By Taylor Sinclair
Since 1975, The Orion has been bringing student-written news to Chico and Chico State. It aims to keep the students informed of local issues while incorporating national news.
Mirroring a national trend, newspaper advertising has plummeted in the past few years and The Orion has found itself in significant debt. The paper has reduced this debt from $72,000 to $45,000 through a variety of cost-saving efforts over the past four years.
This year, the student-run newspaper is working its way toward paying off the remaining debt through fundraising, advertising and help from Chico State’s Instructionally Related Activities fund.
Past IRA funding to The Orion has been used to help fund student stipends and printing costs. Printing costs total more than $40,000 a year, and the money raised from advertising and fundraising is put toward paying off the debt.
This school year, IRA funding for The Orion will be substantially increased. The student-run IRA board agreed last spring to provide The Orion $104,000 this year to reduce the remaining debt and pay for printing and stipends.
Mark Plenke, The Orion’s faculty adviser, thinks that the IRA’s help will put a big dent in the debt this year.
“That’s not optimistic, it’s realistic,” he said.
Other efforts are being implemented toward helping pay off the debt. A tax-deductible donation button can be found on The Orion’s website. When clicked, the button takes you to a letter from fall 2016 Editor-in-Chief Jenice Tupolo, explaining why one should donate to the newspaper. At the bottom of the page is a large, red “Donate Now” button that will take you to a page where you can fill out donation information.
“The Orion cannot rely on funding from advertising anymore to keep the limited budget afloat,” Tupolo said in the donation letter. “We are asking for a donation, big or small, to help us continue to build this legacy and pursue the ongoing goal of excellence in journalism.”
Along with the donation button, The Orion put on multiple fundraisers this fall. The first one took place at Buffalo Wild Wings, where students raised $452. There were also fundraisers at Woodstock’s Pizza and Chipotle. The Chipotle fundraiser gave 50 percent of the proceeds to The Orion.The Orion held fundraisers at restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and Chipotle.