GPC-GSU Update: Subcommittee meets to discuss implementation of consolidation

Despite the benefits of a larger student media network after consolidating, Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) will have to overcome financial obstacles in combining the various media outlets, according Georgia State Director of the Student*University Center Boyd Beckwith and GPC’s Student Media Advisor Alice Murray.

Student Organizations and Student Life, a subcommittee under the Consolidation and Implementation Committee for the consolidation between Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter College, met to discuss various benefits and concerns at Georgia State’s Indian Creek Lodge on March 10.

Beckwith said Georgia State is already discussing how to restructure campus media to benefit students of both institutions.

“We’re going more digital. I think journalism is changing and I think we need to make sure our student media reflects what the future of journalism looks like so that we’re training people for that future,” he said. “Working in that way is how we can make sure all the students at GPC feel like they can be part of whatever this new media entity is.”

Beckwith also said he and Murray will reach out to heads of the student media outlets after spring break to ask for their input.

“It is student media; we want their input on what it will look like,” he said.

However, Beckwith also said the most prominent media concern of the consolidation is the cost of radio and cable television licensing fees.

“ASCAP, SESAC, BMI are the major holders of music copyrights and so universities typically have to pay a license just to have music to be played on campus. That’s a fee that GPC is already paying and we’re [Georgia State] already paying but in addition to that there’s a radio license and a cable TV license that we also pay,” he said. “Right now those radio fees are based on your enrollment, and because Georgia State has grown, it’s already gone past what it has been budgeted for in the past. With this enrollment we’re going to need a significant increase to cover the cost and to figure out exactly where that money is going to come from.”

Beckwith also said he has intentions to reach out to the media departments at universities with high enrollment, including Arizona State and Penn State.

Murray, who is also a 30-year veteran at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said students learning journalism through a multi-media platform is something she would like to focus on while a member of the consolidation committee.

“My goal, before the merger was announced was to do more video and video online,” she said.

Murray also said students studying media should try to experience print, radio and television.

However, she also said her biggest concern is for the future and funding of GPC’s biweekly newspaper, The Collegian.

“Access is going to be key for the students. I’m all about growing student leaders and giving them the chance to really get their hands dirty and learn by doing and we’ve got to work out exactly how,” Murray said. “The Collegian could become an insert into The Signal; it could be a supplement to The Signal — whatever will help The Signal increase it’s print run to cover the outlying campuses.”

Approximately 95 percent of The Collegian’s revenue comes from four-year institutions that will no longer advertise in the paper, according to Murray.

“If The Collegian just comes into The Signal, my primary concern is we will lose up to $40,000 a year in advertising,” she said.

At the March 10 meeting, Student Organizations and Student Life also broke off into several other subcommittees and met separately. For more on all the subcommittees under Student Organizations and Life, click here.

Here’s what was discussed with each subcommittee, according to a handout provided at the meeting:

Committee 42: Student Organizations and Student Life