Volume 35 Number 10 Edmonton, Canada January 23, 1998


Gateway shrinks as U of A advertisers pull out

HUB Mall and Bookstores look to spend advertising dollars elsewhere

Folio Staff

Arts student Carrie Sutter with a
copy of The Gateway

U of A advertisers are canceling contracts with the student newspaper, The Gateway, because of its editorial content. Editor-in-chief Rose Yewchuk confirmed the newspaper lost the Hub Mall and Bookstores contracts because of offensive content. As a result, Gateway has fewer pages.

"Revenues are down as a whole," says Yewchuk who links the downward spiral to the high turnover of advertising representatives the newspaper has had. "Ultimately, I don't think it's our content that's a problem. I don't think Gateway is of poor quality." Yewchuk says there are two new people working in sales and they are still developing strategies.

Teresa Chambers, head of marketing at HUB International Marketplace, says it has become increasingly difficult to sell advertisements in The Gateway. Chambers says the mall has many merchants of different religious and cultural values and she cannot justify advertising in the student newspaper. While she admits the newspaper seems to have recently cleaned up, a recent 'joke' issue forced HUB to ban distribution of the paper in the mall. Meanwhile, she says she tells merchants to advertise in Vue Weekly instead, an alternative paper published in Edmonton.

Someone else unhappy with the level of swearing is advertising representative, Blake Johnson. "It makes my job really difficult. If the words are context-appropriate, I don't have a problem with it. But if you're swearing for swearing's sake, what's intelligent about it?" Johnson says until U of A students make it clear they want change, it will be difficult to change the editorial content of the student newspaper. "Our goal is to make it better. What can we do to help them make better decisions?" Bookstore director, Julio Picheca, says due to a reduced advertising budget this year, the Bookstore is "being selective.and looking at other vehicles for advertising."

Student president, Steve Curran, says the situation is under review. Curran says the decline in ad revenue has been occurring for the last several years. "This did not happen overnight. The Gateway did not suddenly become 'anti-advertiser,' " says Curran.

Still, a motion at a recent student council meeting to change the by-law and make the newspaper a 16-page publication as a minimum was defeated. Curran says council was not convinced student dollars should regularly prop up The Gateway in order to save pages.

He would like to see greater feedback, and more teeth, given to the Gateway Advisory Committee, made up of the students' union, students-at-large, and members of the off-campus community, including media people.

"The 'joke' issue is supposed to run through the committee before it's published. And it hasn't gone through."

Meetings with Gateway staff, the students' union, HUB and the Bookstore are ongoing.

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