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PBS's MediaShift blog offers advice to student newspapers

PBS’s MediaShift blog had some interesting insight to offer college newspapers in the wake of the New York Times’ predicted move to install a paywall on their site.

Specifically, the site urged student newspapers not to be lured into the promise of a paywall. While I’d say that’s sound advice, I’m not sure there is much legitimate discussion amongst college newspapers to install paywalls while they’re still offering their print product for free.

Nevertheless, the blog offered some tips about how college newspapers can keep afloat in uncertain times.

According to MediaShift:

1. Beef up off-campus reporting.

MediaShift says student journalists should make sure to step off campus, covering their communities.

But if the new journalism world is going to separate will-pay and won’t-pay readers, some extra reporting about local and even national news could be a huge draw.

2. Extend Peer Content Sharing:

Look to fellow college newspapers to get make your content more well rounded.

We are living in a post-UWIRE world in which content distribution among college media is tougher than ever. (Though I have high hopes College News Network or a similar future initiative will save the day).

3. A “three point strategy”

  1. Stick with local news reporting depth.
  2. Add national news breadth.
  3. Be an open window, not a pay wall.