As a result of Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed 7.73 percent cut to Missouri’s higher education budget, each of Truman State University’s academic departments has been asked to cut back on expenses.
The Department of Communication will be asked to cut $20,000 for the 2018-2019 school year. The cuts to the communication department will come from the different budgets of the department like student media and forensics.
Administrators have not yet determined exactly what expenditures to cut or by how much, but Communication Department Chair Jay Self said the plan is not to eliminate any of Truman Media Network’s platforms. However, he said TMN will likely have funds cut for student payroll and the printing of The Index, its two biggest expenses.
“Both the department and the student media budgets are on the line, but more so the student media budget at this time,” Media Board Chair Mark Smith said.
TMN creates and distributes news and entertainment to the University and Kirksville through The Index, 88.7 KTRM, Detours Magazine, TMN Television and the TMN website. The Index, a weekly newspaper, was established in 1909. KTRM was established as a 3,500-watt FCC-licensed radio station in 1998. TMN TV, a series of broadcasts on campus and on local community access television, was called TruNews until 2007 and News 36 until 2013. Detours is a travel magazine published since 1996. Truman Media Network was created in 2013 by converging the four media outlets and adding a website.
TMN serves as an outlet for information and provides learning experiences for students interested in journalism and broadcasting fields.
“I think student media is essential,” Self said. “As a liberal arts institution, if we’re going to value civic engagement, there are two things we have to teach — rhetoric and journalism. You need those two things to have a functioning democracy — you need to be able to understand and make argument and analyze argument and refute argument. At the same time, in order to have argument, you’ve got to have good journalism.”
Smith said student media is crucial to any university because student media reports on campus life and serves as a watchdog, keeping the people informed. He said student media provides essential information for students as well as entertaining news.
Despite the cuts, TMN will continue to produce The Index in some fashion. While the communication department does not plan to eliminate any aspect of the organization, TMN will have less funding and will create content on a tighter budget.
Every department on Truman’s campus is faced with proposed budgets cuts and has managed to thrive despite them. The communication department and TMN are no different, but Truman has handled financial setbacks such as this in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
“[TMN’s future] is as bright as the students want to make it,” Self said.