellent; they had the only interview with Joyce Topshe, the VP for facilities which cleared up a lot of issues for me. Also, their Comments section seems better suited for ongoing conversations like the one on sexual assault on campus, although, that seems more strictly as having to do with their online capabilities; it doesn’t impact printing costs.

  20. Gabe Lezra

    “The irrelevance of the Blargus underscores this point.”

    Awww, stufferino, don’t hate, celebrate! The Blargus is a space where we get to express our opinions no matter how out there, absurd, pornographic, political [GOD FORBID], or even our own personal stories. It’s light hearted for the most part, but we try hard to make it interesting as well as funny. Check it out sometime–I especially suggest Jared Gimbel’s column “Deuteronomy 4:4”

  21. Gabe Lezra

    “The irrelevance of the Blargus underscores this point.”

    Awww, stufferino, don’t hate, celebrate! The Blargus is a space where we get to express our opinions no matter how out there, absurd, pornographic, political [GOD FORBID], or even our own personal stories. It’s light hearted for the most part, but we try hard to make it interesting as well as funny. Check it out sometime–I especially suggest Jared Gimbel’s column “Deuteronomy 4:4”

  22. Gabe Lezra

    Hey (35) and all,

    So I’m totally with funding alternative media sources, and I would love to find some ways to trim various budgets (I just don’t think the Argus should be the only culprit) to get some money into the hands of people who want to undertake any kind of alternative work. That sounds fantastic to me, and totally in the spirit of our school.

    I honestly don’t have any idea about the Argus funding to make any real comment about our finances unfortunately :-(.

    I really think that the best way for these media outlets to proceed (and maybe I’m Utopian) is to make sure we’re in much closer contact with one another (and this doesn’t just have to include Wesleying and the Argus) about what we’re saying, what news we’re breaking, etc. It would be wonderful to do all that fancy-schmancy cross-promotional Alec Baldwin adver-lingus stuff (but in a serious way). If anyone from any campus media wants to talk to me, let me know about any ideas or anything, my email is glezra (at) wes (dot) edu. I’d love to hear your suggestions :-).

    We’re really hoping to re-vamp the online portion of the Argus (and the Blargus more specifically) next year, and we’re really excited to work with Wesleying people as much as possible during that process (if you all want!).

    Anyways, good luck with everything, and no hard feelings, at least on my end!

    Gabe

  23. Gabe Lezra

    Hey (35) and all,

    So I’m totally with funding alternative media sources, and I would love to find some ways to trim various budgets (I just don’t think the Argus should be the only culprit) to get some money into the hands of people who want to undertake any kind of alternative work. That sounds fantastic to me, and totally in the spirit of our school.

    I honestly don’t have any idea about the Argus funding to make any real comment about our finances unfortunately :-(.

    I really think that the best way for these media outlets to proceed (and maybe I’m Utopian) is to make sure we’re in much closer contact with one another (and this doesn’t just have to include Wesleying and the Argus) about what we’re saying, what news we’re breaking, etc. It would be wonderful to do all that fancy-schmancy cross-promotional Alec Baldwin adver-lingus stuff (but in a serious way). If anyone from any campus media wants to talk to me, let me know about any ideas or anything, my email is glezra (at) wes (dot) edu. I’d love to hear your suggestions :-).

    We’re really hoping to re-vamp the online portion of the Argus (and the Blargus more specifically) next year, and we’re really excited to work with Wesleying people as much as possible during that process (if you all want!).

    Anyways, good luck with everything, and no hard feelings, at least on my end!

    Gabe

  24. stufferino

    @Gabe and @35

    I also work for another campus publication, like 35. We do not receive nearly the amount of funding from the SBC that we need each semester, and are forced to scrounge for alternative sources of funding from organizations, frats, student donations, concert tickets, and academic departments as spartan as the Russian department.

    You would be hard pressed to find a harder working group of people, or who care more for the product they produce.

