State Press at ASU Shifting from ‘Digital-First’ to ‘All-Digital,’ Dropping Print Newspaper in Fall

The State Press at Arizona State University will no longer publish its weekly print newspaper and in the fall will operate instead as an “all-digital publication.” It is at least the fourth student paper in five months to completely abandon print, and by far the most prominent.

In a press release issued yesterday afternoon, ASU student media director Jason Manning confirmed, “We are no longer a so-called ‘digital-first’ media organization — we are a media organization in the digital age. Our audience and our advertisers are highly mobile and social and the legacy print product does not serve their needs.”

1The new print-free legacy the SP gang aims to build places the paper on the cutting-edge of the larger (r)evolution occurring across collegemediatopia. As I have previously posted, advisers, educators and student journalists are currently witnessing or participating in the biggest shift in college media since campus newspapers appeared in modern form in the mid-to-late 1800s.

Depending on one’s perspective, the mass shift from print to digital is either a rebirth or a bloodletting. In both camps, though, there is agreement that print is the victim. A growing number of papers are cutting or considering cutting the number of print editions they publish each week or month. Others are trimming their page sizes or reducing the number of copies or pages produced for each issue.

In addition, a few papers have dropped print entirely, opting to reboot as online-only outlets. For example, The College Reporter at Franklin & Marshall College announced in February its only print edition going forward will be emailed and uploaded online as a PDF, the culmination of a three-year “100-percent digital transition.”

Prior to that, The Famuan at Florida A&M University similarly dropped its weekly print edition “in favor of a continuously updated website.” The Collegian at the University of Richmond also went online-only last semester, with its editor promising “to re-establish our name on campus” via digital means.

Separately, come fall, The Columbia Daily Spectator at Columbia University will be “web-first” and publish weekly instead of daily in print — the first student newspaper at an Ivy League school to abandon its daily print presence. The Daily Nebraskan at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will also no longer appear daily in print, shifting instead to a twice-weekly publication schedule.

By comparison, at ASU, the only part of the SP empire set to remain in print come fall is State Press Magazine, an affiliated news and features mag with its own editorial staff.

State Press executive editor Danielle Grobmeier: “An all-digital approach will give us more reach and much more room for multimedia creativity than 32 pages ever could. Our readers have spoken, and they want to get their news online. We can’t wait to give them that.”

As I have previously posted, this is the second bold digital leap made by the State Press in recent semesters. In January 2013, the paper dropped its daily print edition in favor of a bulked-up weekly and a greater emphasis on multimedia and mobile storytelling.

As Manning explained around that time, “The truth is our students are probably not going to be asked to layout a daily print newspaper when they hit the professional world. They’re going to be given assignments that involve data, computer programming, social media, writing for the web, digital design, videography and a number of other skills that we teach now and will be able to teach more thoroughly with this new approach.”


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

Richmond Collegian Goes Online-Only; Third Student Paper in a Month to Drop Print

Columbia Spectator Shifting to Weekly in Print, First Student Paper in Ivy League to Drop Daily

‘Dean of the College Media Business’ to Student Journalists: Stop Dropping Print!

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