Advisers and Editors Center
Starting a School Newspaper on a Small Budget
This article deals specifically with the options you have for starting a school newspaper on a small budget. To read about what you need to start a newspaper, Click Here.
You have a small budget—or no budget at all. You think your school will benefit from having a newspaper, not to mention the skills students will learn in the important field of journalism. But you need money. Printing isn’t free and can be very costly if not calculated correctly.
To being with, we need to figure out what that budget is. To do that, you need to know what the expenses are.
Possible Start-up Expenses
- Computers – You can start with just one computer, but having more than one is preferable. You might be able to use the computer lab or the yearbook room for your newspaper club. If you have the resources available already, then this might be eliminated from your start-up expenses.
- Word Processing Software – Many design software packages allows you to write directly into their program. Unfortunately, they are not as powerful as dedicated word processing software is. If you can get around this, then great. Most computers now come with some sort of basic word processing software, so if you are willing to use those, then you can eliminate this from your start-up expenses.
- Design Software – If you use a cloud-based software, such as ours, then this is free and can be eliminated from your start-up expenses. Otherwise, you will need to spend anywhere between £80 and £800 for this software.
- Digital Cameras – This is to have your photojournalists take pictures. If your students have their own camera, then all the better if they are willing to use it. Nowadays, you can take decent images on your phones and tablets. This expense depends upon the quality of the images you need. If you are comfortable with images from a phone or tablet or if you can get a student to use a personal camera, then you can eliminate this expense from your start-up expenses.
- Printing Expenses – This is, hopefully, the only reoccurring expense you will have. Depending upon your needs, this can range anywhere from $75 to $1000…or more.
Reducing Your Printing Expenses
If you have a small budget, the first step is to see if you can reduce your printing expenses. There are several ways you can do this.
- Quantity – Determine what your ideal quantity is and then reduce it by at least 50%. Let’s say that there are 1000 students in your school. It would be great if everyone could get their very own copy, so the ideal quantity is 1000 copies (plus some for the faculty and staff). However, not everyone will read it and some only need a friend to have a copy. What would happen if you only printed 300 copies? Is this enough? I might be. Some copies can be left in communal rooms (cafeteria, library, teacher lounges). This allows for many people to read a single copy, thus expanding your reach but, at the same time, printing fewer copies. You could also give several copies to each classroom, so that they can be shared during moments of free time. As to the remaining copies, place them at locations that students can choose to take one or not. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, but the odds are, the vast majority of the student body will have access to one of the copies.
- Page Count – Another factor in your expense is your page count. Expense doesn’t go up much when you go from 4 to 8 pages for higher quantities, but once you make the jump to 12 pages, then the expense may shoot up. If you can keep your page count down to begin with, then you can save money.
- Color Versus Black and White – By far, black and white will be the least expensive, but by far color will stand out better. For a school just starting out on a low budget, you may need to stick to black and white for a time. As the newspaper becomes more entrenched into the school life and psyche, then you can call for a larger budget and make the move to color.
Ways to Fund a Larger Budget
There are several things you can do to raise the money needed to accommodate a more expensive print run.
- Seek Parent Sponsorships. Getting parents involved in their children’s education is important, and finding those students whose parents own a business, are willing to approach their employers, or simply would like to contribute is a great starting point. Write up a letter, make some phone calls, enlist the students to help you.
- Apply for a Grant. There may be several foundations or journalism groups that would like to help get a school newspaper off the ground. Looking into grant funding is a good place to go next. Some research may be necessary.
- Sell Ads. Your newspaper is a resource and can be a source of income. You can sell AD space in your newspaper to generate the needed revenue. Many businesses will be glad to invest in their local schools.
- Partner with Other Schools. If two or three schools in the same district get together to create a newspaper district-wide, the funds needed to print a newspaper, per school, is greatly reduced. The cost per copy goes down significantly as you get into the larger print runs.
Free Cloud Designer Templates
Our templates are 100% customizable, super user-friendly, and designed specifically to help you create outstanding school newspapers with our free Cloud Designer. Below are a few of the 100s of templates available to you.