New Mexico State Student Media Reinvention: After 100+ Years as a Newspaper, Is Switch to Monthly Magazine the Right Move?

Starting in the fall, The Round Up weekly student newspaper at New Mexico State University will appear as Oncore monthly magazine.

For college media geeks, the report about the upcoming change in The Santa Fe New Mexican is extremely interesting for the blatant in-fighting on display. Specifically, there are on-the-record digs from a former Round Up staffer, the NMSU journalism department chair and the paper’s outgoing adviser.

Their concerns: The feature-focused magazine won’t be a needed newsy watchdog. In a related sense, the Round Up has grown gun-shy about tackling the tough stuff and this shift is more evidence of that. Students will have less opportunities to dive into deadline-oriented rough-and-tumble journalism. And the move is being made without input and support from several interested outside constituencies (including j-profs, Round Up alumni and the NMSU community as a whole).

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The front page of a spring 2015 issue of The Round Up. The paper is set to become Oncore magazine this fall.

Former Round Up EIC Tim Parker: “There won’t be anybody to keep an eye on administration. The journalism students who work for [Oncore] won’t get the experience of rigorous deadlines and news stories and meetings and stuff like that. I don’t agree with any of it. My main concern is that independent student media will disappear.”

Round Up adviser Jeff Hand, who is about to retire: “I’m not sure how a magazine, after more than 100 years of having a newspaper on campus, will meet the demands of the students. … The Round Up has gotten into some hot water in the past. I think that, over time, they’ve gotten to where they didn’t want to ruffle any feathers with the administration — and that’s what the magazine is for.”

Separately, in trying to explain the switch, the outlet’s executive director provided a perfect example of how tongue-twisting it can be to try to describe in-progress reinventions: “The Round Up is still here. It’s ‘Oncore magazine brought to you by The Round Up,’ but we’re still trying to maintain the fresh face of The Round Up and do it in a different way.”

Got that? :)

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