A word from the Board of Directors at EMCVT, governing body of student media at Virginia Tech

When I assumed the responsibility of EMCVT’s Board President in July 2015, I inherited a dire financial situation. Our legacy revenue models -- particularly advertising in print mediums – had eroded at a dramatic rate, which led to difficult organizational and operational changes. The most significant change we implemented was the immediate reduction of printing days for the newspaper. Printing costs -- combined with the staff overhead -- could simply not be supported by the advertising dollars being generated. Secondarily, we also decided to outsource advertising and business functions to MediaMate, as the alternative to re-hiring the four professionals historically staffed. 

The decision to outsource our business functions was concerning at first, especially since the organization had always managed everything internally. There were apprehensions that EMCVT could lose some (or all) control of our business operations, that the student experience would suffer, and/or that we still needed a full staff on the ground to service local advertisers in Blacksburg. 

As soon as we started working with MediaMate, those concerns quickly diminished. In fact, we found the opposite to be true -- we had increased control of the business side of the newspaper with MediaMate as our partner. There was complete transparency and increased reporting, with MediaMate systematically tracking The Collegiate Time’s advertising and financial activities. We had a clearer picture of our ongoing fiscal situation, could take an immediate and honest look at our P&L trends, and had the ability to make more informed decisions as a Board.

The newspaper continues to be completely student-run, as it had been since 1903. As a point of fact, EMCVT continues to retain a (local) part-time General Manager to provide leadership/professional presence in Blacksburg, but combined with in-person visits from MediaMate (as well as phone calls, technology, and training our students on the ground), our organization’s professionalism and communication with advertisers has greatly improved. We have even found that pricing, placement, and collection errors that frequently occurred in the past have been virtually eliminated now that MediaMate has operational oversight of our advertising business. 

Without hesitation, if your student media organization is working to adapt to the overall marketplace shift into digital/social from legacy print businesses, I highly recommend MediaMate. Since making the decision to partner with MediaMate -- along with other key Board decisions -- EMCVT has finally stabilized its financial footing after a decade of losses. Our student leaders are engaged and excited to be a part of this historical institution at Virginia Tech, and our Board is proud to have taken corrective measures to ensure a stable financial future such that the next generation of Hokies can enjoy the same opportunities our Board members experienced during their tenure on campus.

-Elliott Gordon, President of the Board of Directors, Educational Media Company of Virginia Tech (EMCVT)


The Collegiate Times before outsourcing

Internally Managed Business & Advertising  
(Until 2015)

  • EMCVT Board of Directors (a 501c3) had oversight for the business operations of the Collegiate Times
  • Business Staff of 4 full-time professionals

    • General Manager

    • Advertising Adviser

    • Design and Production Adviser

    • Accounting and Sales Adviser

  • Students sold local advertising

  • Turnover in General Manager and Advertising Adviser positions led to confusion and disorganization

  • Complicated process to place and track advertising orders, resulting in high rate of errors

  • Students granted advertisers large discounts off the published rate card, traded ads for services, and offered free graphic design

  • Substantial amounts of advertising monies were not collected by the students

  • Checks and cash were lost in desks in the local office

  • Discount and collections problems were largely unreported and unknown to the Board

  • Board had limited exposure to the organizational decisions, especially as it related to daily operations, expenses, contractual obligations, etc.

  • Student media incurred a deficit for 9 out of the previous 10 years

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the collegiate times after outsourcing

Outsourced Advertising & Business
(2015-Present)

  • Board of Directors transitioned the business operations to MediaMate following the elimination of full-time staff
  • MediaMate has a team of experienced advertising and business professionals

  • MediaMate manages payroll, sales, billing, collections, printing, and distribution

  • Students manage the onsite business office and help sell local advertising

  • EMCVT Board of Directors (a 501c3) retains oversight of the business operations of the Collegiate Times

  • Improved operational processes, consistency, and customer communications through MediaMate

  • Board has increased transparency and financial awareness

  • EMCVT continues to retain a part-time, local General Manager

  • Working with MediaMate, in conjunction with several other key Board business decisions, EMCVT has stabilized its long-term financial situation

  • MediaMate partnered with Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business to offer students internships in sales and marketing at The Collegiate Times


There has been a huge improvement in sales [since partnering with MediaMate]. The students on the newspaper staff can now focus more closely on the journalism side. Furthermore, it is nice for the students to not have to worry about advertisements and sales since MediaMate handles the sales, and reaches those advertisers for them.
— Andrea Pappas, EIC 2016-17
When we signed on with MediaMate, there were a few things that happened that allowed us to stay in business. First, they helped us generate a higher revenue brought in by ad sales. But, most importantly, we were able to downsize staff, which meant downsided payroll. This put the focus of The Collegiate Times back to working with the students on journalism, writing and how to successfully cover stories. I am not exaggerating when I say that MediaMate saved The Collegiate Times. We finally have found a partner that will help us succeed.
— Kiley Thompson, EMCVT, General Manager

Interested in learning more?  We would like to set up a phone call or
meeting with you to discuss.  Please contact Linda Selima at 978-394-1636 
or lselima@mymediamate.com. Thank you!