Student media should take payment from any advertiser willing to pay for space, right? Wrong! At least this statement is incorrect at the university where I advise.
I work at a private, Methodist-affiliated university. The student media are housed in the mass communications department, where the newsroom and television station serve as student employers, but also as course labs. As such, they are funded primarily through university’s academic budget. The staff’s advertising revenue is a small portion of their budget.
Because the student media is funded mostly by the university, the editors have set policies through the years about what types of advertising they accept. The majority of these policies are the result of administrator requests that seemed logical to the editorial board at the time.
The general advertising policy reads:
Advertising is accepted and encouraged in Student Publications. An editor or the Advertising Director must approve all advertising sales. Advertising must meet general standards of taste. Any advertisement can be refused.”
It then outlines the types of advertising we don’t accept as follows:
- Those advertising specials on specific alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.
- Those advertising courses available at other universities when the same courses are offered at OCU.
- Those looking for nude or topless dancers.
- Those needing the vague description of “models.”
- Those for birth control methods or health “studies.”
- Those announcing employment opportunities that sound “too good to be true.”
- Those advertising gambling.
The policies are meant to keep student publications in line with the university’s core beliefs, missions, and policies, and to keep students safe from potential harm.
While these policies may not work everywhere, they are reasonable here. Please use them if they will help you draft similarly helpful policies for your student media outlet.