Last week, after offering the paper for free to all students for at least 10 years, Associated Students, Inc. ended its contract with The Fresno Bee.
Even though negotiations with The Bee came down to the newspaper compromising to lower the price to 15 cents for 400 papers, ASI unanimously voted to cut ties with The Bee and is now looking for new alternatives for its readership program.
This means that the senator for the arts and humanities also agreed to end the readership program with The Bee. We believe the student leader from the College of Arts and Humanities should stick to promoting media, and not voting against it, especially when that college houses the journalism department.
The ASI senate singularly made the decision. They did not bring it to a vote with their constituents – students. This is an executive decision we believe should be reversed. Our reasons are the following:
Students in the media, communications and journalism department are amongst the students affected by this decision. Staffers at The Collegian look to The Bee for industry learning and this decision makes it harder for them to pick up a paper or perhaps get unlimited access to the news online. Faculty might have also used The Bee in their classes.
ASI reportedly is planning to use their readership program to contract larger newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Supporting those papers does nothing to stimulate our local economy, and how much local or Fresno State news is likely to appear in those publications? Why is student government opting out of supporting local business?
Also, The Bee is a staple of the community, going so far as to sponsor events in the city for the community and at Fresno State.
Now more than ever, local newspapers are suffering and rely on large accounts like that of Fresno State’s to boost business. Why would ASI vote to end that support? How many ASI members actually read The Bee?
There are many questions that arise from ASI’s decision. But we believe that their decision to end negotiations with the largest newspaper in the region does not make sense.