CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Cavalier Daily, the University of Virginia’s independent student newspaper, announced Friday a comprehensive plan to shift focus from the traditional daily newspaper to a digital-first newsroom. Starting in August 2013 the organization will replace its daily newspaper with a revamped biweekly newsmagazine and expand online and mobile content offerings.
The newsmagazines will hit stands twice a week – Monday and Thursday – and offer extensive analysis, informative graphics and an increased focus on features, local entertainment and weekend previews.
This is only the latest in a string of shift among college newspapers away from the daily print product.
The last time I was interviewed about these types of changes, I was careful to point out that it wasn’t a “trend,” as only a couple of large-circulation papers (the Red & Black at Georgia and Oregon State at the time) had done so. Now, with UVA and a possible online-only move by the American University Eagle, I think “trend” is a useful term.
ASU and UVA won’t be implementing their “digital first” initiatives until the fall, so it will be interesting to watch what happens when they do. One thing that’s important to remember is that shifting platforms doesn’t decrease the amount of news that needs to be covered. If you’re going to do more with both print and online, you’re going to need to invest in more resources, specifically people.