Photo: Karin Higgins/UC Davis

Student Newspaper Returns to Print

by | Nov 30, 2016 | Fall/Winter 2016-17, On Campus

A UC Davis tradition returned to campus this fall — print editions of The California Aggie.

The independent student newspaper resumed weekly printing after 2½ years of online-only editions, thanks to an $11.19 per-student annual fee passed by undergraduates last year.

The fee will provide $230,000 in annual operational funding — enough to enable The Aggie to print 30 issues this year, pay some of its staffers and hire a full-time professional business manager.

“I personally cannot wait to see students working on the crossword in the CoHo or reading The Aggie out on the Quad on a sunny day,” editor Scott Dresser wrote in the first back-to-print issue on Thursday, Sept. 22. “Cheers to print journalism!”

One of the oldest student newspapers in the state, The Aggie during its heyday published five days a week, covering its print and online operating costs with about $500,000 in annual advertising revenue. But that revenue stream evaporated as more advertisers moved to the less-costly internet, and the paper ceased printing in March 2014.

Last winter, Dresser and other Aggie editors and managers asked student voters to add $3.73 a quarter to their fees for five years to bring the print paper back.

The “Print the Aggie” initiative was the second attempt in three years to pass a fee to support the paper. A similar measure in winter 2014 received the needed majority of those voting, but failed because of lower-than-required voter turnout.

To get out the vote this time, Dresser and his staff campaigned hard — setting up tables on the Quad, speaking to classes and clubs, and meeting with students. They also printed a 100th anniversary issue.

The measure passed, squeaking past the required 60 percent with 61.53 percent voting yes and surpassing the 20 percent voter requirement with 21.68 percent.

“There are so few times you have the opportunity to create tangible, lasting impact on a community,” said Dresser, a senior double-majoring in political science and economics. “It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done—and the most rewarding.”

Sofia Molodanof, a third-year English major and an Associated Students of UC Davis senator, had never seen The Aggie in print before this year but welcomed its return.

“The paper is a great way to let students take a break from their schoolwork, and also their phones and laptops, which we are normally glued to all day,” Molodanof said. “I believe going back into print will have a positive effect on the campus.”