From the President
As we near the end of 2012, the Daily Pennsylvanian Alumni Association (DPAA) has launched our annual membership drive, and I'm hoping I can count on you for your support.
And we're doing several things differently regarding memberships starting this fall. In the past, we required DP alumni to pay annual "dues" to receive all the benefits of membership -- particularly access to the DP Alumni Directory, which we moved online last year. The DPAA Board of Directors has decided that all DP alumni, whether they donate or not, will now have full access to the entire DPAA website, including the Alumni Directory. All you have to do is log into this website. (Instructions for doing so are on the site.) And all DP alumni will receive an Annual Report in the mail before the end of each year.
In eliminating the pay-for-services dues model, we are now simply calling on all DP alumni to make an annual membership contribution to support the DPAA and The Daily Pennsylvanian. While our basic membership remains $35 per year, I encourage you to make the most generous gift that you can. You can click here to make your contribution now, or read on and let me highlight how DPAA membership donations will be allocated:
• DPAA Administrative Costs: About $15 of each membership pays for the direct costs of maintaining the DP Alumni Association. This includes such expenses as hosting the DPAA website, mailing an Annual Report to all alumni, several DPAA awards for students, and our Homecoming and Alumni Day open houses for alumni. Many of the DPAA's other activities for students and alumni -- such as our annual Marquez Conference for student journalists, alumni critiques of the DP and 34th Street, and our new summer alumni get-togethers in cities across the country -- are done at little or no cost.
• Student Scholarships: We all know that working at the DP is a major time commitment, which can be problematic for students on financial aid who need work-study jobs. The DPAA provides financial assistance to several DP staff members each year by awarding scholarships which allow them to spend time at the DP instead of outside work-study jobs. $10 of each membership gift goes directly to our Eric Jacobs Scholarship Fund. I personally received one of these scholarships when I was at the DP, and know first-hand how important this financial assistance is to students.
• Technology for Students: The balance of alumni membership gifts goes directly to the DP, and starting this year, we are designating a specific target for the money contributed. For 2013, our target is improving technology for the paper's staff. Like commercial newspapers, the DP has experienced a drastic reduction in advertising revenue in recent years. This has forced the paper to make severe budget cuts, including cutting the press run and physical size of the DP; reducing pay for professional staff and student editors; and cutting back news, sports and conference travel. (The DP even eliminated the open bar -- gasp! -- at the annual staff banquet, after 30+ years.) Another major effect of these cuts is that the DP has not upgraded its technology (computers, software, cameras) for several years. The DPAA Board has recognized that this is a problem for The Daily Pennsylvanian, as up-to-date technology is needed to produce top quality products. This is why we have established a goal of raising $15,000 in donations from our alumni this year, to help provide a much-needed upgrade to the DP's technology. This is the first time that the DPAA has actively raised money for a specific cause, and we are hopeful that our alumni will step up and far exceed our goal.
(On your membership form, you may optionally designate your gift to our Eric Jacobs Scholarship Fund or the DP Development Fund, if you prefer.)
The times we live in today are quite chaotic, particularly for the media industry. However, I am sure you will agree that the DP experience remains more vital than ever -- teaching students not only basic journalism and media business skills, but also letting them learn lessons about management, teamwork and asking the important questions. As alumni, we have the ability to make sure that the DP experience remains a formative one for current students, as well as for generations to come. Your gift can make a difference. Please make your 2013 membership contribution today.
I thank you in advance for your generosity.