UCI students approve fee to help newspaper

UC Irvine's campus newspaper will stay in print thanks to students who approved a new registration fee at the ballot box this week.

Staff of the New University student newspaper had been campaigning for a 99-cent per quarter fee to finance printing, warning that the paper could fold in a year otherwise.

They won a reprieve Tuesday.

More than 72% of student voters approved the fee, which amounts to about $3 per year per student.

"I definitely was glad to see that there's more support for us than I thought," said the newspaper's student editor Jessica Pratt.

She and other staffers were gathered at an election-night event when voting officials announced Measure U passed.

"We started screaming and cheering," she said. "It was great moment."

With Measure U, the paper has guaranteed funding from students while it tries to find a sustainable model in an environment where publications have suffered rising printing costs and declining ad revenue.

"We're still going to be working like we don't have a lot of money," Pratt said. "This revenue is basically going to cover printing costs and everything else is going into reserves."

Although Measure U won overwhelming support, it was just more than 100 votes away from failing.

To pass, the initiative needed 25% of all students to vote on the measure with 60% of those students voting in favor.

It reached the needed 25% by only 139 votes, but it reached the 60% approval handily.

"I'm so happy that people understand the importance of the campus newspaper and that they voted for us," Pratt said. "I just really want to extend my extreme gratitude because this paper means so much to me."

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