Take that Newspaper Death Watch!

September 13- A new Chronicle of Higher Ed report jump-kicks the recent spate of student newspaper doom-and-gloom coverage directly in the gut. 


The financial state of the student newspaper universe is “fundamentally sound,” according to the Chronicle feature, which touched base with more than a dozen student editors, publishers, and ad managers nationwide.  A few of the core reasons for college publications’ economic sustainment, as cited in the article: humongous advertiser interest in the student demographic; the news niche it fills within larger journalism, especially as higher ed reporters at professional papers decrease; and the simple fact that student readers still voraciously gobble up the print editions of most school papers.


The comparison I found most fascinating (and uplifting): “Nationwide, advertising spending on college newspapers grew last year even as it dropped off at mainstream publications. National advertisers spent an estimated $30-million on college newspapers in 2007, a 15-percent increase from the year before. . . . During the same period, total print advertising revenue at commercial newspapers fell 9 percent.”


The Daily Cal, Daily Bruin, Daily Orange, LanternMissourian, and others have made headlines recently for their economic hiccups or more dire financial straits, but overall the news remains positive for the student press.  Ad revenue is up.  Readership is holding steady at impassioned.  News coverage is filling an important gap.  And, possibly the most important saving grace for many student publications, as The Daily Tar Heel general manager told The Chronicle: Unlike professional papers, they don’t need to make a lot of money.

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