Big Donors Step in to Save Daily Free Press
Two major donors have stepped in to help BU’s financially strapped independent student newspaper, the Daily Free Press. On Monday the paper launched a crowd-funding campaign to cover $70,000 in debt. They faced a shutdown of a weekly print edition if they could not pay a significant portion of a bill they owed by the end of the year.
Donations were coming in at a brisk clip from alumni, former staffers and fans of the paper, with at least $14,000 raised as of Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon an announcement went out over the paper’s Twitter account announcing that two major donors had stepped in to cover the rest.
According to an update posted on gofundme.com, Bill O’Reilley, Fox news host and BU alum, has pledged $10,000; Ernie Boch Jr., whose family has made its fortune in automobile dealerships, pledged $50,000. The update noted that 289 donations had come in before the big pledges dropped.
The 44-year-old publication had been hit by declines in advertising revenue. They switched from a daily print edition to publishing primarily online, with a single weekly print edition.
“We will be closing the gofundme soon, and we will begin assessing our funds and deciding how to handle the surplus immediately,” the announcement on the site said.
Responses from donors on Gofundme:
“I don’t always agree with O”Reilly’s politics, enjoy his show, but I really like his swagger.
— Steve Silbiger”
“Can’t begin to list my great Free Press thoughts and memories. And I don’t think people should carry electronic devices into a bathroom. So let’s save the print edition.
— David Vogel”
“Thanks to the Free Press for the experience that helped our son begin his journalism career. Class of 2003
— Jane Canner”
“Not hyperbole: Joining The Daily Free Press my first week on campus is the best decision I’ve ever made. Every sportswriting opportunity I’ve had — not to mention many of my friends and a greater appreciation for more than four hours of sleep — can be traced back to the FreeP, and I hope generations of journalists to come have the same opportunity.
— Tim Healy”