The University Journal Temporarily Halts Printing Magazine due to COVID-19, Student Fee Cuts

University Journal

Because of budget constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Journal will not be printing its monthly magazine during the Fall 2020 semester.

The student media organization will continue to serve Southern Utah University students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the Cedar City community, with daily breaking news about and around the college.

The University Journal’s coverage will shift to a strictly online format at until the end of 2020.

Since the dot-com boom in the late ‘90s, journalism has proven to be a rapidly-evolving field, something the University Journal is familiar with.  The paper ran a twice-a-week print edition before moving to a weekly version in 2012-13. Before the 2017-18 school year, the University Journal transitioned to a monthly magazine, which ran concurrently until this semester.

The economic effects of the pandemic have been felt at universities across the country, including SUU. The state legislature informed the school of a $1.2 million reduction in Education and General Funding in June, a 2.5% reduction from the anticipated total. 

Expenses incurred on previous projects, hiring new faculty who agreed to contracts before the year began and other impacts of SB5001 on the Online Teaching and Learning department left the school with $5.3 million worth of budget cuts to make before the school year.

Despite the shortfall in funding, the university reduced student fees during fall semester by 40% to financially assist students as they returned to campus.

The University Journal, which receives the bulk of its funds from student fee payments, suffered a significant monetary setback because of the reduction in student fees. 

However, the SUU News staff have expressed desire to continue to provide essential journalism at SUU to hold leaders accountable and provide a voice for the voiceless.

“It has always been our goal at the University Journal to achieve excellence in presenting information that the student body needs,” said Hayden Coombs, director of operations for the University Journal. “It doesn’t matter if we are printing magazines or newspapers, or posting stories on our website, our goal remains the same.”

Coombs expressed gratitude for the support and trust SUU administration has offered since he took control of the University Journal and three years ago.

“Journalism truly is a noble calling, and the SUU News staff is dedicated in carrying forth the banner of truth and will continue to approach their duties of this trust with respect and fervor,” Coombs said.

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Story and photo by: Connor Sanders