Exeposé News online (25 March 2014)
Leeds Student, one of the UK’s most active student newspapers, may be forced to stop printing due to lack of funding.
The weekly publication, founded in 1970, recently announced a “funding crisis” stemming from the Leeds University Union’s failure to raise the funding to cover printing costs. Leeds Student is funded partly through advertising and partly by the LUU, yet a shortfall of £5200 has been declared, owing to the LUU’s failure to meet advertising targets.
LS has told readers that the LUU, which in previous years has covered the costs in cases of advertising shortfalls, has this year refused to do so, with “no assurances” having yet been given about future funding for LS.
The society responsible for LS told readers that the current financial situation has meant the funds for printing have had to come out of an account made up of students’ membership fees, usually reserved for day-to-day costs such as travel expenses and which ”should never be used for printing costs”.
The announcement has triggered outrage from students and societies, with an online petition being set up by student Kyle Hulme to help secure the future of LS. The petition, entreating LUU to “fulfill their pledge and provide the rest of the funding” has at the time of writing already received over 1000 signatures.
Societies including RAG, Snowriders, MedSoc, JSoc and Leeds Labour Students have come out in public support of the newspaper, which announced on Saturday: “we value our readers and thank all those who have come out in support of the paper.”
LS is currently seeking to collaborate with the LUU and receive a long-term funding guarantee, informing readers it is “open to all proposals to ensure that the paper can not only to survive, but to expand and improve so that it can remain at the forefront of student journalism.”
Former comment editor James Legge and current writer for The Independent, stated: “It would be a massive shame if the paper closes”, adding “I know I wouldn’t be a journalist if I’d never started at LS. To lose an outlet like that is likely to damage the chances of lots of students.”
Greg Sturge, activities officers for the LUU, said: “There have not been any cuts to the funding that Leeds Student newspaper receives from the Union”, emphasising instead the need to “work harder together to secure further funding from external advertisers to ensure that the paper can print until the end of the year as planned.”