Student Papers in State of Absolute Topsy-Turvydom

If you still needed any confirmation that collegemediatopia is imploding/reinventing without any real sense of what the heck is going on, read this piece on The Daily Californian written in-house by UC-Berkeley News.

Basically an interview with the current top editor (wrapped around the usual chest-beating over j-awards earned), the chatter seems to come to three paradoxical conclusions: 1) Economy is down, reader interest is up.  2) We will change everything about ourselves to survive.  3) For the time being, and possibly well into the future, student journalism is going to have to accept doing more with even less (pay, staff, resources) than usual.

DOWN BUT UP: In the piece, Daily Cal editor-in-chief Bryan Thomas discusses the loss of Wednesday’s print edition, the slashing of pay for most staffers, and the paper’s uncertain economic future (the cliche “skating on the brink of financial disaster” literally appears in the lead sentence).  Yet, he says readership, in print AND online, is up.

ANYTHING TO SURVIVE: An endowment funding model is being passionately pursued.  A continuous online news cycle is being honed.  Even an attempt to expand the paper’s coverage area and “establish itself as the paper of record for the city of Berkeley” is being put into action (a move that Daily Cal editors from ten years ago told me is anathema to everything the paper once strove to be, at least during their tenure).

BIGGER QUESTIONS: Thomas ends appropriately not with answers, but questions: “What is our mission? How can we keep people interested? How do we need to reshape ourselves for the future of journalism?”

Stay tuned for answers . . .

Comments are closed.