    So, in line with whatshername’s post, I strongly agree that the Argus should start to come out weekly, for both economic and content reasons. I read the Argus with some amount of regularity and am often disappointed–not to say that there isn’t some good reporting. But I think the staff would have an opportunity to do a better job if they weren’t under such strict deadlines. Articles could be researched and edited with the care that they deserve. (I don’t imagine something as sloppy as Mytheos’ obsurd tirade getting through an editorial board that had the time to do real editing. That piece alone should be the justification for a weekly publication.)

    And to whoever it was above me that said that the Argus should cease to print and become a web-based publication, I strongly disagree with that sentiment. Wesleying is a great site, and seems to be able to handle the day-to-day operations of the school. We don’t need another one. The irrelevance of the Blargus underscores this point. We need a strong campus publication that reports thoroughly on local and campus issues. This should be the job of the Argus, and unfortunately, even with their hard work, I think they often fall short.

    Hopefully, this is the last of the serious reporting that Wesleying has to take up in place of the Argus. This is the kind of article I would expect of them.

    -Stuffs

  25. stufferino

    @Gabe and @35

    I also work for another campus publication, like 35. We do not receive nearly the amount of funding from the SBC that we need each semester, and are forced to scrounge for alternative sources of funding from organizations, frats, student donations, concert tickets, and academic departments as spartan as the Russian department.

    You would be hard pressed to find a harder working group of people, or who care more for the product they produce.

    So, in line with whatshername’s post, I strongly agree that the Argus should start to come out weekly, for both economic and content reasons. I read the Argus with some amount of regularity and am often disappointed–not to say that there isn’t some good reporting. But I think the staff would have an opportunity to do a better job if they weren’t under such strict deadlines. Articles could be researched and edited with the care that they deserve. (I don’t imagine something as sloppy as Mytheos’ obsurd tirade getting through an editorial board that had the time to do real editing. That piece alone should be the justification for a weekly publication.)

    And to whoever it was above me that said that the Argus should cease to print and become a web-based publication, I strongly disagree with that sentiment. Wesleying is a great site, and seems to be able to handle the day-to-day operations of the school. We don’t need another one. The irrelevance of the Blargus underscores this point. We need a strong campus publication that reports thoroughly on local and campus issues. This should be the job of the Argus, and unfortunately, even with their hard work, I think they often fall short.

    Hopefully, this is the last of the serious reporting that Wesleying has to take up in place of the Argus. This is the kind of article I would expect of them.

    -Stuffs

  26. Mad

    Gabe Lezra, there’s kind of a “monolithic opinion” in the form of unnamed editorials. But, that said, I think the Argus editorials have consistently been awesome throughout the entire time I was at Wes.

    I obviously think Wesleying is great, but I also have always been a little sad at the bad rap the Argus gets. When I was a prefrosh, I loved the Argus because it really seemed like it had the pulse of the campus. The Wespeaks were used so much as a form of expression. I guess unfortunately that’s fallen a little by the wayside with the blogging, but I still think the Argus does a good job with real reporting, and the editorials are always well-done and seem to represent my feelings and the general campus opinion.

  27. Mad

    Gabe Lezra, there’s kind of a “monolithic opinion” in the form of unnamed editorials. But, that said, I think the Argus editorials have consistently been awesome throughout the entire time I was at Wes.

    I obviously think Wesleying is great, but I also have always been a little sad at the bad rap the Argus gets. When I was a prefrosh, I loved the Argus because it really seemed like it had the pulse of the campus. The Wespeaks were used so much as a form of expression. I guess unfortunately that’s fallen a little by the wayside with the blogging, but I still think the Argus does a good job with real reporting, and the editorials are always well-done and seem to represent my feelings and the general campus opinion.

  28. A-Batte

    As someone who routinely reads and enjoys both The Argus (and Blargus, though not as often) and Wesleying, I appreciate the biweekly Argus and would rather hope the staff finds some way to reduce the errors and things people complain about other than only coming out weekly. By my reckoning, it’s more readable as a biweekly too.

    Also, I think the Ampersand (and Kids Korner) are hilarious and have gotten better throughout the year, but opinions, etc.

  29. A-Batte

    As someone who routinely reads and enjoys both The Argus (and Blargus, though not as often) and Wesleying, I appreciate the biweekly Argus and would rather hope the staff finds some way to reduce the errors and things people complain about other than only coming out weekly. By my reckoning, it’s more readable as a biweekly too.

