Claw, Chaparral talk funding strategies

May 5, 2011, 2:01 a.m.

Following this year’s elections, most campus publications received their special fees requests with the exception of the Stanford Chaparral and the Claw Magazine. These results have forced the latter groups to re-evaluate their budgets and develop new strategies for funding in the next year.

The Chaparral and the Claw failed to pass undergraduate special fees by a margin of less than 1 percent in their share of “yes” votes. The Chaparral earned 48.48 percent in total “yes” votes and 19.93 percent in “yes” votes as a percentage of the undergraduate student body. The Claw earned 49.56 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively.

To receive special fees funding, a given group must have the approval of at least 50 percent of voters and these voters must constitute at least 15 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Both publications indicated different strategies in their efforts to obtain special fees this past elections season. The Stanford Chaparral, a humor magazine, printed four different flyers and emailed various lists, tactics that were not used last year.

“Last year we got above 50 percent approval, but not the total 15 percent ‘yes’ votes, so we tried very hard this year to get above 15 percent,” Chaparral editors Josh Meisel ’12 and Billy Kemper ’11 wrote in an email to The Daily. “We got 19 percent ‘yes’ votes, but only 48.4 percent of our total votes were ‘yes’ votes. Next year we know we have to keep both requirements in mind.”

According to the two, the Chaparral is currently in its 112th volume. The magazine publishes five 32-page issues a year, each with its own theme. One of these issues is typically a parody of a national publication. The Chaparral is also responsible for publishing the fake Stanford Daily each year.

“We requested $22,150,” Meisel and Kemper said. “$20,600 was for printing, $1,350 for mailing subscriptions and $200 for office supplies. The reason for the high price of printing is that we publish 6 issues. The Leland Quarterly and the Claw have about half our printing costs but also publish half as many issues.”

Meisel and Kemper also emphasized the Chaparral’s long history at Stanford, noting that it was created eight years after Stanford’s founding. Stanford Chaparral alumni have gone on to animate for Disney and write for popular television shows, including “The Office,” “SNL,” “Futurama” and “King of the Hill.”

Although the Chaparral has longstanding experience with special fees, the process of applying for special this type of funding was entirely new for the Claw, a campus literary magazine. According to Claw editors in chief Alice Nam ’11 and Max McClure ’11, the decision to apply for special fees emerged within the first few weeks of spring quarter.

“We were hesitant to add to the mad clamor for special fees,” Nam and McClure wrote in an email to The Daily. “We opted instead for a soft campaign; we sent fliers announcing the new issue and encouraging students to join the magazine.

“But we didn’t make a single special fees flier or ask anyone to vote. Who knows if we’d do it again, but in the scramble of the first weeks of spring quarter, that’s what we decided.”

The Claw, which publishes three times per year, requested $12,500 in special fees for 2,000 copies. The money from special fees was intended for printing.

According to Nam and McClure, the goal of the Claw’s special fees campaign was not necessarily to receive special fees, but rather to gain more publicity for the magazine. The editors hoped the special fees campaign would encourage new members to join the magazine, which seeks to publish investigative reports, essays, fiction and articles on fine art.

“Between petitioning and talking to supporters, we wanted to find out what we needed to do to make the Claw a more prominent part of the Stanford community,” Nam and McClure said. “We got that and we’re very grateful.”

Both publications are dependent on the ASSU Publications Board for funding next year. In addition, the Stanford Chaparral plans to fund the magazine through the Stanford Fund and alumni donations.

“Of course, asking alumni to fund the magazine is not reasonable as a permanent solution,” Meisel and Kemper said. “But our dedicated alumni are willing to help keep the magazine alive given this rare occasion.”

Login or create an account