From the Editors: The Runner needs you

referendum

On February 7 and 8 please vote “yes” on the Runner’s referendum question to increase our publishing fee. We at the Runner hope to serve you better by creating video content, increasing our web presence, and publishing on a weekly basis. (European Union 2014 – European Parliament)

Ever since our founding in 2009, the Polytechnic Ink Publishing Society—which funds The Runner and Pulp, and which all current students are members of—has been operating on a budget of $0.75 per credit. With your vote, we’d like to increase this number by 20 cents per credit. Hypothetically, if you’re taking four courses when the fee change is approved, you would go from spending $9.00 on PIPS to $11.40.

Currently, PIPS receives about $230,000 per year from students, depending on enrolment. We project that our proposed fee increase would bring that number to around $290,000.

As time has gone on, The Runner has improved in every aspect. We deliver more content, faster, and of greater relevance to KPU students. We continue to publish around the calendar, we have live-streamed the last two KSA debates, and we even covered the 2015 federal election, interviewing almost every candidate from KPU campus ridings, and will be using the lessons we’ve learned in May for the B.C. election.

For financial reasons alone, The Runner has reached a limit of how much we can grow. We want to establish a new staff writer position dedicated to local, community stories. Producing video content and printing issues once a week are other pressing goals for our publication, as is having more capital available for funding Pulp and potentially new student publications.

But we simply can’t do that without a fee increase.

With a fee increase of 20 cents per credit, we estimate that we will be able to put out an extra 70 per cent in print content. Publishing once per week allows us to write about stories that would otherwise be “stale” and would give even more opportunities for our contributors to have a hand in the paper. That doesn’t even take video production into account, but it does make it an attainable addition to what we can offer KPU students.

One of the things that makes The Runner different from other student newspapers is that we pay our contributors very well. In order for us to increase our print while adding video without a fee increase, we would have to cut contributor pay drastically, which would be harmful to the quality of the paper. Since most of our contributors use the money from articles they write to supplement their incomes, it would be harmful and discouraging to suddenly take that away.

Furthermore, The Runner’s main job is to serve the KPU community. This means keeping the administration and the Kwantlen Student Association in check, and asking hard questions while also giving our readers a good picture of what’s going on around them. The other purpose of The Runner, and PIPS in general, is to give students an early entry into publishing and journalism. Many current and former contributors and staff have used their experiences to get internships and full-time jobs at various publications across Canada.

So what happens if our vote fails? The simple answer is that nothing will change. The Runner will continue the work as we have always done, delivering content at the same pace and in the same quantity. But a great opportunity for improvement will have been lost. So if you support what we at The Runner or Pulp do, vote “yes” to our referendum question during the KSA elections on February 7 and 8. You will not only be supporting us, you’ll be supporting everyone we feature in our pages both now, and in the future.

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