Mind Your Business

Colin Donohue


The table of contents from the Daily Evergreen’s rate card.

Soon at Elon, we’ll be converging our newspaper and newscast into one large, multi-platform student news organization. That’s the BIG move that’s happening over the next 10 months. The smaller dominoes that will also be falling as a result of this structural change will impact how our student media do business. We need to rethink how we generate revenue because starting the fall our business team will not just be serving the The Pendulum. It will be working for all of student media.

I attended The Business of Advising Thursday, which was led by Candace Baltz (Oregan State University) and Nicki Boudreaux (Nicholls State University), to get some ideas on how to make our business staff now and in the future more creative and efficient. Among the tips I’ll take with me:

  • Align some of your organizational goals with the university’s strategic plan. There could be possible grant opportunities.
  • Encourage alumni support. They’re always willing to donate time, but would any be able to donate money, as well, to help enhance student media operations?
  • Offer advertisers sponsorship opportunities for entire special sections.
  • Enhance the rate card to include advertising policies, sample sizes, terminology, circulation, readership statistics, publication dates, ad restrictions, special section opportunities, etc. The Daily Evergreen at Washington State University has a rate card that’s 16 pages long.
  • Sell advertising for puzzles and games, stickies, racks and community supported journalism. The latter option is intriguing. The Daily Evergreen would find businesses who would underwrite the cost of doing in-depth journalism.
  • Find your budget quota with this simple formula: Total $ needed/number of editions=quota per edition.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.45.03 PMThanks to Candace and Nicki for some great ideas. At Elon, revenue has been drying up for years. We need to be more creative in how and where we sell advertising and generate revenue. The community supported journalism option that WSU sells is wildly intriguing. I’m wondering if we can pull that off at Elon. It’s worth a try, certainly.

The ideas are spinning. The next step? Finding students to run this business team. No big deal, right?

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