News | UPDATE: Funding crisis stops LS printing

News | UPDATE: Funding crisis stops LS printing

LS is in a funding crisis and we value our readers and thank all those who have come out in support of the paper. Our front page story was read and edited by two Union trustees prior to print. The initial statement put out by LUU was done without consultation of LS and was heavily amended following a meeting with the society.

LUU is responsible for the printing costs of LS newspaper. LS cannot continue printing because these costs have not been met by the Union. LUU gives LS newspaper a £20k grant and then agrees to bring in advertising to cover the rest of the printing cost. This advertising target has not been met in previous years, however LUU has footed the bill when this has happened. This year LUU has not offered this, despite once again falling short of its own target. LS has been invited to no meetings with the Union about its future and the society has been given no assurances. The LS advertising budget is currently in a better position than this time last year, prior to the introduction of the LSi supplement. LS would like to make clear that while its LSi supplement has cost more, this was counterbalanced by a cut in its print run of 1,000 copies. In real terms, its inclusion in the newspaper required £200 more advertising to be brought in each week – the equivalent of one quarter page advert every other week. LUU’s second statement has been published without consultation.

As the figures stand, the advertising brought in thus far by LUU would not cover the paper if it had remained in its previous format. LS is funded through two accounts – one controlled by the Union and one by the society. The society’s account is made up of membership fees paid by students. This account is reserved for the day-to-day costs of LS and should never be used for printing costs. However, due to the financial situation that the paper has been left in, two editions have come out of this budget. What this means concretely is that the society has lost the money it reserves for costs such as buying dictaphones and subsiding travel expenses for students who report/review events for the newspaper. Consequently, the paper’s current deficit will have long-lasting ramifications on the work of both this current team and the team of the newly elected Editor, Jasmine Andersson, as well as the society’s hundreds of members.

LUU receives a 50 per cent discount on internal advertising (e.g. adverts for Union bars, shops and events) and has the power to veto external advertising. LUU employs a member of staff to bring in advertising for LS, alongside other responsibilities. Despite unpaid LS student volunteers securing advertising funds in order to print, these efforts were rejected, as they do not fit in with LUU’s advertising policy, which prohibits adverts that LUU believes conflict with its existing establishments and services. This comes at a time when the election of the next LS editor has been side-lined from the Leadership Race, excluded from its promotion and marketing without explanation to the student body and without consultation of the society’s committee. This resulted in the LS Editor candidates receiving just over a thousand votes, compared to other positions, which received up to 8,000. LS values its relationship with the Union. This paper seeks to collaborate with LUU to put forward a broad re-thinking of funding policies, including changing policies regarding external advertising and/or increasing the non-advertising budget which the paper receives.

In the immediate LS cannot print until it has made up the deficit it has been left with. Unless this happens, there will be no more issues of LS this year. LS is open to all proposals to ensure that the paper can not only to survive, but to expand and improve so that it can remain at the forefront of student journalism. LS seeks a long term guarantee from LUU that it will continue to fully fund its student newspaper while supporting its independence as the University of Leeds’ only free weekly newspaper.

Please sign the petition to help secure the future of LS newspaper. Students, alumni and LUU: LS needs you to save your paper.

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/leeds-university-union-save-leeds-student-newspaper

Photo: Leo Garbutt

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