At School Papers, the Ink Is Drying Up

So it has come to this.

As if it wasn’t clear already, student newspapers are slowly coming to grips with the realities of digital distribution.1 It’s worth noting that I was a Journalism major for the first two years of college and wrote a few articles for the student paper. At the time, I thought I wanted to be a journalist and write for a living, as I had written for other student publications before and enjoyed the experience.

Over time though, the allure of digital publishing was too attractive (and potentially lucrative) that I decided to pursue a degree in Multimedia Communication.2 Of course, this doesn’t mean leaving that knowledge behind; the medium may have changed, but there is still much to be learned from the print medium. If anything, it seems that long form writing, regardless of the medium it is published in, has seen a resurgence. Surprisingly, the driver behind this movement has been technology and the emergence of various “Read Later” services which have made it easier to read online. It’s no coincidence that these platforms seek to mimic the look of text on a blank page, removing all distractions so as to focus attention on the content.

The concerns raised by the article are valid,3 and it would be interesting to see if the lack of interest in journalism at this level translates into lower enrollment in universities, but without seeing real numbers, I can only speculate. Now, I don’t think the top programs have much to worry about at this point, but the next few years should prove interesting as students raised in the age of social media - where news is measured in status updates and tweets - weigh the pros and cons of a career in journalism.

  1. Print is dead.

  2. Much to the disappointment of my mother. Sorry mom, the “geek” in me couldn’t resist. In addition, I really didn't want to take the required copy editing class.

  3. Lack of interest in the news, short attention spans leading to fewer readers, etc.