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Hard Times Descend on The Spectator

THE PRESS:

By Richard J. Meislin

The Columbia Spectator revealed this week that it would have to stop its publishing operation unless it can obtain $40,000 from outside financial sources by next Wednesday.

The Spectator, with a circulation of 11,000 and an estimated readership of 24,000, is a free-distribution daily newspaper for the Columbia University community.

The newspaper's announcement of a financial crisis brought support from Bronx Borough President Robert Abrams, a former advertising manager for The Spectator. Abrams said he would attempt to find "a noor low-interest long-term loan" for The Spectator.

In addition, Howard H. Schless, chairman of the Columbia chapter of the American Association of University Professors, has pledged that chapter's support "and financial assistance commenserate with the local chapter's budget."

An accountant for The Spectator has said that if the paper were relieved of its current debts, it could remain self-sufficient for at least five more years because of several capital improvements.

The $40,000 would cover a $25,000 typesetting system recently purchased by the newspaper, and $16,000 in telephone debts to Columbia University. The university has offered to lead The Spectator money for payment for the typesetting equipment at 8 per cent interest, but insisted that the telephone bills be paid immediately.

Editor-in-chief John Brecher called these terms prohibitive, and added that he hopes alumni and others "realize the value of an independent press and will come through."

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