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Funding a publication


This lesson introduces students to the budgeting considerations that every media organization must consider, giving them a framework through which to understand what is necessary and optional for a publication as well as the pressures that advisers can feel when staffs do not understand monetary pressures


  • Students will explain how to make a budget and enumerate the factors that media organizations must consider when putting together a budget, including expenditures and sources of revenue.
  • Students will identify types of expenditures and sources of revenue for media organizations.
  • Students will be able to examine and interpret a sample budget.
  • Students will be able to weigh the possible costs, benefits, and opportunity costs of financial decisions based on the sample budget revenue.
  • Students will describe proper behavior for engaging in sales activities.
  • Students will detail strategies for maximizing profits and keeping accurate records.
  • Students will evaluate the effectiveness of possible advertising and fundraising opportunities, including how well those opportunities could be incorporated into their own school context.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.2 Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1a Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.


120-140 minutes (two 60-70 minute classes)


Slideshow: Understanding Budgeting Concerns

Handout: Budgeting Concerns Notes

Handout: Sample Budget

Handout: Budgeting Assignment

Slideshow: Advertising and Fundraising Slideshow

Handout: Advertising and Fundraising Notes

Handout: Advertising and Fundraising Case Study Ideas

Case Study Rubric

Lesson step-by-step

Day 1

1. Handout materials — 5 minutes

Distribute the Budgeting Notes to go with the slideshow.

2. Slideshow — 25-30 minutes

Show the Budgeting Slideshow presentation. Consider adding examples from your own publications experience to explain the possible expenditures and sources of revenue in a way that relates directly to the students.

3. Budget practice — 5-10 minutes

Distribute the Sample Budget as well as the Budgeting Assignment and go through the budget analysis questions together, making sure every student understands the expenditures and sources of revenue available in the budget.

4. Work time — remainders of class

Go to the decision-making questions and complete the first one as a class, then allow students to complete the rest of the questions either alone or with a partner for the rest of class. Collect the assignment for a grade.

Day 2

1. Opening discussion — 5 minutes

Open a discussion by asking students by presenting a budgeting scenario in which a publication has to make up a $1,000 deficit at the end of the year in order to break even and ask students what they would do in order to make up the money. Keep track of suggestions on the whiteboard, document camera, computer, SmartBoard or other similar display tool, and make sure students understand the difference between marketing and sales activities.

2. Slideshow — 20 minutes

Distribute the Advertising and Fundraising notes and guide students through the note-taking process about the pros and cons of advertising and fundraising, practicalities of behavior when engaging in sales activities, strategies for maximizing profits and record keeping principles. Make sure students understand that selling space within a publication usually yields more profit than holding a fundraiser such as a bake sale, car wash, or school dance; however, some fundraisers, such as a silent auction or “penny war,” do have the potential to make a great deal of money, depending on how much money is put into the fundraiser for setup costs and how interested the market audience is in the fundraiser.

3. Case study analysis — 10 minutes

Distribute the Advertising and Fundraising Case Study Ideas and prompt students to read about what other schools have done and evaluate the effectiveness of each idea, as well as whether or not it would be an effective possibility for their own context. Students should finish this for homework if it is not completed during the class period. Consider using the Case Study Rubric to grade this work.