‘Print-Hating Generation Still Reads the College Newspaper!’

As digital and online media conquer the world, college students are still most content to read their campus newspapers in print.

It is not breaking news, confirmed over the past few years by a number of news outlets and marketing surveys– including a fall 2010 Poynter Online piece (screenshot below) and a Washington Post Magazine feature published in April.

The most recent proof of students’ print-first campus newspaper reading habits comes from David Simpson, the coordinator of student publications at Georgia Perimeter College.  As he recently wrote in a message to college media advisers:

“A nugget from our latest market research at Georgia Perimeter College made me very happy, so I’ll share it.  This is a pretty rigorous survey designed and analyzed for us by senior marketing students under a very savvy professor at nearby Georgia College and State University.

“The first question on the survey was whether the respondent agreed that ‘reading the newspaper is a waste of time.’ Not a particular newspaper– just ‘the newspaper.’


“A whopping 69 percent either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that the newspaper is a waste of time– and that number jumps to 89 percent when you include ‘somewhat agreed.’

“A little later in the survey, the respondent was asked if he/she had read The Collegian, our campus newspaper, in the last month. (We only published every three weeks this year.)  The ‘yes’ on that question was 62 percent.

“So this print-hating generation still reads the college newspaper!”

4 Responses to “‘Print-Hating Generation Still Reads the College Newspaper!’”
  1. Tyler Dukes says:

    I’ve also noticed this at N.C. State, where I’m an adviser to the newspaper. In all the research we’ve done, we seem to be appealing to completely different audiences online and in print.

    This makes things complicated as I try to promote a Web-first strategy with my students, but I wonder if we’re interpreting these results the wrong way.

    Are students turning to their college newspapers because it’s a vastly superior product when compared to the online edition? A while back, Michael Koretzky pointed out how bad the online content tends to be in general:


    Would these survey results be different if our students were truly innovating online?

  2. At College Media Network we looked at the top 50 trafficked sites we work with and the percentage of overall page views coming from their direct market. We found the average percentage of page views coming from the local market was 26%, with one paper receiving only 8% of their traffic from the campus area.

    This means alumni, parents, and fans make up the majority of site traffic on college newspaper sites.

    From a business standpoint each college newspaper should be selling two different types of advertising and they should be targeting those ads to their different audiences.

    Papers should…
    • use an ad platform that can target by geographical location (something that CMN’s ad system can do)
    • sell ads targeted to their out-of-market audience
    • work with a national ad vendor to rep ad inventory to their non-local audience

    For any papers which are on College Media Network’s ad system ads can be targeted into the AdGear platform by clicking “Placement” and entering the target zip code(s).

    For any papers interested in using CMN’s AdGear solution or if you could use training on how to manage your ad inventory please email Mike Schoelch at mschoelch@accessnetwork.com.

  3. Koretzky says:

    I see no contradiction here. College students think most extra-curricular activities suck – that they’re just amateur incarnations of the real thing.

    But when they’re stuck on campus, they eagerly engage in these activities. Of course, they bitch about them to their friends before, after, and sometimes even during.

    What I’ve learned from advising college students for 12 years is that you can’t believe a word they say if they’re at all worried about looking cool.

    – Koretzky

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] win over the news “haters.” We did a proper readership survey at my college in 2011. As I shared with my fellow advisers at the time, the first question on the survey was whether the respondent agreed that “reading the […]