Homeless newspaper needs a place to crash

Georgia State's student newspaper moved into newly renovated digs last week, only to learn that they were being booted.

The staff of The Signal received a memo to vacate their offices on the second floor of the Student Center because the floor failed a Fire Marshall inspection. The fourth floor failed, too.

"I don't know where I'm supposed to go now. Do I operate out of my studio apartment?" says Steven Sloan, the paper's editor and an intern at CL. The paper had been set up in a makeshift office in the Urban Life Building for the past six months, but the room is now reserved for a law class.

"There are no signs telling anyone where to go to find us," Sloan says. "It's just like the paper has suddenly vanished."

The 15-member staff was working from their homes or coffee shops Monday, with the editors and ad manager wondering whether it's feasible to publish the year's first issue Jan. 14.

"We need an office by Thursday, at the absolute latest," ad manager Ellen Opdyke says. "Right now Steven's optimistic, but I'm not. I don't think it's going to happen."

A fire that broke out in the University Center last year delayed the renovation, according to DeAnna Hines, director of university relations. Hines says The Signal is "in the same shape as everybody else who's supposed to move back in."

Larry Munn, assistant director over the University Center, told Signal editor Sloan in an e-mail that contractors will work on the failed floors until they pass the Fire Marshall's muster.

That may be too late for the approximate 5,000 issues that are supposed to be printed next week, as well as about $1,500 in ads.

"I don't want to be the editor who had to cancel an issue and refund money," Sloan says. "To call [advertisers] and tell them that we can't print their ad because we don't have an office anymore makes us sound ridiculous as a newspaper."

b>-- Mara Shalhoup