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Back to school.

Wehco Media, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's parent company, may partner with a college newspaper.

It's not your ordinary college newspaper though. The Columbia Missourian in Columbia, Mo., naturally, is the daily published by the University of Missouri's journalism school--the oldest J-school in the nation.

The paper's governing body began considering a possible partnership after receiving a letter of inquiry from Paul Smith, the D-G's general manager and a Wehco vice president. Wehco purchased the Jefferson City News-Tribune and two other papers in central Missouri in April. Jeff City is a mere 30 miles from Columbia.

According to a story in the Missourian, the not-for-profit paper acts as a teaching laboratory for the School of Journalism. The paper has also lived up to its not-for-profit title, operating at a deficit for years.

"We are in even more financial trouble than even most newspapers in the U.S.," according to a university official quoted in the Missourian. A story on National Public Radio put the paper's annual deficit at about $1 million.

So what might Wehco gain by partnering with a college newspaper that is hemorrhaging money?

Money, of course. The story states that Wehco and the paper would share advertising revenue after expenses are covered.

Smith said the discussion is in its early stages. Other papers have also expressed interest in a possible partnership, and Wehco and the News-Tribune wanted to throw their hat in the ring. The News-Tribune currently prints the Missourian, Smith said.

And while the university has subsidized the paper for years, Smith said not to expect a partnership to do the same.

"I don't think any newspaper would go into it and take on a loss," Smith said.

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Title Annotation:Wehco Media joins The Columbia Missourian in Columbia
Author:Hengel, Mark
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Sep 8, 2008
Words:280
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