The Scarlet and Gray Free Press, the financially embattled student newspaper at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, might have finally solved their funding woes with a little bit of outside help. Early this month, the Scarlet and Gray received funding from the Las Vegas Review Journal that will allow the paper, formerly known as the Rebel Yell, to produce content through end of the spring semester.
Through the newly approved plan, the Review-Journal will donate $40,000 to the student publication and will print the weekly newspaper for free. The first issue of the newspaper came out last Monday, Jan. 23.
“The student newspaper at UNLV has always been an important resource for the Review-Journal and all other news media sources in the valley,” said Keith Moyer, editor-in-chief of the Review-Journal in a story published earlier this month. “We felt it was important to help as we might in ensuring the newspaper’s doors remain open until it can get itself on better financial footing.”
Last school year, the newspaper received $86,000 from the Student Life Funding Committee to operate for the entire school year, but beginning in the fall the paper only received $31,000. After receiving less than half their normal funding, the former Rebel Yell was unsure of how it would operate through the fall semester.
Before 2012, The Scarlet and Gray Free Press, formally The Rebel Yell, was run through ad revenue and a percentage of student fees from the UNLV student government, the Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
In 2012, the CSUN president tried to gain control over The Scarlet and Gray Free Press’s editor-in-chief position. After the incident, the newspaper decided that in order to produce unbiased content, they had to separate from CSUN.
Without the CSUN funding, the newspaper relied solely on sales and ad revenue, but after transitioning from a bi-weekly newspaper to a weekly paper, saw a sharp decline in sales.
While the newspaper was drowning in funding issues, it was also trying to make a formal name change. Former Nevada Senator Harry Reid made a comment about the relationship between UNLV’s nickname, The Rebels, and the Confederate Army. The battle cry used by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War was called the “rebel yell.”
The editor-in-chief of The Scarlet and Gray Free Press announced the change in their name in November. The paper had been called the Rebel Yell for over 60 years.
While still trying to find sources of funding, the newspaper launched a donation drive to try to overcome their budget cuts. The Scarlet and Gray Free Press set the goal for the drive at $30,000 but have so far only raised $2,900.
Without the help of the Review-Journal, The Scarlet and Gray Free Press may not have been able to stay afloat throughout the entire spring semester. Though the Review-Journal will fund the newspaper throughout the semester, Cseke said she plans to diversity the paper’s revenue sources beyond advertising and plans to hire its first student fundraising director.
Rachel Spacek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.