[Vandal] Argonaut To Abandon Weekly Print Edition

robiegruss at aol.com robiegruss at aol.com
Thu Apr 22 08:19:29 PDT 2021

>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoThursday, April 22, 2021
Argonaut To Abandon Weekly Print Edition
Idaho’s student newspaper will shift to digital-first format after May 5th
By Scott Jackson
MOSCOW — After more than 120 years as a print publication, the University of Idaho’s student-run newspaper, the Argonaut, has announced it will become a primarily online news organization starting in May.
In a letter from Managing Editor Anteia McCollum posted online Tuesday, the paper will shift to a digital-first format and cease producing a regular weekly print edition.
“We want to meet our readers where they are, and that is no longer at the newspaper stands with a print paper,” McCollum wrote.
The Argonaut’s final print edition will be published May 5th. Student and faculty leaders with the newspaper say the move does not mark an end, but a new chapter for independent student media at Idaho.
Tara Roberts, who helps oversee student media at the University, said she has been looking into shifting the Argonaut toward a digital-first format for at least the last two years. She said there are a number of advantages to the change.
She said the modern media landscape increasingly requires aspiring journalists to develop an arsenal of skills associated with the digital news landscape. These include social media savvy and the ability to report in a variety of formats like print, audio and video. She said it makes sense to create a space for students to hone and demonstrate these skills.
In her advisory role as student media manager, Roberts said she compiled a report, but the decision was a group effort involving students and alumni — many of whom are news professionals themselves. After discussions with each and the approval of a Student Media Board, composed of students, faculty and community members, a decision was reached.
“It is important, I think, to note that we’re not stopping printing fully — we recognize that there is a place for a print paper, especially on weekends where we have a lot of visitors to Moscow,” Roberts said, noting there will likely be opportunities once a month or so to create a print product that might appeal to visiting alumni and parents. “That does serve advertisers well to have print papers on a week that there are a lot of people in town and it does give our students, then, some experience in building that and thinking about a print paper.”
Argonaut Editor-in-Chief Zack Kellogg said the pacing of a digital-first format will not only be more appropriate for modern news appetites but it will also be more compatible with student schedules. He said the set-up unlocks the paper from a weekly print schedule, allowing them to post news as it happens rather than waiting until they go to print in the middle of the week. It also gives editors the latitude to set deadlines for reporters on a story-by-story basis instead of on a rigid weekly schedule.
While the news team, himself included, were hesitant when they first learned of the proposal to shift online, Kellogg said the more they learned about it, the more they supported the move.
Emily Pierce, a reporter and editor who has been with the paper since her freshman year at the University in 2018, said she’s still a little nervous about the shift, but has little doubt that the student newspaper will find its rhythm within a semester or two.
“At the beginning, I thought it was a totally crazy idea — we had the systems in place, we worked on a schedule and for me now, it’s muscle memory to stay on that schedule of going and getting that print paper done,” she said. “But right now we’re just scrapping that and starting new. I kind of think of it as like a new era for student media.”
Kellogg said the move to digital-first also makes sense from a readership standpoint. He said Argonaut readers are primarily split between three groups — alumni, students and the Moscow community.
While there may be some nostalgia for a tangible print product among alumni, he said students and community members and modern news readers in general are most likely to seek their news coverage online.
“In all honesty, I don’t think they’ll miss it too much,” Kellogg said.
“Companies aren’t really buying ads to put in print because they see that not a lot of people are going to print papers especially for their news coverage or their information,” he added. “Everything’s online now, for the most part. That’s where people go first.”
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