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Editor’s note: Why we ran a full-page ad on the front cover of today’s Collegian

Dear readers,

Today, you may have noticed that the front page of the Collegian features a full-page advertisement instead of our daily’s top news stories.

While this might not raise any immediate red flags, we thought we should take the opportunity to explain this decision anyway.

It’s not a secret that revenue numbers, and particularly print advertising revenue, are declining at newspapers across the country. This trend is affecting newspapers, big or small, and even at the college level. So although the Collegian is in a rather uniquely fortunate position, with a community that remains vested in supporting collegiate journalism and truly values our daily missions, we’d be lying if we said times weren’t a bit tough and all is not so quiet on the financial front.

So, we’re innovating – but only a bit. As our readers who have been here for more than one year may note, we’ve cut down on circulation and cut the Friday paper. Those decisions were difficult, but they allow us the financial stability to continue to produce excellent journalism for you, in-print and online, every day. Today’s unusual ad placement was a decision made for similar reasons.

Don’t anticipate on seeing front page ads all that often (truthfully, they’re expensive). As a staff, we also determined that if major news were to break, the ad would be moved before publication. In sum, we recognize that our mission to continue to serve the community is of utmost importance, and while this ad is an innovative (though not unheard of) tactic to help aid our funding, we certainly prefer just getting straight to the news.

For today though, we’re opening up about this ethical conundrum to the community, in hopes that you’ll share your insights and continue to turn the page on how to support collegiate journalism with us.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hewitt, Editor in Chief

Comments
5 Responses to “Editor’s note: Why we ran a full-page ad on the front cover of today’s Collegian”
  1. Dan O'Brien says:

    Former Collegian News Editor here! (Class of 2006). I’m also a former newspaper reporter (Boston Herald; New Hampshire Union Leader; among others), and I currently work in the communications and marketing office of Emerson College — so I have a pretty educated perspective about this.

    First of all – I completely empathize with the financial position the Collegian is in. Journalism is not cheap, and the newspaper model is becoming extinct. It was tough when I was a student editor 8 years ago, and I can’t imagine how much more difficult it has become.

    That being said – I don’t know if having an ad covering the ENTIRE front page was the best idea. I am not opposed to ads on page one in this day and age (although I had a different opinion a few years ago.)

    But maybe in the future, you folks could consider this: How about an ad on PART of the front page, and then, to make it attractive to advertisers, JUMP to full-page ad for the same advertiser on page 3 (the second most viewed page after P1.)

    It just seems a little odd to take up the entire front page.

    Just my two cents here. I completely understand the situation you’re all in.

    Best of luck.

    -Dan

  2. Larry Kelley says:

    If you said you were doing this to dramatize the plight of print newspapers, and it was only a one time PR stunt, I would call it brilliant. But to actually consider it a part of an ongoing business model is misguided. Sure, as Dan says, put advertising on the front page and charge a hefty premium (or use stickers as both the Gazette and Republican now do) but please keep a solid wall intact between editorial/news and advertising.

  3. John Thieme says:

    One way to save money: there’s no urgent need for colour printing outside of a small tranche of advertising. The news isn’t sacrificed by black-and-white photography for news stories and colour is largely a superficial frippery. Using less colour would cut costs.

  4. Noman says:

    Out of curiosity, what are the Collegian’s overhead costs, considering the staff isn’t paid?

  5. N. says:

    Stop printing so many papers. I’m sure bales of them get thrown away constantly. This winter the lederle lobby floor has been covered in them more times than I can count.

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