- EphBlog - http://ephblog.com -

Future of the Williams Record

The Williams Record is in financial trouble. Consider:

As we have reported, the Record has been accumulating a deficit over the last several years due to flagging ad and subscription revenue as well as overspending from previous boards. It is important to us that our peers know that this irresponsible overspending on things like food, alcohol and banquets occurred under previous editorial boards that were uninformed of their financial situation. The Controller’s Office brought the debt to the Record editorial board’s attention for the first time last fall. As soon as we were made aware of the debt, we instated aggressive cost-cutting measures and revenue campaigns. The Record is dedicated to turning over a new leaf and attaining financial sustainability, if given the chance.

Comments:

1) More background articles here, here and here. (Feel free to pull out highlights and add them in the comments.)

2) I assume that other college papers face similar problems. Can anyone (hwc?) provide background?

3) It would be nice to know more of the details of the Record’s spending. Perhaps new editor-in-chief Kaitlin Butler ’11 can clue us in? Without understanding any details, my guess would be that the easiest way to cut spending would be to decrease the production run and/or publish on a day (or with a delay) that caused the printer to give us a discount. The Record does not really need to print 2,000 copies. Students in the dining hall are happy to make due with someone else’s issue. If the printer provides a cheaper rate for week-end runs or a two day delay, then the Record should take advantage of that.

4) The best way for the Record to solve its problems is to grow its revenue via on-line advertising. Recall our discussion of Chad Orzel’s $3,000 annual income from blogging. Chad e-mailed me with some details on his traffic:

There’s some traffic information in this post from January. Averaged over the lifetime of the blog, I’ve gotten 67,000 hits/month. That’s pulled up a bit by a couple of occasions when I was linked by one of the really big sites, but not too far off my current level of
traffic.

The Record could easily generate this level of traffic. Doing so — and dealing with ad agencies, comment threads and all the other difficulties of an on-line publication — would require a bunch of work, but that work would be highly educational for the Record staffers who undertook it. EphBlog would be willing to collaborate with them.

Can anyone explain the economics of blogging? How do 67,000 hits per month turn into $3,000 per year? (Or is it that the VC backers behind ScienceBlogs are hemorrhaging money?) By the way, Orzel’s traffic is very similar in size to EphBlog’s traffic.

5) Please help me improve the Record‘s Wikipedia entry.

Facebooktwitter