Duke Chronicle Going Digital-First: Which Day Should Lose Print Edition?

The Duke Chronicle is joining college media’s digital-first cavalcade— dropping one of its print editions each week to focus more on its online awesomeness.

With the joint decision by its current student staff and alumni-heavy board of directors, the Duke University campus paper joins a host of other A-list student press outlets attempting digital-first newsiness. Among them: The Red & Black at the University of Georgia, The Daily Universe at Brigham Young University, the Emerald at the University of Oregon, The Maneater at the University of Missouri, The Badger Herald at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Cavalier Daily at the University of Virginia, and The State Press at Arizona State University.

1A Chronicle board member: “People aren’t waiting for the next day to get the news. It’s not enough for the Chronicle to wait 24 hours and get those stories up later on, we have to be publishing things when they happen.”

Along with enabling this real-time news push, Chronicle EIC Danielle Muoio said the drop in print from five issues per week to four will hopefully give staffers additional time and motivation to produce more in-depth, between-the-lines features.

Muoio: “We want to revise what goes into our print edition. We’ll be packaging stories in a visual, captivating way to fit the reader experience.”

Judging by the Chronicle’s story on the decision, it appears many details are still to come, including what day will be dropped from the print production mix. A commenter on the piece interestingly lays out the challenges of that determination:

“Which weekday will lose publication? If you want four consecutive weekday issues, then you would have to eliminate the Monday or Friday editions. But this would be catastrophic for Duke athletics as you would lose either ‘the break’ on advance stories (Friday) about weekend schedules or ‘the jump’ on sports reporting and analysis (Monday) within a day or two of ‘game day’ competition.

“If you keep both the Monday and Friday editions, then those who like symmetrical balance might vote for Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday sequencing with no print Chronicle on Wednesdays. But the best ‘news cycle days’ during the week are often Wednesdays and Thursdays, i.e., with print editions Thursdays and Fridays.

“But you also can get hurt by the loss of a Wednesday newspaper as this is the day that you want to help ‘move things along’ in the campus and community agenda, and it is the best ‘progress report’ day of the week for following continuing developments on one or more news fronts.

“So while it may be unlikely that The Chronicle will opt for ‘an oddball Tuesday’ day off, this may be the best weekday to go without a regular edition as far as any given week’s news and sports reporting cycle is concerned.

“Of course, if you do choose to eliminate one of the ‘bookend’ days (Monday or Friday), let it be Friday as you can ‘advance’ weekend news and sports events in Thursday editions. And also, Tuesday morning is too long a wait to read the bold and dashing Chronicle staff reports on Blue Devil sports outings on Saturdays and Sundays!”


Student Newspapers 2.0: ‘Welcome to a Media Revolution’

Advantages, Disadvantages to Student Media Digital Experimentation

Brigham Young University’s Daily Universe Going from Daily to Weekly in Print

Oregon Daily Emerald ‘Reinvented for the Digital Age’: Announces Revolutionary Changes

Podcast: Missouri’s Maneater to Make a Digital-First– Make That a ‘Content-First’– Shift

Wisconsin’s Badger Herald Going Digital-First, Dropping to Twice a Week in Print

Virginia’s Cavalier Daily Going Digital-First: ‘Riding the Wave of Contemporary Journalism’

State Press at ASU Going Digital-First, Shifting From Daily to Weekly Print Paper

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