ASI strips Fresno Bee daily newspaper from campus

(Megan Trindad/The Collegian Archive)

Fresno State students will not be picking up a print copy of The Fresno Bee daily newspaper on campus any time soon this fall.

The Associated Students Inc. confirmed last Friday that it has decided to discontinue the subscription due to the cost.

Last academic year, ASI President Blake Zante said ASI was paying for 1,200 daily newspapers at 9 cents each. Zante said The Bee asked for 38 cents per paper for the same amount this year. ASI then asked for a lower price: 15 cents for 400 papers, Zante said.

The paper was provided free to the campus community.

“When we presented it to the Senate, they decided that they did not want to proceed with this deal,” Zante said.

The Senate voted 8 -7 to discontinue the contract.

Last Friday was the last day The Bee was circulated at Fresno State. Zante said negotiations will continue to see if a new deal can be reached.

During Wednesday’s meeting, ASI Executive Vice President Brandon Sepulveda said ASI’s budget for the “readership program” is $18,000. He said ASI intends to explore online subscriptions and possibly strike subscription deals with larger newspapers.

“The business school, they often ask their students to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, and I believe Arts and Humanities appreciates the New York Times for their arts coverage,” Sepulveda said.

Newly-elected ASI Sen. Cody Sedaño, who said he reads The Bee daily and believes in freedom of the press, voiced opposition to continuing the contract.

In a video from ASI’s Sept. 6 meeting, Sedaño said, “It’s 2017. We could get news for free on our phones.”

At one point, questioning the ASI’s stance on sustainability, Sedaño referred to The Bee subscription as “24-hour trash,” and saying “as soon as the next day comes, whatever is left over is trash.”

In an interview with The Collegian last Friday, Sedaño admitted he was “a little emotional when I was speaking.”

But, he said, he still believes the print newspaper is not a sustainable investment for ASI. He also listed his belief that there is an increase in advertising content in newspapers and his dislike of the proposed price hike by The Bee as reasons for voting against renewing the contract with Fresno’s largest newspaper.

Zante said ASI could still negotiate a contract with The Bee. Or, he said it could offer students a free online subscription to the local paper. But the free online subscription is also not available to students anymore.

A meeting date ASI and The Bee has not been set.

The Collegian has reached out to the The Fresno Bee’s Audience Development Department for comment and are waiting for a response.

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