    Also, I think the Ampersand (and Kids Korner) are hilarious and have gotten better throughout the year, but opinions, etc.

  30. Tom

    @bubblegumcharlie

    actually i did. so did a lot of people. what are you even trying to get by throwing that out there?

  31. Tom

    @bubblegumcharlie

    actually i did. so did a lot of people. what are you even trying to get by throwing that out there?

  32. pooper

    hey Gabe Lezra

    I’m pissed because I’m on staff of another campus publication that relies on SBC money to print, and they give us barely enough. meanwhile argus gets insane funds. If argus got a couple thousand less, the SBC could fund a handful of alternative media outlets (not just journalism) no sweat. And I think that’s just as important as everything else we’re discussing here.

  33. pooper

    hey Gabe Lezra

    I’m pissed because I’m on staff of another campus publication that relies on SBC money to print, and they give us barely enough. meanwhile argus gets insane funds. If argus got a couple thousand less, the SBC could fund a handful of alternative media outlets (not just journalism) no sweat. And I think that’s just as important as everything else we’re discussing here.

  34. Gabe Lezra

    Hey guys,

    So I’m not writing this as some sort of monolithic Argus opinion (I run the Blargus woohoo! and am Arts Editor)–we do have different views on things–but I think it might be nice to see what other schools spend on their papers and to figure out what percent of the SBC funds go where.
    To critique a part of a larger monetary system seems to me to misunderstand the problem (if there is one). What does the SBC do with its money? How much does it have? How much does the Argus get in relation to, say, WESU for example? I’m pretty sure these things can be found out online, and it might be nice to know for future reference. In my opinion it’s a bit unfair to attack the Argus for getting this kind of money without some more context.
    Do we believe that the Argus should not rely on SBC funds and try (and probably fail, like most print media) to generate enough revenue to publish on its own? Or do we value having a newspaper on campus for free? Most of the other colleges have sold huge amounts of add space all over their websites and blogs–is this the model we want for the Argus?

    And there is no Wesleying/Argus feud because, I’m pretty sure, there is no monolithic opinion on either side–unless someone wants to prove me wrong (and I’m not being paid). I love reading Wesleying, and I love reading the Argus (especially the Blargus). This town is definitely big enough for the both of us, folks.

  35. Gabe Lezra

    Hey guys,

    So I’m not writing this as some sort of monolithic Argus opinion (I run the Blargus woohoo! and am Arts Editor)–we do have different views on things–but I think it might be nice to see what other schools spend on their papers and to figure out what percent of the SBC funds go where.
    To critique a part of a larger monetary system seems to me to misunderstand the problem (if there is one). What does the SBC do with its money? How much does it have? How much does the Argus get in relation to, say, WESU for example? I’m pretty sure these things can be found out online, and it might be nice to know for future reference. In my opinion it’s a bit unfair to attack the Argus for getting this kind of money without some more context.
    Do we believe that the Argus should not rely on SBC funds and try (and probably fail, like most print media) to generate enough revenue to publish on its own? Or do we value having a newspaper on campus for free? Most of the other colleges have sold huge amounts of add space all over their websites and blogs–is this the model we want for the Argus?

    And there is no Wesleying/Argus feud because, I’m pretty sure, there is no monolithic opinion on either side–unless someone wants to prove me wrong (and I’m not being paid). I love reading Wesleying, and I love reading the Argus (especially the Blargus). This town is definitely big enough for the both of us, folks.

  36. anon

    I’m gonna go ahead and disagree with #30. Everything about this is pathetic. There are so many holes in this piece… whatshername repeatedly admits that there are various possible explanations for things and uses BOLD FACE to emphasize the more dramatic details. Who’s really falling for this nonsense? I’m all for getting at the truth and remedying things that aren’t efficient, but I think it’s pretty clear that this piece is just trying to encourage resentment towards the Argus.

