Three years ago, I chose to attend UMass because it printed a daily newspaper: The Massachusetts Daily Collegian. To me, the promise of fresh print in the morning and the opportunity to work for a daily were far more appealing than the “award winning” food in the dining commons, free entrance to Division I sporting events, the “small college feel” or any of the other things the admissions office tries to sell students on.
So it pains me to say that this is the last Friday paper. This is the last week the Collegian will be scheduled to print five days. This freshman class was the last one to have an opportunity to work for a true daily.
After months of debate, the newspaper’s executive board voted on Monday night to eliminate the Friday edition of the newspaper starting next semester. It was a split decision with both sides arguing their case passionately. But in the end, it all came down to math. Between the loan the newspaper has to pay off to the Student Government Association, the cost of printing and a decline in Friday’s advertising revenue, we just couldn’t afford to keep printing it in the long term.
The Collegian is not alone in this. In the last two weeks of May 2012, six
newspapers, citing financial strains, announced they would cut back their printing schedules.
The belief seems to be that newspapers are too expensive to print and that more people read news on the Web these days.
But society can’t afford for newspapers to stop printing. Newspapers sort and prioritize information in a way the Internet currently doesn’t. And beacons of new media like The Huffington Post give readers what they want, not what they need.
It’s a dangerous path, but one newspapers will continue to go down until readers and advertisers begin to support the industry again.
I hope one day the Collegian will be a daily newspaper again, and that another freshman will feel the same rush I did stepping into the newsroom. However, I think it’s unlikely to happen.
And for those of you who feel this pain as acutely as I do, I’m sorry I couldn’t save the paper, but know that I tried.
Katie Landeck, Editor in Chief