Skip to main content

Voting opens on Pack Life on March 13 at 8 a.m. to March 14 at 5 p.m.

Read the FAQ on the student media fee here.

Save Student Media Vote 'Yes' on Question one March 13 @ 8 am to March 14 @ 5 pm
Design by Brooke Germain

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever spent $20 on? Maybe it was getting your haircut at Great Clips instead of a professional salon. Or, it was a meal on campus that gave you horrible food poisoning. Perhaps, it was buying a pair of jeans without trying them on and they didn’t fit when you got home. 

Regardless, humans shell out $20 almost every day now, sometimes multiple transactions of $20, and many of them frivolous, some very important; but, I promise the $20 that will be added to your University of Nevada, Reno tuition if you vote ‘yes’ on question one will be a very important one.

This past December UNR student media organizations — The Nevada Sagebrush, Wolf Pack Radio, Brushfire Literature and Arts Journal and Insight Magazine — are putting forth a ballot measure to students which is proposing a $1.29 credit fee (which means for every one credit taken a $1.29 is added onto the end) to help fund all four student media. For the average 15-credit UNR student, this would cost them $19.35 per semester — so, less than $20.

Student credit fees are not a new concept and UNR already has them in place to fund other campus organizations. The Associated Students of the University of Nevada student credit fee is $6.10 per credit, which rounds out to $91.50 for 15 credits, and the technology fee is $9 per credit, making it $135 for the semester. And the registration fee? That one is $262.50 per credit, you do the math there. These fees are involuntary, tacked onto the end of your tuition and sometimes, invisible. 

This proposed credit fee for student media is a student-run measure. We too understand how important and how tight cash can be as a college student. Which is why we are giving the power back to you. Students can vote on whether or not they want this measure in place on March 13 at 8 a.m. to March 14 at 5 p.m. on Pack Life. A vote ‘yes’ means saving student media, helping fund student worker positions, expanding more student worker opportunities on campus and securing the legacy student media has held on campus for over 130 years.

We hope like hell you vote ‘yes’, but if not we just hope you’re informed on what student media has been going through these past few years.

So, you didn’t know student media needed saving

If you have not been paying attention since last year, to put it frankly, The Nevada Sagebrush is at a severe risk of dying. Year after year we have had to cut student worker positions to accommodate for our consistently shrinking budget and only offer stipend positions — not hourly. Currently, we have 12 people on staff and we only spend $18,000 on wages every year. Our overall operating budget is around $30,000

As Executive Editor I get paid the highest wage at “7 hours per week, $11.25 per hour” — and  I put that in quotations because I work an extraordinary amount more than that.

Now, remember I make the highest wage, people still make lower than me, and little change can be made because, again, we continue to shrink. Many people on staff work two or more jobs.

Aside from the wages half, our operating costs are incredibly low; we can no longer print due to exorbitant costs after the northern Nevada printing press shut down, we cannot travel to increase our guise, nor can we apply for awards due to fees, our equipment is outdated — all of our photographers and multimedia personnel rent their equipment — and can barely afford to buy anything outside of our normal operating budget (our staff just got Sagebrush merchandise for the first time this year). 

The reason for these cuts is the reason universities at large are making cuts: the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. As for us, advertising revenue is extremely down, as well as donors due to their own personal finances. 

Aside from just the Sagebrush, the remaining three have dealt with budget cuts due to ASUN’s  — their only form of funding — recent budget woes and senators personal agendas. In 2022, two senators sought to completely cut the Brushfire budget saying “nobody reads it” and hoped to use the extra funds to have more concerts. 

I write this not as a “woe is me” case study, but rather a warning for the students of UNR. Currently, students are unable to imagine a life without student media, but in two years, they might have to.

In 2023 and 2024 alone, we have put out groundbreaking coverage that has been quoted statewide and nationally. For those who do not have the time to go through and look at our website or posts on social media here is a quick list:

  • Jaedyn Young’s Fei Fei Fan coverage has been the most comprehensive coverage and has been used by Fan herself to give background to her story. Additionally, she was the first to name Yanyao Jiang in a news article.
  • Subsequently, Zoe Malen’s Fan and Title IX protest stories are currently hung up on the third floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center.
  • Young and I’s coverage of Erick Jones, dean of the College of Engineering, was the first story published on the matter and was also quoted by Retraction Watch, a highly trusted blog that tracks scientific retractions.
  • We have the only coverage of ASUN senate meetings.
  • Our Spanish Language Editor Jaqueline Lopez translates multiple stories per week to reach a wider Spanish-speaking audience.
  • Our Sky Russell coverage was one of the only news sources to use their proper pronouns, correct ourselves and had members of their family reach out thanking us for our comprehensive and sensitive coverage.
  • Our coverage of the SWAT incident last year was the first story put out on the matter and quelled all of the rumors of an active shooter on campus.
  • We created two different podcasts, The Sagebrush Spotlight and Talking Pack, which posts every week so people can get their news in a different format.

We talk about transparency and accountability a lot, but what does that really mean? The  examples and stories listed above are the perfect example of those two words.

Working at the Sagebrush gives us a lot of privilege and power to make relationships with important people on campus. I do not know many people who Brian Sandoval can call out by name, or be called out in class for working at the Sagebrush. At the Sagebrush, we have the capacity to break down walls and delve into university secrets because of the relationships we have.

If any of these stories have had an impact on you, that stands as a reason to keep us around and vote ‘yes’. The money for this media credit fee will make an impact and be the most important $20 in your tuition.

Emerson Drewes

Emerson Drewes (she/her) is currently a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno. Before assuming the editor-in-chief position in March 2022, she served as the Assistant News Editor and News Editor, respectively. She has completed internships at The National Judicial College, Las Vegas Review-Journal and, most recently, Los Angeles Times. In her free time she enjoys good movies and bad television shows.

Leave a Reply