Students at the University of Georgia cannot pick up their daily copy of the Red & Black student newspaper anymore. The publication has ditched a daily newsprint edition for an online-first strategy.
The Red & Black still publishes a weekly printed copy on Thursdays. And students now also produce a monthly magazine with more in-depth stories. But for daily news, sports and features, you have to visit www.redandblack.com.
“We’re doing this for our students and for the university community,” said Editor in Chief Rachel Bowers, a senior. “This is what we feel like is happening in the industry and we should be on the cutting edge of that.”
It’s a seismic shift for a paper that’s been rolling off the presses since 1893. But Bowers and editorial adviser Ed Morales said the change is an effort to better serve college students who are always online.
It’s also about training the country’s next journalists.
“If we’re an educational organization and we’re trying to train people to be journalists, and this is what journalists are doing, professional journalists are doing, shouldn’t we be doing that?” Morales said. “And if we can do it in a way that keeps us economically viable, shouldn’t we do that?”
In the first few weeks since the switch, Morales said website traffic is up.
The paper’s publisher, Harry Montevideo, said any drop in advertising revenue that might come with fewer printed issues will be more than offset by reduced printing and distribution costs.
The Red & Black is the first major college newspaper in the country to drop print editions in favor of an online-first strategy.