Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Collegian and campus collaboration

By Collegian News Staff

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This week is National Newspaper Week. Think that’s silly? So does The Massachusetts Daily Collegian.

But quick search on Google News will show readers that newspapers – unsure about their future in the thick of an economic crisis and a digital revolution – are putting out some pretty self-congratulatory editorials on the subject. “Newspapers’ relevance has never waned,” “Keeping you informed” and “Informed? Thank your paper.” We agree, it’s pathetic.

In honor of National Newspaper Week, and for the record, we at The Collegian would like to say that we think information is a two-way street.

Until recent years, The Collegian was best metric for the daily life of University of Massachusetts students. With a staff of several hundred, we got more of what was happening on campus on the record than anyone else. But now all of us – all 18,000-plus undergraduates, not to mention the graduate students, faculty, staff and community members who read The Collegian – are interconnected on the web.

Collectively, a population of 18,000 is going to procure much more information than a few hundred student journalists, no matter how much coffee we consume.

Those who have been on campus for a while have likely noticed that the print edition of The Collegian has never been smaller. Waning print advertising revenue means that our paper – scratch that, your paper – is seldom printed larger than eight broadsheet pages Mondays through Thursdays and 16 tabloid pages for The Weekend Collegian.

Yet The Collegian as a newsgathering organization has never been bigger or more ubiquitous, and our readers have never had a larger role in our news production. The Collegian is not just in lecture halls and the Campus Center; it’s on readers’ Facebook newsfeeds, Twitter feeds and RSS feeds. What’s more, since the relaunch of this September, we’ve made more money off our website than in all the years we’ve been on the web combined.

That’s not to say we’re immune to what’s happening to newspapers at large. We still have an outstanding loan from the Student Government Association, and advertisers are only going to become less interested in delivering their message in ink. Yet we made a profit last year. Many papers would like to say that. And we run a leaner, more streamlined organization than ever.

We also have access to one of the best sources of information out there: you.
In the spirit of the week, we’d like to make clear that we aren’t just a newspaper anymore. We’re a news operation and better for it. Newspapers don’t have much room for their readership to sound off, aside from a few column inches in the opinion section saved for letters to the editor. But you can comment on our stories on Facebook, or on You can submit your events to our calendar and tell us why you thought that music review sucked with just a few clicks of the mouse, and all while you’re in the back of that overstuffed lecture in Thompson Hall.

And we want you to. We need you to. We can’t cover this whole campus alone.

So tell us what you think. Tell us what you’re doing. Tell us what we’re doing right, and what we’re doing wrong. Because we need you more than you need us – this week and the next.

We don’t just want you to chime in digitally, either. Our senior editors are interested in meeting with members of the community who have suggestions and criticism for The Collegian. Leave a comment with your e-mail (which will be kept private) on this editorial on, or e-mail [email protected] and set up a time.

The future of this organization is bright, mostly because of what you can offer to it. Meanwhile, we aren’t throwing any parties this week.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of The Massachusetts Daily Collegian editorial board.


6 Responses to “Collegian and campus collaboration”

  1. MB on October 6th, 2009 10:59 pm

    Pst…news tip…that $50 million Rec Center (which you guys reported opened nearly two weeks ago – a story I believe you’ve yet to correct or retract, by the way) still isn’t open and, since they botched the inspection process, won’t be open for several weeks. You know, the biggest story on campus right now, the one that, 12 days into the debacle, has yet to even get a mention in your pages?

    If your space is really THAT limited, you miiight want to start there before you worry about covering, say, club sports. Just a friendly suggestion.


  2. William McGuinness on October 7th, 2009 10:26 am


    Thanks for the heads up. We’ve been working on the specifics of the delays – expect an article asap. In the meantime, you might have received an update from John McCutcheon (sent via the news office) that explains the delay is due to last minute inspection hiccups.
    “Concluding this process and securing an occupancy permit from the state building inspector may take several weeks. This is a state-of-the-art building, and review of its operation by the Amherst Fire Department is complex, including final assessment of fire alarms, sprinklers, emergency generators and elevators. The end result will be certification of a fully functional and safe set of facility systems.”
    Meanwhile, thanks for your patience and try working out here
    Most “New Dirt” buildings have received “soft openings” in which students are gradually introduced to the facilities (Integrated Science Building). It seems with this snap or “hard opening” these road blocks seem more public.
    Bummed out here too. I sit in front of a computer all day, so these pictures from our tour are looking way too enticing.


  3. Nick Triano '83 on October 7th, 2009 11:56 am

    Finally, a paper that gets it. I’ll second MB’s comment above about the lack of coverage on the Rec Center (I will bet money it will be open by Homecoming, though), but the Collegian is doing great work otherwise. More coverage of club sports is not a bad idea, though. And I’ll suggest that a mobile/iPhone version of the Collegian is long overdue – revenue (advertising) opportunities would appear to abound there, too.


  4. Nick Belanger on October 7th, 2009 12:32 pm

    This website is truly one of the finest college newspaper sites in the country. Breaking free from College Publisher was a huge step forward for the Daily Collegian. The Collegian has turned a profit for 3 straight years, and as an organization is making great strides to pay back the infamous SGA loans. Very few newspapers (at any level) can say they have streamlined successfully without compromising the quality of the final product. In the case of the MDC over the past several years the product has improved despite cutbacks in spending and staff.

    Congratulations Will, SP, and the entire staff of the MDC. Keep up the great work.

    Nick Belanger
    Collegian Staff 2004-08


  5. Turd Furgeson on October 7th, 2009 3:43 pm

    Thats ridiculous, the collegian was like 35k in the red excluding the loans last year.


  6. S.P. Sullivan on October 8th, 2009 4:31 pm

    Turd, while I appreciate the Burt Reynolds reference, I don’t know where you’re getting your figures. As disclosed, we have an outstanding loan, but we definitely made a profit last year, and are on track to do the same this year.

    I’ve only been on staff since 2006, and have been on the editorial board since 2007. I can definitely attest to a big shift towards fiscal responsibility and innovation.


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