By David Loomis
INDIANA — When the fall semester resumes this month at IUP, the student newspaper will disappear from racks across the campus and around the town. Readers will find it online only.
The announcement that the 94-year print run of The Penn would stop caught some people by surprise, including the incoming and outgoing student editors, they told interviewers. Their surprise is revealing: They were not a top priority among the paper’s managers.
Instead, management’s top priority was the company paid to print the free twice-weekly tabloid. That printer is owned by The Indiana Gazette, the local daily. The Gazette saw news in the cancellation of the contract and published it June 16 on Page One. Editors at The Penn got scooped by their own bean-counters.
The editors said declining ad revenue – a commercial publication’s life blood – appeared to be the cause. Joseph J. “Joe” Lawley, the student paper’s longtime director, didn’t deny it but offered no specifics.
“Ad revenue has decreased a little bit over the years,” Lawley said in a July 26 interview in his office at The Penn.
However, a source familiar with The Penn’s finances estimated that ad revenue dropped by about 40 percent in the most recent year alone. The source requested anonymity to preserve career prospects.
Lawley did not respond to an Aug. 8 email seeking reaction and clarification.