    For the record, a lot of the student wages go toward the layout staff. They’re the ones who stay there all night long (sometimes till as late as 6am–the EICs stay this late, also) putting the paper together. It’s really hard stuff and I am all for them getting paid. It’s kind of cool to have a real, biweekly newspaper that looks nice (if you’ve been paying attention, the layout has vastly improved over the last few years).

    I think there’s a really sad lack of college loyalty going on here; it kind of upsets me that I go to a school where one student would so unabashedly attack an entire group of really hard-working students. If you (and the other angry commenters) care so much about issues with the Argus, then why don’t you take these issues up with the staff—have a conversation with them in person? Why not commit the time and effort to work on the Argus? This is your school and you are allowed to take an active stake in it. The Argus is always actively seeking people to join the effort. It’s really easy to sit back and e-mail a couple of EICs from other schools and rant about the seemingly mysterious inner-workings of your college’s newspaper. It’s not so easy to devote 20 or 30 or more hours/week of actually doing in-person interviews, going to events, doing practical stuff like corresponding with printers and securing ads—all in the name of publishing a school paper that your schoolmates are all too eager to bash the second you mess up.

    Again, I recommend that those who are interested join the Argus and put their ideas about how to make it a better publication into practice. Maybe they should focus more on online content; maybe they should change to a weekly paper. But these things will only happen with some sort of positive communication and involvement from the student body.

    -I don’t work for the Argus, but I know a few people on the staff, and I also know that this is a bunch of vindictive baloney (yeah, I’m biased).

    By the way, I hope people don’t honestly think that Wesleying could replace the Argus for content.

  37. anon

    I’m gonna go ahead and disagree with #30. Everything about this is pathetic. There are so many holes in this piece… whatshername repeatedly admits that there are various possible explanations for things and uses BOLD FACE to emphasize the more dramatic details. Who’s really falling for this nonsense? I’m all for getting at the truth and remedying things that aren’t efficient, but I think it’s pretty clear that this piece is just trying to encourage resentment towards the Argus.

    For the record, a lot of the student wages go toward the layout staff. They’re the ones who stay there all night long (sometimes till as late as 6am–the EICs stay this late, also) putting the paper together. It’s really hard stuff and I am all for them getting paid. It’s kind of cool to have a real, biweekly newspaper that looks nice (if you’ve been paying attention, the layout has vastly improved over the last few years).

    I think there’s a really sad lack of college loyalty going on here; it kind of upsets me that I go to a school where one student would so unabashedly attack an entire group of really hard-working students. If you (and the other angry commenters) care so much about issues with the Argus, then why don’t you take these issues up with the staff—have a conversation with them in person? Why not commit the time and effort to work on the Argus? This is your school and you are allowed to take an active stake in it. The Argus is always actively seeking people to join the effort. It’s really easy to sit back and e-mail a couple of EICs from other schools and rant about the seemingly mysterious inner-workings of your college’s newspaper. It’s not so easy to devote 20 or 30 or more hours/week of actually doing in-person interviews, going to events, doing practical stuff like corresponding with printers and securing ads—all in the name of publishing a school paper that your schoolmates are all too eager to bash the second you mess up.

    Again, I recommend that those who are interested join the Argus and put their ideas about how to make it a better publication into practice. Maybe they should focus more on online content; maybe they should change to a weekly paper. But these things will only happen with some sort of positive communication and involvement from the student body.

    -I don’t work for the Argus, but I know a few people on the staff, and I also know that this is a bunch of vindictive baloney (yeah, I’m biased).

    By the way, I hope people don’t honestly think that Wesleying could replace the Argus for content.

  38. hemanuel

    @bubblegumcharlie (26)

    “this article demonstrates the extent lavish endowments for the upper-cohorts of the paper exist and effect their productive effeciency [sic]”

    really?? Take-out and a $265-a-semester stipend represent lavish compensation for people who work 4pm-4am twice a week to get the paper out?

    I’m not totally sure why the EICs are paid, it would be nice to hear the rationale. But I think it’s pretty clear that they are not being lavishly paid.

    Really, most of the cost goes into printing. While publishing only half as many issues would reduce these costs, it’s seems pretty important, to me at least, that the Argus publish often enough that it can actually cover news. It barely can now. But weeklies, really, are magazines, not newspapers. The actual function of the paper, reporting news, seems surprisingly underdiscussed in these comments.

