By Christopher Shaddock
In retrospect, I probably should have talked about this sooner. But if I am being honest, it is frustrating and hard to talk about without me feeling emotional.
This semester, I have had people ask me if The Minstrel is still active, and I really cannot blame them for asking that. This is our first issue of the semester, and it is coming out in March. School has been going on for about a month and a half now, last year the paper would have been working on its third issue.
First off, The Minstrel is still kicking, it is just a little stiff these days.
For a while now, The Minstrel has printed 14 issues every school year. That is an issue every two weeks, with seven issues for a semester. As of now, The Minstrel will be printing eight issues every school year; four in the first semester, with around three to four weeks between each issue. This is not something we can really control. We simply cannot afford to print the amount of issues we previously paid for.
Our printer and distributor is a company called Times News. For a while, we had a pretty good printing deal with them. Every issue was around $350, which for 14 issues would add up to $4,800 per year. But in mid-October, prices changed. Now, the price to print an issue is around $850 dollars, and to pay for 14 issues a year would cost $11,800, which is way past our budget from the school.
We tried finding other places to print, but other places either had the same prices or did not print in the same format that newspapers do. When that did not work, we tried to extend the budget from the school, but unsurprisingly, that did not work. In the end, and with not much choice, we went with printing eight issues a year.
It is upsetting for a lot of reasons. For me personally, I feel like a failure. There was nothing I could really do about this, but I still feel awful about it, and I cannot help but feel as if people see it as my fault. It is frustrating that the articles we print now lose a lot of their relevance, because some of the events that went on happened weeks before the issue got printed. We were making a lot of great strides the past few years and now it seems like we are going back down into a slump.
So, The Minstrel is not dead, we are just printing less issues. I would not say we are in the best of situations these days though. We have a shortage of members, which is not a huge problem right now, but it does put a lot of pressure on the staff. Additionally, most of our members are either seniors or juniors, with only two active sophomores. I am a junior, so I will be running the paper for the next year as well, and we should have enough people for next year, but I am not sure the paper will have enough people to function the year after that. The future might bring a couple more people, but if it is the same rate it has been for the past year, it will not be enough.
If there is really any one goal I want to accomplish for The Minstrel, it would be to get more people. It does not matter if you are good at writing or know anything about journalism, we can teach you how to do those things. It is surprisingly fun and satisfying to write these articles. I may be a bit biased in that statement, but I know the other staffers would agree. So, if any student is at all interested in writing for the paper please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Every school needs a newspaper, and I would hate for The Minstrel to go away.