The Miami Student Project, Funding Request Proposal

Project Title: The Miami Student Project, Funding Request Proposal

Project Lead's Name: Beatrice Newberry

Project Lead's Email:

Project Lead's Phone: 513-432-8174

Project Lead's Division: CAS

Other Team Members and their emails:

  • Faculty Advisor, Business Matters: Fred Reeder,, 513-256-6952
  • Faculty Adviser, General: James Tobin,
  • Editor-in-Chief of publication: Samantha Brunn,, 330-466-1016

List Departments Benefiting or Affected by this proposal:

  • Media, Journalism, Film
  • Student Media (Committee of Student Media Organizations)

Estimated Number of Under-Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 11,000

Estimated Number of Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 1,000

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem: The Miami Student requests that this department consider the following three projects as ones it would finance. The total ask is $5,317. As an organization that uses its advertisement-made profit and student fee-allocated funds on a weekly basis for operational expenses (the printing, distribution, and upkeep of both the paper and its staff), the leadership of this staff is well attuned to the receipt­ keeping and impact-tracking that each investment is expected to yield. We will practice the same documentation for the allocation of these funds, should the committee approve them.

As the forerunner in student-published media content, The Miami Student exists to support and encourage the dissemination of news on a daily, sometimes 24-hour, basis. But we need the capital to do so in new and innovative ways. We publish more frequently and across a more-vast range of topics than any of the publications under our "parent" organization COSMOs (Committee of Student Media Organizations). Each request is significant to our online community (6k on Facebook) and to our readers on and off-campus (online; in-print distribution list at 5k every week). The role of journalism has historically carried this out on a wide scope: providing a voice for the voiceless in spotlight pieces, shedding light on any corrupt or illegal activities in our vicinity, and spreading news of celebration and triumph of individuals and groups that may not have the platform that The Miami Student has. This has significant effects on those who are featured in our work and those who read our work - the latter of which is especially important for our loyal readers.

The projects being pursued and in-need of tech money allow us to keep doing this work in more innovative and high-tech ways. They are all in the digital sphere and are thus long overdue compared to our counterparts at other university press/newspapers. They are:

  • Two weekly podcast shows
  • The transition over to a new website
  • The implementation of a new social-media scheduling process to better reach our public

Proposed Projects:


Because of the rise of high-quality podcasting and videography, listeners and consumers expect that same high quality. It is common today to log onto Youtube and Instagram and other platforms for everyday people to post content that uses high-quality equipment (clear audio, proper lighting, high-definition visuals, and so on), so the landscape's bar is set high.

We have tested this out for ourselves on Facebook LIVE streaming during TMS-hosted Town Halls and in a two-episode podcast show in 2017-18 made by our then-EiC Emily Williams and our current Managing Editor Ceili Doyle. The quality made a difference and was duly noted in the feedback gathered from those two types of projects. Equipment for these was borrowed on a strict, time-limited basis from the generous Department of Media, Journalism, and Film. This is not a viable option going forward because of the high demand of those supplies from other organizations  (such as film societies) and MJF students/student teams. The following items act as a conservative "starter packet" for what The Miami Student needs to successfully pull off "Behind the Brick"  and  "This  Week@TMS." Note that there are two shows being made right now on a weekly basis, with a third sports-centric podcast in the works.


(From blog-style, low-quality Wordpress --> high-quality, highly­ acclaimed SN Works.)

PROJECT THREE: Scheduling Service, Social Media

Loomly is the scheduling service that, through our research, is the best for handling our weekly posts- which there's been a demand­ driven influx of.

How would you describe the innovation and/or the significance of your project:


This breaks into the digital space in a way we have not been able to explore in great depth until now. This is a more candid way of consuming news and something that can be integrated into the lives of students easily. (Interactive Advertising Bureau reports that advertising revenue for podcasts rose 85% in the last year, to put the market share into context. Forbes reports that 22% of Americans are podcast listeners - with the largest demographic being college age, or 18-34.) Our multimedia editor Ben Deeter and managing editor Ceili Doyle are actively working to penetrate the way Miamians, the Oxford population, and any other target segments consume news in a more fast-moving, digital manner aside from print and online story-telling. It is part of the publication's greater push towards omnichannel and multi-media publishing.


This website is a step-up from our Wordpress website, one that resembles a blog. It is a software called "CEO" and is run by SN Works (whose invoices you will see below).

There are many big-name clients of theirs that have a much wider influence and much more high-quality look than our current Wordpress site has (some of them being the University of Michigan, the Hollywood Reporter, VOGUE, etc.). Because of the quality of journalism being produced by our staff, this investment matches the caliber at which we are performing.

Our old site, because of its rudimentary layout and limitations in terms of what site visitors can view and interact with. The use case for a visitor to a website is our utmost concern - as the better it is for visitors, the more easily the news of our community gets to them. The core of the business case for this shift in websites (this upgrade) is that the dissemination of information is happening in a more efficient and easier way.


