Based on the sheer mass on inquiries, we feel it’s important to address several questions publicly in order to ensure our position is clear to our members and supporters.

Q: If CUP is in financial crisis what does that mean for members next year?

A: It means the organization will not be operating in the same way. Though CUP’s Board of Directors is still determining what next year’s operations will look like, here’s what CUP members can count on:

  • Legal support — access to a media lawyer for up to one hour
  • National and regional conferences — NASH and regional conferences will be happening
  • CUPwire — populated with stories from CUP member papers across Canada and original content from at least one confirmed bureau chief, the CWA-Canada Labour Bureau Chief. We hope to have more positions announced soon.
  • Mentorship and internship opportunities facilitated by CWA-Canada
  • Continued access to CUP’s campus, alumni and professional networks

Based on some new strategies and priorities that national staff and the CUP Board are adopting, our plan is to add several new items to this list in the coming months.

Q: What’s the plan for after the CUP 77 campaign?

A: The CUP Board of Directors has been working hard to map out a plan that will allow CUP to stabilize, re-establish itself and grow into a better and stronger organization.

Last week, in the first of a two-part meeting, the Board approved a preliminary three-year plan to give the incoming national staff and Board direction as they begin their terms. Here’s an abbreviated version:

Year 1 (2014-15) | Rebuild CUP’s capacity to operate.
Integral steps:

  • Apply to funding programs and solicit sponsorship
  • Build strategic partnerships that will give CUP monetary benefits
  • Develop a strategic plan for operations and a business model for continued sustainability

Year 2 (2015-16) | Stabilize CUP’s ability to operate.
Integral steps:

  • Hire full-time staff, including a semi-permanent administrator
  • Implement strategic plan
  • Establish a permanent office situation

Year 3 (2016-17) | Fortify operational strengths and address areas of weakness.
Integral steps:

  • Maintain or build on results achieved between 2014 and 2016
  • Identify and address persisting weaknesses with a proactive response plan(s)

Q: What about NUW?

A: We are as supportive of them as they are of us. It’s exciting to see a new student press association emerge and it’s an exciting opportunity for any student paper to engage in a new way with its community. In fact, we hope to collaborate with NUW in the future.

Q: Seriously, you don’t think that NUW makes CUP irrelevant?

A: No, not at all. First, CUP and NUW are different organizations with different takeaways. NUW offers an RSS feed that aggregates its members content and permits all members to republish any content that appears in the NUW feed.

CUP offers a partnership with FREE Media for national advertising campaigns; professional development opportunities on an ongoing basis through its partnership with CWA-Canada; Members-only discounts to our regional and national conferences with a cost-effective travel pool so that each member can travel to NASH; Free entry into the John H. McDonald Awards for excellence in student journalism; One hour of free legal services with one of Canda’s top media lawyers; A 300-page resource book on all aspects of running a student newspaper; And a content-sharing agreement with over 50 student newspapers across Canada with original content and a devoted full-time staff.

Most importantly, CUP offers a network of student journalists across Canada to help members share experiences, collaborate on projects, and support each other. With CUP it’s the people that matter, not just the services.

CUP and NUW hold different roles in the Canadian mediascape. CUP is aligned with a historic and longstanding alumni network that is international in scope and spanning many different sectors. We have proven successful as an advocate for student press and serve as the keeper of archives and institutional memory for student publications. As a Canadian institution, CUP has close relationships with many professional organizations and the credibility name-recognition delivers. NUW is a digital startup.

CUP is not made irrelevant by NUW and NUW is not a CUP copycat. They’re two different organizations working within the same sector. Frankly, it’s about time someone else joins CUP in the enormous task of supporting Canada’s vibrant student press; there is more than enough room for two student press organizations in Canada’s mediascape. CUP membership is not built on exclusivity — your paper can be a CUP member and an NUW member.

CUP’s mission is to unite, strengthen and support the student press. It will be helpful to have a partner working towards this mission. So, seriously, no, we don’t think CUP is made irrelevant — we know we’re not.

Q: So I don’t speak French all that well but I think I saw on Twitter that French papers formed a new association. What’s the deal?

A: Yes, that’s correct. At the PUC conference in Quebec City on March 16, nine French papers joined together to form new association called la Presse Étudiante Francophone. Their goal, as we understand it, is to create opportunities specifically for French student publications in Canada and develop initiatives they can undertake together.

They intend on maintaining a close relationship with CUP — and we return the sentiment. We hope to partner with la PrÉF in the future and are once again excited to see a group of papers forming a grassroots organization out of a need they’ve collectively identified.

As we mentioned in the question about the NUW, CUP membership is not exclusive — a francophone paper can be a CUP member and a member of la PrÉF. They’re different organizations working within the same sector.

Again, there’s more than enough room for three student press organizations in Canada’s mediascape — even more so if one is devoted to francophone student papers. Our mission is to unite, strengthen and support the student press and it will be fantastic to have a francophone partner.

Q: Is CUP going to die?

A: No, great organizations never die, they just change their strategies — that’s what CUP is doing and you’re the lucky ones history has chosen to be part of this transformation! I hope you rise to the occasion and get involved. Contact our national office staff or your regional representative to find out what CUP can offer you and your paper.