Yes, Students Still Read the Campus Paper in Print. I Repeat, Students Still Read the Campus Paper in Print…

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.  In recent years, at least once a semester, a new trend piece emerges to confirm that the hard-copy campus pub is (gasp) *still* more popular among student readers than its website.  Even money that one out of every five reports on the student press published over the past four years by established media center on this apparently shocking truth.

The Washington Times is the latest to offer a print-news-is-still-fit-for-students status update, in a recent feature headlined “In Wired Generation, Students Like Paper for Campus News.

As the piece begins:

“Students at Doane College in Crete, Neb., come from their classes and dorms, pick up their lunches and proceed to step back in time.  The millennials seek out an honest-to-goodness, dead-tree, processed-pulp newspaper, handed out by the paper’s staff, to catch the midday dining rush.  ‘It’s strange. These kids are walking around with iPhones and iPads, and they are looking for the college paper,’ said David Swartzlander, newspaper adviser to The Doane Owl. . . . The Owl is not unique.  For students raised on iPads, Kindles and Twitter, college newspapers are proving surprisingly durable, even as their real-world cousins face intense market pressures to consolidate or close.”

The article also discusses the budget troubles impacting some campus papers, but the main theme/angle is print’s surprising durability among the young, mobile, and wireless.

My Take: Why does the campus print paper continue to reign supreme among students?  Five reasons.

1) Its convenience for a grab-and-scan.

2) Its relevance to student readers and the unique hyperlocal coverage area it serves.

3) Its quality reporting and “fun” content (sex columns, Sudoku puzzles, police blotters, student editorial cartoons, etc.). 

4) Its free price tag.

5) Its existence on a college campus, one of the last remaining spots on earth in which people actually walk around a lot, have random periods of downtime, and gather regularly in central locations.

What do you think?

3 Responses to “Yes, Students Still Read the Campus Paper in Print. I Repeat, Students Still Read the Campus Paper in Print…”
  1. rileysnyder says:

    Without sounding like an arrogant ass, I also think that college newspaper readers are generally more educated, or at least are an audience more likely to read a newspaper. They’re also more likely to be connected, as a newspaper staff size compared to the population it serves is likely to be much smaller for a college campus.

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