Cox Ohio Publishing is launching a Web site for students at the region's college campuses, according to the Springfield News-Sun.
"We talked to hundreds of students and found out that there's no single place to find what's happening on and around campus," Katie Wedell, content producer for Swocol.com, told the Springfield, Ohio newspaper. The Web site is targeting students at the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Sinclair Community College and Miami University in Oxford.
But what does this mean for The Flyer News at the University of Dayton, The Guardian at Wright State University, The Clarion at Sinclair Community College and The Miami Student at Miami University in Oxford?
Will Miami University students spend as much time reading The Miami Student when they've got another site to get youth-oriented news and information about the area? Will advertisers be as likely to buy ads in the individual college papers when they have a Web site targeting students at all four colleges in the region?
This comes just one year after Gannett bought the FSView and Florida Flambeau at Florida State University and MTV bought College Publisher.
Faced with declining readership and plummeting profits, professional media organizations are trying to invade our turf. Are we in college media going to stand by and let this happen? What's next? Is The New York Times going to buy the Washington Square News? Is The Boston Glove going to try to lure readers away from The Harvard Crimson?
Student newspapers are facing a kind of competition we've never seen before. To survive and thrive, we've got to produce publications that are more engaging, savvier, hipper, more in touch with our readers than we've ever been.
If I were at one of the college newspapers in the area, I'd beef up my Web site, boost coverage of local entertainment and write more service articles that help students navigate college life. On top of that, I'd try to strengthen local campus coverage. I'd start the semester with a pep talk to the staff, saying the competition is on.
We've got to show those professionals who's boss.
What advice do you have for the Ohio college newspapers? Post a comment.
For more about this topic read:
"College Papers Deliver," The Baltimore Sun
"Big Media on Campus," The Wall Street Journal