Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poynter: Students prefer print college papers to online

In case you didn't see it, Poynter.org has an interesting column today about how students prefer to read their college papers in print than online.

"I talked with several college newspaper advisors (sic) across the country, and they all said their print newspapers are much more popular than their online versions," Bill Krueger wrote in the column. Krueger interviewed advisers and general managers from The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Indiana Daily Student at Indiana University, The Shorthorn at the University of Texas at Arlington, the College Heights Herald at Western Kentucky University, the Daily Trojan at the University of Southern California.

Virtually all of them said that while traffic to their Web sites is going up, print beats online readership, hands down.

In a Spring 2010 study, Student Monitor, a New Jersey college market research company, found that 63 percent of students surveyed classify themselves as frequent or light readers of the print edition of their campus newspaper.

How about your school -- are students more likely to read your news product in print or online? What can college news organizations do to encourage students to read their online products? Or do you think it's kind of quaint that tech-savvy, iPhone-toting, wired-to-the-max students take a few minutes every week to sit down to read a dead tree?

1 comment:

Lucia said...

Print! At the University if Toronto Mississauga, students are more likely to pick up our paper while they're going about their day on campus rather than search for our website. When we attract traffic on our site, it's mostly for stories that are image-heavy. Pub nights and orientation week are good examples of this. We post photo slideshows with the article.
Otherwise, I think it makes sense that students are more likely to opt for the paper version of the student newspaper than an online version. With all the different news outlets online, it can be difficult to sort through all the search results. At campus where student apathy runs high, people aren't likely to know the difference between the many newspapers published weekly at U of T. There's The Varsity and The Medium that cover entire campuses, The Bulletin that is published by the university itself, and various college and independent publications. Often content overlaps. It's much simpler to up the main student newspaper that's specific to your campus while you're standing at line in Starbucks or waiting for class go start.
I'm the News Editor at The Medium and I have to admit, I love print. Digital images can't compare to raw paper and ink off the press, at least not for me. Regardless, The Medium is taking advantage of social networking sites like Twitter to post content and attract readers to our website. We also publish ads in the newspaper to direct people to our online sources.