Budget Cut May Sideline Print Edition of MTSU Paper

What does it say about the online journalism revolution that a majority of its younger members are not yet in any hurry to join it and often even fight against it?

An example: Middle Tennessee State University is proposing a $100,000 budget cut for The Sidelines student newspaper that would effectively kill the paper’s print edition, according to a report in The Daily News Journal. Student eds. at the paper and undergrads at MTSU say the consequences of an online-only shift at this point are clear.  A chance for a fresh start?  A wake-up call that the time for a full online push is now?  No, and no.  Instead, they see dark days- a loss of campus presence, less student readers and, in turn, a less informed student body.

Sidelines EIC: “Most of our readers pick up a paper on their way to class.  A lot of students aren’t going to read it anymore.”  One other snippet from the DNJ piece: “In interviews conducted on MTSU’s campus by The DNJ, most students said getting rid of the print edition of Sidelines would be a mistake.  ‘There would be a lot of issues students wouldn’t hear about,’ said Sean Mahoney, an electronic media major. ‘If Sidelines wasn’t around, the small number of students who are informed would become even smaller.'”

We are living in such an interesting time in j-history! We will tell our j-children about all this one day and they will stare at us like we are telling them there used to be nine planets. :-)  Think about it: Right at this moment, literally AT THIS MOMENT, we are caught between a wireless rock and a print news hard place.  Online-only is being talked about as inevitable for the field; its many wonders extolled and experimented with daily.  And yet, even the new media generation is still hesitant to give up its print-and-ink.

Are we simply scared to do things different?  Are we nervous that just because we lead readers won’t follow?  Are we still fighting the textural bias of seeing something we hold in our hands as more trustworthy and real and all-things-online as virtual and somewhat suspicious?  Or is it a high-tech-not-quite-up-to-the-changing-times question?  (Maybe we’re just in need of a few more killer online tools and apps and one or two Kindle updates to finally recognize print’s worthlessness?)  Or will print wow us all and stage a comeback?

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  1. […] but far too many outlets are still beholden and at times smothered by their school sponsorship.  The recent MTSU mess is an example of why such a situation can be catastrophic: One day the admins decide pulling […]