We have recently featured articles about students calling for certain news items or opinions not to be published if they were “offensive”.

However, the University of California – Davis student publication is not printing any news as part of a fascinating new marketing strategy to promote a fee increase.

Except for the masthead, the front page of the most recent issue of The California Aggie is empty above the fold. The huge swath of white space featured in the University of California, Davis, student newspaper is not a printing error or editorial protest. It is an eye-grabbing funding push.

Aggie editors are aiming to convince the UC Davis faithful to accept a $9.30 increase in their annual student fees to help keep the paper alive — and ensure news on campus does not fade to nothing but white space. Apparently, without the added fees support, the ink-stained Aggie might truly morph into nothing more than a memory.

Over the past five years, the paper’s advertising revenue has been in absolute free-fall, depleting its budget reserves from a half million dollars to less than $20,000. The number of paid staffers — and the amount they receive — has simultaneously dropped. And the paper has also shifted from an almost-daily (four times per week) to a weekly in print to help offset costs.

As The Davis Enterprise reports, “Faced with ad revenue that hasn’t recovered after falling off a cliff, the student newspaper staff is asking its fellow UC Davis students to approve a $3.10-per-quarter fee that would raise an estimated $272,800 annually. For the measure to succeed, 20 percent of the student body must vote — and 60 percent plus one must support it. If it fails, the 99-year-old paper will die.”

Yowza. I guess we ain’t mincing words.

There are sideshows bubbling beneath the surface of the student body vote — including the language of the measure and how often it should come up for review — but the bottom line from the editorial team’s perspective is that the money is needed to keep the Aggie afloat.