Media groups denied funds

By Marc Larocque

To the dismay of two new student media groups, the Budget Review Committee (BRC) denied them capital equipment funding earlier this week.

Both groups wanted one thing: a computer to centralize their publication operations.

The Northeastern Patriot, a student-run conservative publication, and Tastemakers, a student-run music industry magazine, were both denied funds for computers based on inexperience.

Stephen Asay, chairman of the Media Board Finance Committee, sent a message to members of the Media Board last week informing them of the decision, with a rational that both groups are “needing more time to ‘prove’ themselves.”

But Clara Rice, founder and editor of Tastemakers, sees the equipment funding denial as an impediment for the magazine to prove its merit in the first place.

“It’s hard to grow as an office and student group when you work off people’s personal laptops,” Rice said. “When you work off of people’s laptops, it seems like those people are solely in charge. But to become an official publication we want to have organization property so students can always have a place to come to work, learn and see their article through the editing process.”

At the end of the spring semester, Tastemakers made a request for the BRC to fund a MacPro with a 20-inch screen and “the basic settings.” This was the standard computer choice, Sandra Miller, assistant director of student media, told Tastemakers, and suggested they should request the BRC allocation.

The cost of the computer suggested to the groups cost was under $3,800, said Dave Moberg, editor in chief of The Patriot. With computers funded by the BRC, the student groups would have access to publication software, which the university owns.

But the equipment request, one of four allowed to the entirety of student groups in Media Board each year – was rejected last week and Tastemakers will now appeal the decision.

The Patriot will also appeal the decision. They have been borrowing a computer from the Cauldron, the student yearbook group, to publish their newspaper.

The Cauldron, Moberg said, was the only group granted funding for a capital equipment request for another computer, in addition to the one they’ve lent to The Patriot. The Spectrum, a student literary magazine, was denied funding along with The Patriot and Tastemakers, but because they already have adequate access to equipment, the BRC ruled.

“The BRC should put its money where its mouth is,” Moberg said. “If they are going to approve and recognize our budget, which they did, they should give us some equipment. We aren’t asking for the world here.”

The two burgeoning media groups are both unfamiliar with the appeals process, but plan to learn, looking for any way to allocate a group computer.

Members of the BRC refused to comment on this issue.

Student Government Association President Joey Fiore suggested the student groups may have been denied as more of a formality than a lack of merit.

“There is a cap on budgeted groups that they can only go up ten percent every year,” Fiore said. “I think the reason they were denied was because whatever equipment they asked for was over their limit.”

The whole situation confounds the computer-less media group leaders.

“I feel like there are computers all over the school everywhere,” Rice said. “It doesn’t seem right for us to be denied one when there are so many other groups with computers.”

Rice said the capital equipment fund denial is a disservice to the school, in which Tastemakers acts as experiential education for music industry majors.

“Music industry is a big major here, especially because of co-op and the big business,” Rice said. “We are close to New York. There are a lot of people and it is a very driven major.”

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