Eco-Friendly Resolution May Force Student Newspaper to Drop Print Edition

The Shorthorn, the award-winning 90-year-old student newspaper at the University of Texas at Arlington, may cease to exist in print due to economic environmental concerns (?!).  It is true.  As the newspaper itself is reporting, the school’s student government “is researching a resolution recommending the university’s daily newspaper go online-only as a way to join ongoing university green initiatives.”

One of the student sponsors of the resolution: “I think it’ll pay off since we’re going to a more technological society.”

Pay off for who?  The newspaper’s leadership confirms more than 17,000 readers for its four-times-weekly print edition, compared to less than a thousand daily for its online version (comprised mostly of non-students). Current comparative ad sales per year:

$11,000 online

$438,000 in print

It is a loss of ad revenue, a loss of a shared en masse experience and conversation starter for students on campus, and a loss of sanity about how to best balance the environment and information.

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An announcement atop The Shorthorn Web site.

My favorite quote comes from a UT Arlington student who admitted she was not even aware the newspaper had a Web site: “If it did go only online, I probably wouldn’t read it because there’s so many other things to do online such as Facebook or Twitter.  I think going green is good, but I think less people would read the newspaper online.”

Where’s the payoff in that?

To the UT Arlington Student Congress: The Shorthorn must stay in print!   Issues are still being consumed daily.  If you want to go green, force profs. to stop assigning print textbooks.  I promise you, those are not as well read.

Update: SPLC story

Comments
2 Responses to “Eco-Friendly Resolution May Force Student Newspaper to Drop Print Edition”
  1. This same idea was suggested briefly by administrators here at Drew: That our award-winning 82-year-old newspaper, The Acorn, way ahead of many schools of similar in terms of quality and regularity, should go online-only to save money.

    I dismissed the idea immediately. The irony is that, as newspapers of towns and cities see decreased readership of their print editions, I sense that nothing of the sort is happening in the world of college journalism.

    At Drew, nothing can replace the Saturday morning brunch ritual of grabbing an Acorn on the way into The Commons, only to discuss the week’s news with a table of friends.

    -David A.M. Wilensky
    Editor in Chief
    The Acorn
    drewacorn.com

  2. Emily Young says:

    We’ve considered doing this with the paper that I edit, the Southern Accent. We decided to continue the print edition because we have a captive audience when the paper is distributed immediately after a weekly student body meeting. I think eventually we will go online though, our campus just isn’t ready for it yet.

    Emily
    Editor
    Southern Accent
    emilyy.jour342.com