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WOODLAND HILLS : College’s Prize Paper May Have to Fold

Pierce College’s award-winning school newspaper may cease publication next January due to budget problems, according to officials from the school’s journalism program.

The weekly newspaper, the Roundup, and the Bull, a magazine published by the school, cannot continue to survive on the money appropriated by the college, said Mike Cornner, an adviser to the Roundup.

“There comes a point where there is no point in doing it at all,” he said Tuesday. “We will not get in a position where we are going to trim it away and trim it away until the students are being defrauded.”

The Media Arts Department, which runs the journalism program, has asked the school for $20,000 for this fiscal year, Cornner said. But in a tentative budget, the school’s president has recommended to the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees that the department get no more than the $12,500 appropriated last year.

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It took about $36,000 to publish the newspaper and magazine last year, Cornner said. Advertising brought in about $20,000, while the student government donated about $4,000.

But the department cannot depend on advertising to make up any shortfall this year, because advertising revenues have fluctuated wildly in the past, Cornner said. Further complicating the picture, he said, is that the department has been forced to cut the number of issues and the number of pages in both publications, which creates a shrinking advertising base.

Mary Lee, president of Pierce College, said Tuesday that she believes the department may be talking about ceasing publication to pressure the administration into coming up with more funds.

“I am not going to be threatened by the press as to whether they are going to get their $20,000, because I am not ready to give an answer until I have weighed all the other considerations,” she said.

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“I do keep in mind that both the Bull and the Roundup are award winners, but we also have sports teams that are first in the state or first in the nation, such as tennis and volleyball,” she said.

She said she has recommended that all departments be funded at last year’s level until the final budget is completed. The Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the budget late this month.

Lee added that she has been monitoring enrollments in various classes in the school and has noticed that journalism classes on the average have a “very low enrollment.”

“Some classes have eight or nine students,” she said.

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The newspaper and magazine could probably resume publishing next fiscal year, but not without difficulty, said Joe Soccoccio, chairman of the Media Arts department, which offers an associate arts degree in journalism.

“You really get a flow of students going,” he said. “If you cut out a whole semester of students, it’s almost like starting all over again, because you lose all the students from the last classes, and you lose the students with the most experience.”

The news that the publications could fold saddened Roger Anderson, who was editor of a spring ’93 edition of the Bull that recently won the Associated Collegiate Press National Pacemaker award. The magazine was the only community college ever to be so honored, according to the school.

“Pierce College has dominated the competition for the last 20 years,” said Anderson, who is now a computer operator for Rocketdyne. “To see that program go downhill would really be a bummer.”

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