North Texas Daily makes a case against budget cuts

For weeks, media companies around the United States, from The Huffington Post to Buzzfeed, have been laying off workers in order to realign their business strategies with consumers trends. It’s hard to see hundreds of writers and editors without work and last Friday Feb. 1, North Texas Daily had to make a case against receiving more budget cuts.

“The financial crisis, reinventing, the pressure on what’s happening with the president, journalism being the enemy of the people; those attitudes can trickle down to our level with student journalism,” said Gary Ghioto, faculty advisor for the NT Daily.

During a student fee meeting between the Student Fee Committee and NT Daily staff on Friday afternoon, Ghioto, along with other members of the newspaper, made a defense as to why they should not receive more budget cuts. With similar newspapers laying off members of staff, there is more pressure for the NT Daily to succeed, especially when 15 percent of their budget was already cut last year.

“Another cut would mean that our staff would be paid less money and it would also mean that we would reduce the number of paid staff, which we already have to do with these cuts,” said Alec Spicer, Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily. “So we’ve really focused on how to take on more responsibilities. An example of staff taking on more projects would be the copy chief serving as a design editor as well as a copy editor for staff. It could be said that the roles at the NT Daily bring more experience to members despite budget cuts, but like any organization, members are needed to fulfill their mission.”

Ghioto has been the faculty advisor for the student newspaper for a couple years now. He said the publication has been a voice for students for over a century and that it plays a vital role in the university community.

“…the Daily is a real unique organization because it has so much responsibility,” said Ghioto. “It’s continuing the traditions of journalism and reporting here at the university. It also has the responsibility of giving a voice to the voiceless, being a watchdog on what's happening here, and the Daily staff takes that responsibility very seriously.”

Although Muhammad Kara, President of the UNT Student Government Association, was not present during last year’s budget meeting, he explained why the NT Daily had to endure previous budget cuts.

“When they [the Student Fee Committee] did a 14.6 percent cut, it wasn’t because they just felt they were going to cut the wages, they felt that those wages were not being utilized,” Kara said. “What’s more important is that we need to be very transparent and we need to make sure that the money is being used and it’s being used effectively. A lot of students struggle with paying for college and especially paying for tuition and fees. So having these meetings will add that accountability factor.”

The Student Fee Committee is an asset to UNT, just as the North Texas Daily is. Within the last year, the NT Daily has obtained 60,000 visitors to its website, with 100,000 page views and 400,000 shares on social media - all while needing more funds to pay for full- and part-time staff. Without needed funds from the Student Fee Committee, there may not be a North Texas Daily over the summer to create content for the UNT community and greater Denton community.

Header image via Unsplash.

Header design by Clarissa Baniecki.