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The Exponent, Baldwin Wallace University’s student newspaper, faces funding cuts

Staff members call for support to continue print publication
Courtesy of Baldwin Wallce
Baldwin Wallace University’s beloved student newspaper, The Exponent, turns to the community for support as their print edition faces an uncertain future due to financial deficits.

The Exponent, Baldwin Wallace University’s student-led newspaper, faces losing support from Baldwin Wallace University for the print edition of their newspaper. The editors of the paper learned of the potential cut to their operations through a screenshot of a redacted email sent to the club’s advisor. The email stated that university officials wanted to meet with the editorial board of The Exponent to discuss moving strictly to online publication if the cost of printing could not be covered by ads, donations and student fees.

Members of The Exponent’s editorial board met with university officials on Jan. 8. Alexis Watkins, executive art director of The Exponent and a senior at Baldwin Wallace, left the meeting without much assurance as to the future of the paper. Watkins stated that The Exponent was not given a savings goal or timeline for when changes to the paper’s funding would be altered. However, Baldwin Wallace’s board of directors is meeting on Jan. 26 to discuss the university’s budget. The loss of the print edition of The Exponent is tied to the $20 million deficit accumulated by the university between July 2022 and June 2023. The deficit was first reported by The Exponent.

If the university were to no longer financially support the print edition of The Exponent, the organization would need to fund its own printing and collaborate with local printing companies to decrease printing prices. Watkins explained that the organization began to work on developing the business side of the paper in previous semesters but did not realize that university support was no longer an option.

Simon Skoutas, executive editor of The Exponent, stated that community members are surprised by the possibility of losing an important campus institution. Speaking on the significance of The Exponent, Skoutas stated, “it’s a huge part of professional development, and will really harm our staff.”

Israel Gole, a staff writer at The Exponent, spoke of the difference between physical and digital media. “The print edition is valued a lot,” they said. “I feel like having us just be a digital-only news source would inhibit our role, especially in the Berea community.”

Gole is not the only member of the staff that feels the mission of The Exponent is inhibited by the potential loss of the print edition. Watkins emphasized the importance of the paper’s role within the Baldwin Wallace University community. Watkins said that students complete The Exponent’s crossword puzzles and some professors distribute print copies of the paper in class.

Recently, The Exponent began to distribute the paper to various cafes outside of campus, including Generations Senior Living of Berea, a local senior care facility. Watkins explained that The Exponent recently began sending reporters to Berea City Council meetings and covering many local issues. The close-knit community was a reason why Watkins decided to attend Baldwin Wallace, and she feels as though that sense of community may be lost with the discontinuation of the print edition of The Exponent.

While the future is uncertain for The Exponent, the staff is still looking to the greater community for support. The Exponent is currently holding a donation drive to raise money to continue their print publication. “The Berea and Cleveland communities are close, both Baldwin Wallace and Case are small, private schools,” Watkins said regarding why Case Western Reserve University students should support The Exponent. “Our type of connection is similar, and it is important to band together.”

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