Future of Lance deserves more than cursory glance

edboard20130408The Lance, the weekly student newspaper for the University of Windsor, was informed quite suddenly last week they had published their last issue, after the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance voted to temporarily cease the printing of the publication before the year was even out.

Citing a disputed deficit of $24,000, the decision means the 85-year old publication may never return to stands.

Fortunately, at a meeting Monday night, it was decided the newspaper would be allowed to move forward with a print edition of their Aril 17 issue, and, following the submission of a new operating strategy, full printing could be reinstated.

Regardless, the move certainly raises fears the paper is being silenced for its content. The decision came after The Lance ran a story detailing alleged mishandling and corruption in the UWSA student election. That the decision was made behind closed doors certainly does nothing to alleviate these fears, nor does the fact The Lance staff was never consulted on the judgment.

For now, The Lance is only ceasing print publication, while still remaining online, but if printing isn’t reinstated, this does not mean it will continue to operate at the same capacity. Editorial quality will suffer from a diminished presence, as will readership without free papers to encourage impulse pick-ups.

One curious note does seem to be the lack of public protest by Lance staff. Maybe not every group of editors can mount a national media campaign to save their paper, but the lack of response suggests Lance staff may be unable to fight back meaningfully. Of course, it’s important to consider The Lance lacked both adequate time and now a vessel to deliver their message to the masses.

Even if the decision was made for financial reasons, it certainly demonstrates The Lance doesn’t seem to be a high priority for the UWSA. While deficits need to be addressed, they don’t justify scrapping a service like the student newspaper. In those cases, it is up to the student government to cover the loss with reserve funds, and for both parties to allocate an appropriate amount of money in the next budget. No budget is perfect, and responsible student governments are expected to maintain emergency cash reserves for just such an occasion.

Though the UWSA claimed their initial decision was a temporary way to stem the financial bleeding of the paper, this still leaves significant concerns about the financial situation of the organization. If their budget cannot accommodate a loss of $24,000, it is clear the UWSA has much more serious problems than one expensive paper.

The Gazette Editorial Board

  • Pat Whelan

    Did you hear what the most recent Tour winner said on the podium?