  39. hemanuel

    @bubblegumcharlie (26)

    “this article demonstrates the extent lavish endowments for the upper-cohorts of the paper exist and effect their productive effeciency [sic]”

    really?? Take-out and a $265-a-semester stipend represent lavish compensation for people who work 4pm-4am twice a week to get the paper out?

    I’m not totally sure why the EICs are paid, it would be nice to hear the rationale. But I think it’s pretty clear that they are not being lavishly paid.

    Really, most of the cost goes into printing. While publishing only half as many issues would reduce these costs, it’s seems pretty important, to me at least, that the Argus publish often enough that it can actually cover news. It barely can now. But weeklies, really, are magazines, not newspapers. The actual function of the paper, reporting news, seems surprisingly underdiscussed in these comments.

  40. vince noir

    SBC should have a contract auction between Wesleying and the blaargus and let the more efficient model take the reigns. That would be cost effective for our community

  41. vince noir

    SBC should have a contract auction between Wesleying and the blaargus and let the more efficient model take the reigns. That would be cost effective for our community

  42. Bubblegumcharlie

    oh and 27, its immature to call people pathetic. and I bet you did not write a thesis. timeliness is external to argument..

  43. Bubblegumcharlie

    oh and 27, its immature to call people pathetic. and I bet you did not write a thesis. timeliness is external to argument..

  44. Bubblegumcharlie

    I do agree with 19 that its a laudible public good being offered to the community, of more value than other groups recieving funding, but that granted, the numbers posted in this paper really are eye opening a point to a problem that may not be in the community’s best interest’s. the poster’s suggestions that they switch to a higher quality once a week distribution and cut funds for individual students is something worthy of a thoughtful response, and I hope the timing of this article won’t preclude a response from the argus staff in time.

  45. Bubblegumcharlie

    I do agree with 19 that its a laudible public good being offered to the community, of more value than other groups recieving funding, but that granted, the numbers posted in this paper really are eye opening a point to a problem that may not be in the community’s best interest’s. the poster’s suggestions that they switch to a higher quality once a week distribution and cut funds for individual students is something worthy of a thoughtful response, and I hope the timing of this article won’t preclude a response from the argus staff in time.

  46. Anonymous

    a senior here – I like that the Argus comes out twice a week, but can see the reasoning behind once a week. The Argus does tackle issues that other campus media doesn’t, which is good.

  47. Anonymous

    a senior here – I like that the Argus comes out twice a week, but can see the reasoning behind once a week. The Argus does tackle issues that other campus media doesn’t, which is good.

  48. Tom

    @whatshername: “I wrote a thesis this year and have had a lot of other things to work on, so I couldn’t throw myself into the research and writing until recently.”

    This is really pathetic, immature excuse.

  49. Tom

    @whatshername: “I wrote a thesis this year and have had a lot of other things to work on, so I couldn’t throw myself into the research and writing until recently.”

    This is really pathetic, immature excuse.

  50. Bubblegumcharlie

    between the extreme positions put forth by 17 and 19, I think there is something to be learned. First, 19, to call wesleying a medium level blog is to ignore its pretty prestigious position in the world of college blogging. I’ve heard that many other school blogs have contacted the head of Wesleying to ask for advice. The numbers of daily hits are something to be proud of.

    I think 19 is right to point out to 17 that the argus and wesleying are not equatable mediums. but the “its a real newspaper” comment made me laugh. Are we picking up the same paper when we go to S*** in olin bathrooms?? Cuz I wouldn’t call that argus a real newspaper.

    What I get from 17, is that Wesleying has a business model that works (in that they are not paid at all and function solely by volunteer work). I can’t say “lets kill print-news at Wes,” you gotta chear that cause yourself, 17. But the argus is NOT a real newspaper precisely because it is not operating at any kind of profit or economic budget, and this article demonstrates the extent lavish endowments for the upper-cohorts of the paper exist and effect their productive effeciency. The argus’ business model is bloated, and as we see from this paper, pretty ugly when we compare it its peers.

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