From The Miami Student's social media director, Nina Franco: "Scheduling services allow for more posts at more precise times. Community members can expect regular updates throughout the day, rather than waiting for news to reach them. Additionally, as a director of the posts, this service allows me to organize schedules in advance, so that I can spend more time interacting with followers, updating numbers and making the pages more user-friendly. Without this scheduling service, posts would be more sporadic and breaking news would fall under the radar. This service also gives me updated numbers on what kind of posts succeed and which do not, therefore making the social media accounts catered directly to the public.

Followers will receive more of the information they want to hear, versus every news article we have written in a week coming one after the other. That being said, I can also report the numbers back to our writers, who can see what the community responds to and what kind of coverage works well. Overall, it allows the newspaper to stay up to date and organized while putting some power into the hands of the community."

How will you assess the success of the project: Goal of Projects:

To reach students and the surrounding populations (whether in town or now-remote in the case of Miami alumni) in new and more innovative ways using modern technology and pairing it with the work that The Miami Student remains full-heartedly devote to. What this looks like- and what corresponding metrics will track- includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Increase in following online, namely Facebook and Twitter Subscriptions (free) to our podcast
  • Positive change in website and engagement analytics
  • Increase interest in advertising with TMS
  • A greater familiarity of TMS with younger populations (freshmen, sophomores)

Benefits of Projects:

While students and community members have an array of options for local and national news, they have few options for local news that is more likely to affect their daily lives as a university and small-town dweller. Although alternatives like the Oxford Observer, the local Patch site, Cincinnati Enquirer, Dayton Daily News, and more informal news sources like Facebook pages exist, The Miami Student has served since 1826 and has built trust within the community. It is reliable and stands on the grounds of a free press (as many of the staffers are in formal journalism classes). TMS leaders this year and years before have practiced due diligence with any public complaints and letters to the editor. It breaks stories at industry-pace yet its staffers are also full-time students. It discovers new pieces to the story because of its dogged research and access to exclusive resources (for example, finding the name of an important player in a story that a local paper formerly omitted or failed to find).



This project is in progress. Writing, planning, and marketing is in­ progress. How the money would be used: purchasing equipment and Soundcloud account will allow the staffers to publish with greater ease without the disruption of time limitations and quality sacrifices that the staff is currently dealing with by using the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film rentals and their own makeshift strategies.


The transition away from Wordpress and to SN Works is in­ progress. Time-intensive staff-training is being carried out the week of September 16 and September 23. How the money would be used: to retroactively cover the payments of more than $4,000 to either save or to free up the funds to explore/invest in other website integrations the site has to offer that we are not currently taking advantage of (for example, important record-keeping functionalities like archiving our old print papers and old website stories and archiving stories going forward).


Current analog posting across our social media sites is being used right now. With the average hours being put in each week by published staff members being around 15-20 hours and only one social media director (hired this year because of the strain in manpower), the purchasing of this software is a vital publishing tool that is just as important as the TMS website. How the money would be used: to purchase the site and begin tracking a greater amount of analytics now that we'd be performing our best (more posts out to the public) and begin optimizing processes to reach our current and untapped readers.

Data Gathering:

See Goals of Project for the impact metrics and goals we will be keeping track of.

The following are more specific analytics that these digital sites will keep a record of. Additionally, The Miami Student has a student with advertising experience working to get more ad clients. The reason this is being mentioned is that this student has made clear that he will be checking analytics more often in order to use them as selling points to our potential advertisers. This will give us the opportunity to test new ways of using the platform.

  • % reach
  • % engagement
  • % retention of the same readers
  • % conversion of new readers
  • # of subscriptions to the podcast
  • # of site visitors per week, per semester
  • # of Google Ad Sense clicks on our new site

Again, our social media manager, Nina Franco reports: "Currently, Facebook will give us these numbers, but Twitter does not on the apps. The great thing about the scheduling service is that it will be able to give us numbers on reach and engagement."

Financial Information

Total Amount Requested: $5,317

Budget Details:


  • PODCAST EXPENDITURE - Total: $1,000
  • Tascam DR-05 $200 for two
  • Cardioid Dynamic Mic $130 for two
  • XLR Cable $32 for two
  • IRlg Adapter (and 9V batteries) $120 for two sets
  • SD Cards $30 pack
  • Staff Camera $300
  • Microphone (low-end) $60


  • WEBSITE EXPENDITURE - Total: $4,245
  • $1995 Launch fee (retroactive, one-time fee paid for on September 17, 2019)
  • $2250 Annual fee for website hosting (paid for on September 17, 2019)



SN Works Website Costs (Project TWO) - these are payments that have been made but are being requested so as to cover the costs retroactively.

Is this a multi-year request: No

Please address how, if at all, this project aligns with University, Divisional, Departmental or Center strategic goals: Fit with University's Mission:

The Miami Student and the university are alike in that they are both devoted to providing the necessary resources to students and the community in order to succeed in life. By providing this same community with general news, humor, sports news, culture pieces, and the open-minded platform to contribute to the press, The Miami Student furthers the mission that Miami so adamantly pursues.

Individual and collective wellness, access to information, and celebration of the truth and creativity are what the staff works to uphold year after year. The three projects proposed are big steps in that direction.