THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Friday, October 25, 1996 TAG: 9610250065 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E13 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY EMILY HEIL CAMPUS, CORRESPONDENT DATELINE: CHARLOTTESVILLE LENGTH: 78 lines
DUSTY BOUND VOLUMES in the basement of the University of Virginia's Peabody Hall contain 17 years of back issues of the University Journal. It's a veritable time capsule of university life: protests, hirings, firings; everything from Student Council elections to last year's legendary Florida game.
But since last month, there have been no new entries in the volumes.
The student newspaper ceased publication last month, citing a large debt to its publisher, Media General. Josh Barney, editor-in-chief, has vowed to resume regular publication after the paper raises more money.
Until August, the University Journal had been a daily newspaper. With its closing, U.Va. has lost the distinction of being one of the few universities with two campus dailies. The other is the Cavalier Daily.
``I think it's a great loss that the paper shut down,'' said Raymond C. Bice, university history officer. ``It was high on my brag list that we had two student dailies. It was quite a feather in Virginia's cap.''
Jan Childress, president of College Media Advisors, a national organization based in Texas, said: ``It's like what we've seen happening in major cities. Many cities now only have one major paper.
``Losing one of two competing papers is losing competitive spirit, which is especially rare for a university to have.''
In August, the University Journal went from a daily format to publishing three times a week to cut costs. But that wasn't enough to keep the paper alive. Its last regular issue was Sept. 16.
Today it plans to print a special Family Weekend edition. But Barney has not set a date for when the University Journal would resume regular publication.
The University Journal is an independent newspaper and does not get funding from the university.
Barney declined to comment on the debt, but he said the paper is planning fund-raising efforts, including raffles and a benefit concert. A press release issued by the University Journal on Sept. 18 said the paper will start up again after it raises $150,000 to cover its debt and establishes an emergency fund.
Robin Quillon, publisher of the Culpeper Star-Exponent, the Media General paper where the University Journal was printed, also declined to discuss the financial problems.
The paper, founded in 1979 as an alternative to the Cavalier Daily, first was published under the name U.Va. Daily. It changed to the University Journal in 1980. In its 17-year history, it grew from a one-page typewritten sheet to a 6- to 10-page publication.
Both Barney and Kate Kofteci, the editor-in-chief of the Cavalier Daily, said each paper offers a unique perspective to their readers. ``While we might cover the same stories, they were always written differently,'' Kofteci said. ``Even if we agreed on an editorial issue, it was always a different voice. I think our goals were pretty much the same.''
There was at least one difference: While the Cavalier Daily prints a section featuring national and world news, the University Journal printed only stories relating to the university.
``We're solely focused on U.Va.,'' Barney said. `The UJ is a student paper for students, by students and about students.''
Many students said they picked up free copies of both papers at stands throughout the university. The University Journal estimated its circulation at 8,000 and the Cavalier Daily at 10,000.
``Sometimes they overlapped,'' said Diana Castle, a junior who says she read both papers. ``But they covered stories differently, and if you really wanted to find out about an issue from both sides, you could read both.''
But some students said they didn't see the need for two campus papers. ``They had pretty much the same information,'' said Gene Chae, a junior. ``A lot of the time I just picked up whatever was around.''
Kofteci said it would be a loss not just to readers, but to budding student journalists. The University of Virginia does not have a journalism or communications department, so many students join staffs of student publications to gain media experience.
``I think this has a tremendous adverse impact on this campus,'' said William Harmon, the university's vice president for student affairs. ``Students who might have gotten involved with print journalism now might not.'' MEMO: Emily Heil is a sophomore at the University of Virginia from
Onancock. by CNB