Monday, June 23, 2008

Mississippi student paper goes online only

The Spectator, the weekly student newspaper at Mississippi University for Women, plans to abandon its print edition and go online only in the fall, according to a news report.

"We want to make our students more employable," Dr. Marty Hatton, chair of the Department of Communication, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Hanson said the online newspaper would use video and audio to enhance still pictures and text and that the paper might print a paper edition for "special occasions."

Eric Harlan, instructor and Spectator technical adviser, told the Daily Journal that moving from print to online publication will save the university money.

A number of student newspapers are considering Web-only publishing as a way to cut costs and keep up with a changing industry. However, at many schools print student newspapers remain financially stable and well read, even as community papers are losing readers and advertisers.

In a survey released earlier this month, Alloy Media + Marketing reported that more than three-quarters, or 76 percent, of college students surveyed had read their college newspaper in the past month. (Read more about the Alloy Media + Marketing survey in this June 3 post.)

In addition, online advertising revenues still doesn't come close to print advertising at most student newspapers, as well as community papers. On Monday The New York Times reported that The Internet accounts for less than 10 percent of newspaper ad revenue.

Hat tip to Venise Wagner of San Francisco State for passing along this news.

Will The Spectator and the MUW community benefit from Web-only publishing? How do staff members feel about the change? Is your newspaper considering a shift from print to online-only? Post a comment below.

Journalist maps newsroom layoffs

In case you haven't seen it, Erica Smith, a newspaper and multimedia designer for the St. Louis Post Dispatch has created Paper Cuts, an interactive map showing buyouts and layoffs in the newspaper industry.

Though it's depressing (she counts 4,494 positions lost in the first six months of 2008 and more than 2,100 eliminated in the last seven months of 2007), it does give you a sense of which papers are cutting back, merging or folding.

Smith says she got the idea for the map in May 2007 after reading an article about job cuts in Editor & Publisher.

Keep in mind that jobs aren't necessarily lost forever. Some papers laying off and buying out veteran reporters one day may be hiring eager, young journalists with multimedia skills another.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Five more free design handouts

The Society for News Design has posted five more free, downloadable handouts on its Web site:

Remember these are only available till June 15. After that you have to become an SND member to get them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Design handouts available for limited time only

The Society for News Design has posted on its Web site 12 free, downloadable handouts on design from the upcoming issue of Design Journal, the society's quarterly. The handouts, which make up a "training toolbox from the pros," will only be available on the site through June 15; after that you'll have to join SND to get them.

The handouts come from visual journalism experts from all over the globe, including:

The SND site is chock full of other handouts, videos, podcasts and other good stuff, too. Be sure to check out materials from the SND Boston Workshop.

Students interested in design should join the organization; membership for full-time students is only $55 a year ($45 for members of of a SND student affiliate).

UPDATE: See five more handouts in next post.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

College students still read campus newspapers

While professional newspapers are grappling with falling readership, particularly among Facebook-crazed college students, student newspapers are still widely read by their target audience.

That's the word from Alloy Media + Marketing, which just announced results of a readership survey of more than 1,200 college students from 550 universities across 50 states.

The study found that more than three-quarters, or 76 percent, of college students surveyed had read their college newspaper in the past month. Readership was highest at campuses with daily papers, where 92 percent had read a student newspaper in the previous month. By comparison, just over one-third of students reported reading their daily community paper at least weekly.

More than half of students, 55 percent, reported reading their campus paper in the last week. And of those dedicated readers, considerably more than half stated they read it at least three issues a week.

“The college newspaper continues to hold its value with students as a key source for news and information and despite growth in technology and new media options, we consistently mark very strong audiences who rely on this source to maintain a connection to their campus community and local happenings,” Samantha Skey, EVP Strategic Marketing, Alloy Media + Marketing, said in a press release issued by the company.

Interestingly, though Internet readership of college papers is rising, less than 20 percent said they had read their campus newspaper online in the past 30 days.

The study findings add support for the idea that it's premature for most student newspapers to ditch their print editions and move to online-only publishing. Unlike many professional newspapers, student newspapers remain popular and potentially lucrative endeavors.

Read Brandweek's report on the study.

Hat tip to Yumi Wilson of San Francisco State University for alerting us to this study.