5 College Newspapers Giving up on Print

In October 2012, Newsweek instigated a shockwave throughout the journalism community and mainstream readership alike with its announcement of a move to an all-digital format come January 2013 after almost 80 years as a magazine. The expected outcries of how this signifies the death of traditional print media followed. While it likely will not phase out entirely — books still exist even though .pdfs and other file formats exist — news outlets are undeniably adapting to the major technological shifting toward soaking up the latest stories online. Unsurprisingly, this trend certainly exists on college campuses as well, with student-run papers and other periodicals shifting to either all-digital or digital-first strategies. Not only does this move so often save money, it also addresses consumer demands for instant, on-the-go reads and a desire to always know what’s up as it happens.

  1. Red & Black:

    University of Georgia’s student-run newspaper launched in 1980, eventually growing into the largest of its type in the state. By 2011, Red & Black stunned students, faculty, and college journalists across the United States when it decided to only start printing weekly. Reporting daily, of course, but shifting the most recent news and views to its online media outlet instead. Known as Red & Black 2.0, the initiative marked one of the most significant moves from print to digital at the time, considering the paper’s clout and national popularity. Staff members considered the transition something positive rather than a slow, painful death march toward traditional journalism; they went so far as to declare themselves part of a “revolution,” after all. In fact, the ad revenue from the website, which always sells out space, manages to cover costs of the reduced printed editions since about 15,000 unique visitors hit them daily when school’s in session.

  2. The Daily Emerald:

    Somewhat notoriously, The Daily Emerald released its statement regarding cutbacks to twice a week and a bulkier digital presence the same day the legendary New Orleans Times-Picayune made similar announcements. It has served the University of Oregon community for over nine decades but received an ousting in favor of The Emerald Media Group. Monday and Thursday print editions still run, with updates on sports and other campus news early in the week, with arts and entertainment later. Beyond reporting, the new look for the old paper also includes a development lab focusing on web and mobile apps as well as marketing and advertising services. And with each new generation of incoming student journalists, familiarity with how to maneuver the Internet and cater to a digital audience only increases.

  3. The Daily Skiff:

    Texas Christian University just could not quit The Daily Skiff, which started running in 1902, but it wound up the Woody to the shiny new TCU 360’s Buzz Lightyear. It prints four days a week while class is in session, but beyond that, anyone wanting to know what’s going on with the campus and its student body is pushed more toward the student-run website. So while the newspaper itself never shifted to an all-digital format, the poor little Daily Skiff wound up shunted to the side in favor of something more in line with what today’s plugged-in audiences expect from their media outlets. TCU 360, as one can imagine from the name, covers happenings and opinions at the eponymous campus all the time, every time. Staff members actually post their stories here first before publication in the original newspaper — if at all.

  4. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Post:

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Post, as a print publication, passed away in late 2012. However, it plans to pull a phoenix and arise anew from the newsprint-scented ashes in January 2013, assuming humanity doesn’t experience the Mayan apocalypse before then (it won’t). Although visitors can already read the paper online, the official launch will not happen until after the new year ticks. Even though the Post, as it’s now called by all the cool kids, began operations in 1956, few mourn its voyage to the great Gutenberg In The Sky. In fact, they seem to enthusiastically embrace this new path paved with zeroes and ones, believing the step just another major “life event” in the periodical’s history.

  5. The Western Herald:

    Like Texas Christian, Western Michigan University is slowly phasing out its traditional print paper in favor of something more virtual by letting everyone down gently using a “digital-first” strategy. This means the website breaks all the news and views first before the monthly newspaper hits campus stands. Social media in particular plays a role in shaping The Western Herald’s new direction, as they encourage Facebook and Twitter readers to participate in discussions of events and incidents as they unfold, for a more citizen journalism-oriented look at WMU. In addition, students, faculty, and staff can sign up for the Daily Buzz, an e-mail digest keeping them informed of any pressing stories and interesting or popular tidbits they might otherwise miss.

Posted on 12/28/12 | by Staff Writers | in Technology | No Comments »

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