For the last 64 years, Drexel University has been a one-newspaper school. But this fall The Triangle, the weekly student newspaper which formerly had a monopoly on the Drexel campus, is no longer the school's only student-run paper. At least for now. The competition comes from the The Disseminator, a new weekly that is run by several former Triangle staffers out of a student's off-campus apartment. Unlike its older counterpart, which comes out on Fridays, The Disseminator is an independent paper. The new "underground" newspaper, as some have called it, has not received any support from the administration. In fact, said Susan Tabutt, former Triangle news editor and now Disseminator managing editor, over 900 copies of her new paper were thrown away by Diana Hackney, Drexel dean of students, at Drexel's activities fair two weeks ago. Hackney would not accept phone calls concerning the student newspapers. The two weeklies must compete for readership, staff members and, probably most important, advertisers. But editors of both insist they are here to stay, and for now, Drexel students have two papers to choose from. · The Disseminator was started this summer after Drexel's administration closed down The Triangle because of financial problems -- the newspaper was $53,000 in debt to the university. The Triangle's budget for this year will be about $100,000. Although the The Triangle is independently funded, mostly by advertising, the university provides it with an account from which managers made deposits and withdrawals. Administrators discovered in July that the weekly had overdrawn substantially on its account, and shut the paper down. The newspaper amassed the debt after it stopped billing some of its advertisers. Current Triangle Executive Editor Bob Pritchett said that no one at the paper knew who was responsible for billing. As far as he knows, he said, "there was a lot of confusion." Faced with the possibility of halting publication, some Triangle staff members began planning to open another newspaper, Tabutt said. And sure enough, two days after The Triangle closed, students put together the Disseminator's four-page premier issue -- using two Macintosh computers borrowed from the editors' friends and a hard disk drive borrowed from a former Triangle editor. The new newspaper comes out on Wednesdays. Junior Gary Rosenzweig, formerly entertainment editor of The Triangle, is editor-in-chief of The Disseminator. Tabutt said the new paper has a staff of about 15 students. The paper is headquartered in Tabutt's off-campus apartment. Editors use computers in the university's computer center for production, but Tabutt said the paper hopes to buy computers with earnings from advertisers. The new weekly's name comes from the idea that "the dissemination of information is a truly noble task, it enlightens the mind and enobles the soul," Tabutt said. The paper, which will publish its eighth issue today, contains hard news, features, sports and entertainment stories. It does not proclaim to have any particular target group or political leanings -- editors said they plan to cover Drexel just like The Triangle does. · The Triangle returned to campus two weeks ago, run by Pritchett, who is in his third year at Drexel. He said he heads a staff of about 25 writers and editors. In order to avoid another financial blunder, this year an adviser from Drexel's Office of Student Life will oversee The Triangle's business operations. And students who work in the business department have been through training. University officials have worked out a plan with the newspaper for repayment of the debt, which Vice President for Student Life Richard Wooldring said should take two to three years to erase. Pritchett said that an editorial in The Triangle's first issue sums up his feelings on sharing the campus with another newspaper. The editorial, titled "There's plenty of room on the block," praised Disseminator staffers for their dedication to the idea of free press, and said that a second paper is a welcome addition to a community of diverse ideas and interests. Although The Disseminator comes out earlier in the week than The Triangle, editors of both papers said that they expect to beat the other in printing news stories. But they also said that both papers will probably report each story from a different angle. But Pritchett criticized the new weekly for wanting to "have it both ways" -- using university phone and mail service and still declaring itself independent. Still, Disseminator staffers do consider their newspaper independent. Tabutt said that even though Drexel's administration does not read The Triangle before it goes to press, it still obviously "has the right to close it down." "The main difference is really a difference in attitude," Tabutt said. "We are the paper for the students, not the university's paper." But Pritchett said his paper makes its own financial and editorial decisions, and is therefore also independent from the university. Tabutt also charged that administrators selected the current Triangle editors. But Pritchett said that no selection was necessary, because each editorial slot was sought by only one person.Comments powered by Disqus
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