We are overwhelmed by the generosity and sense of urgency that the Daily's alumni and supporters have shown. Thanks to all of you, we surpassed our goal of $7,000 within 9 days, averting any need to take on a loan of significant size.
We would like to harness this outpouring of support to build an even stronger paper. For that reason, we have decided to stretch our overall fundraising goal to $10,000. If we reach this amount by the end of June, we will place $2,000 into our Support Fund account, where it will be sequestered solely for the Daily's inclusivity initiatives. Further money raised will form a reserve fund. This will help us navigate short-term financial challenges over the next fiscal year and ensure that, even if revenue for certain papers falls short of expenses or unforeseen capital needs arise, we can still continue normal operations. After we achieve financial stability, we hope to use the remaining money to work on new projects that ensure the Daily's relevance in the digital age.
Once again, the Managing Board of the Daily would like to extend a sincere thank-you to everybody who has donated, forwarded our emails, shared our posts on social media, or lent their support to this effort in other ways. We are confident that, with your help, the Daily's future will be strong.
The Tufts Daily needs your help! We are launching this crowdfunding campaign to ensure the short- and long-term financial viability of Tufts’ campus newspaper of record.
Founded in 1980, The Tufts Daily has consistently been ranked amongst the top college newspapers in the country, and it is produced by a team of more than 175 dedicated staff writers and editors, making it one of Tufts’ largest student groups. The Daily’s mission is to inform our community and serve as a platform for conversation, while simultaneously offering our staff real-life journalistic experience.
At a time of political uncertainty and what some describe as a post-truth world, journalism has never been so important. This past year, the Daily facilitated conversations about Anthony Scaramucci’s relationship with Tufts despite legal threats from the short-lived White House Communications Director, helped uncover mistreatment of Tufts-affiliated staff, documented off-campus landlord abuses and the challenges of students with disabilities, and covered protests and union efforts, along with hundreds of other stories that captured a snapshot of everyday life at Tufts and helped students see the campus community in a different light.
We are asking for your help to ensure that we remain true to our core mission: providing quality independent journalism. As you may know, the Tufts Daily is financially independent. We do not receive any funding from the university or the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate, and we’re entirely reliant on advertising revenues to cover our expenditures.
Unfortunately, the Daily is not immune to the economic problems that plague the world of print journalism. Advertising demand dwindles to a new low every year as printing and distribution costs remain consistently high. To face this new reality, we’ve changed the way things work at our office in Curtis Hall over the past year, expanding our business team with an eye for off-campus ad sales, marketing, and online revenue.
Despite this, efforts to evolve our business plan were neither quick nor effective enough to face this new reality. As such, we will conclude the 2017-2018 fiscal year with a deficit of approximately $7,000. We are seeking your generosity to help us cover as much of that deficit as possible, and to stabilize the Daily’s finances for the next fiscal year.
We are being proactive at changing the way we operate to ensure that we are financially sustainable in the future. We are aggressively cutting costs and are rethinking the way we generate revenue. As such, we want to be fully transparent about what it takes to run a daily newspaper of our size.
Our current and expected expenditures:
Next year, most of our savings will come from four major changes:
- Pausing print publication on Fridays, starting in the Fall. Friday is our lowest-readership day, and as a result, clients rarely choose to advertise. Temporarily moving Friday issues to an online-only format, with digital articles and a web-hosted layout, will significantly reduce costs while still allowing for timely and high-quality content.
- Re-evaluating delivery options. This past semester, our team has visited our more-than-45 delivery sites to gauge how many copies were and make our distribution system more efficient. We’ve realized that in some of our delivery locations, few papers were picked up. Our intention is to find underwriters for deliveries to the Medical School and the SMFA. We are still committed to serving and reporting on both of these schools, but modest production changes will make for large annual savings.
- Reducing circulation. We have reduced the number of copies we print every day from 1,500 to 1,025 after a university-wide readership survey that concluded that our previous circulation was excessive.
- Cancelling subscriptions. Subscriptions are a sizable portion of our costs, but as the Daily’s finances have tightened, we will learn to live within our means. For example, instead of subscribing to a premium photo wire, we will seek open-source images.
On the revenue side, we have made efforts to diversify our ad products this year by offering discounted bulk packages and doggedly pursuing off-campus businesses as potential clients. Next year, we are going to institutionalize this sales work, streamline the outreach process, and prioritize institutional clients. In addition, we have been preparing a brand new, more professional website, set for launch in the near future. With this, we will offer the Tufts community a better reading experience and increase online revenues by increasing the interactivity between the website and our readers.
In the immediate future, the Daily is working to secure a small zero-interest loan with TCU Treasury to cover our deficit, which would bring our balance to zero dollars at the beginning of the next fiscal year. While the loan would help keep the Daily afloat, it would also commit the Daily to repayment obligations for years to come and do little to ensure sustainability past July 1st.
Your generosity does more than help us start with a clean slate. It ensures that the Daily continues to provide the type of journalistic work that keeps the campus informed, enlightened, and occasionally outraged. It is a training ground for hundreds of students and a community on its own, but it also works to serve the Tufts community at large.