The Muse seeks to raise levi in referendum
09 Mar, 2010
Today I noticed a friend had posted a link to “Vote No” on The Muse’s levi referendum. It had sparked quite a bit of discussion on the issue. This was my two cents:
Unfortunately The Muse has no control over their rates to their consumers when they need to cope with inflation.
In order to remain a free publication for the student body The Muse needs to collect fees from the students and from advertisers (and semi-new by-laws prevent their biggest advertisers, like Molson, from advertising).
The Muse has been collecting a small $2 levi fee from students dating well back beyond the time when I started working there (2002). A lot has changed since then.
I remember the revenue from levi fees during my time was barely enough to scrape by. I can only imagine the financial struggle they have now.
If you do not like The Muse, don’t read it. But don’t actively seek to financially dissolve the only student paper over $2 per semester.
If you want to kick a fuss over fees for a service you do not use (I am speaking generally here) then kick a fuss over the mandatory $40 Field House Rec Fee. Most students don’t use it.
But most students do read The Muse, at least occasionally.
I think it would do you good to see the conditions many of these volunteer writers are working in. Drop into The Muse office on the second floor of the UC and check out their outdated computer systems and decrepit furniture. I know I wouldn’t find it very motivating. A few dollars could go a long way.
I also find “an increased budget will improve the quality of the writing” troubling. The students that do actually get paid at The Muse have to live and breath that paper day in and day out to keep it flowing on the stands. They have no time for other jobs and I know first hand how the workload can affect academics.
Their small honorariums have to go to pay for a meager cost of living. This is especially hard since in the past couple of years the cost of living in St. John’s has essentially matched the cost of living in a big city like Toronto.
On the flip side, these have become troubling times for print newspapers because of the internet’s overwhelming efficiency and speed in spreading news.
Many other publications are changing their business models to cope with the changing information world. I would like to see what initiatives The Muse has taken on in an effort to adapt.
If they do get the additional levi, I hope they have plans to do something creative and new as well.