Yearbook uses increase in funding to erase last year’s debt

by Carl Benskin

Because the Zenith Yearbook needs to erase a debt from last year, the campus publication received $36,000 from the Student Government Association. This amount is up from last year’s total of $25,000, but according to Senate records, the Zenith received an extra $5,314.50 to cover it’s 2004 debt.

“We had debt from the year before last, and we also had deadline issues,” Zenith Editor sophomore Amanda Botts said.

Chad Roberts, instructor of communications studies and student media specialist, said that the budget problems from last year are also due to unnecessary trips.

“The story is that the overrun is due to trips that were taken that shouldn’t have been taken,” Roberts said.

Juniors Jason Staaker and Suzanne Barrett were editor and layout editor for the Zenith last year. It is customary for editors to take one trip per year, which is paid for by the yearbook. Staaker and Barrett each went on two trips last year.

Roberts is the new adviser for the Zenith this year. He was informed about the deficit from Jennifer Whitham Johnson, former Zenith adviser. Roberts has plans to keep the Zenith in budget this year. He wants to limit expenses, and expects the yearbook itself to cost less than it has in previous years.

Roberts expects a smaller budget in the future.

“Hopefully we won’t have to ask for $36,000 [in the future],” Roberts said.

The biggest cost the Zenith has is the actual printing of the books. This year the Zenith expects to pay $23,945 to Jostens. Roberts said the yearbook staff won’t be going to some of the conferences that were attended last year.

The second-largest cost is to pay the student employees – up to $2,800. Both Botts and layout editor sophomore Kati Haaland have paid positions on staff.

The Zenith pays to have a professional photographer come and take the individual student pictures, but all the other pictures are taken by the staff.

If Roberts had the money to do so, he would love to update the equipment that the staff uses.

“[With another camera] you can get a broader picture of campus life,” Roberts said.

The Zenith currently has a staff of 13, and usually has between 10 and 15 people on staff.

Botts said the Zenith is doing student spotlights this year and trying to get more clubs in the yearbook.

“We will get more of the ‘Simpson Experience’,” Botts said.

Sophomore Jess Leete doesn’t think the yearbook should have a very large budget.

“It kind of seems to me like the Zenith is just a bunch of pictures of kids who rolled out of bed and got bribed into getting their picture taken,” Leete said. “It took me about five minutes, tops, to read mine last year and I don’t even understand why we have a yearbook. There isn’t enough of a community at Simpson for anyone to really care. It’s almost too much like high school.”