According to the Pew Research Center, in 2008 more people said they got their news online than on the printed page, and the American Society of News Editors reports that employment in the country’s newsrooms has fallen by 15% in the past two years. So the likelihood of my getting a job in the traditional newspaper industry is getting slim. Both the newspaper business and aspiring young journalists must adapt to a new era.
A key challenge the newspaper business is facing is to maintain readership. Much of the younger generation, including myself, is no longer holding the traditional morning coffee in one hand and paper in the other. Papers may not be able to bring young readers to the printed version, but they have to create really attractive online sites that will be able to trump the proliferation of blogs, RSS feeds and social networks where many members of my generation get their news and opinion.
Although this global challenge may not directly apply to the UltraViolet, because many students do take the time to read our printed product, it’s important for our staff to address it just like the “big guys.” The first challenge I, as your editor-in-chief, and the rest of the editing team (which includes Brianne, Cassidy, and Colleen) will face is to keep the UV’s mission intact, whether students read us online or in print. We must write about a wide variety of topics and report different perspectives, and we must address sensitive and controversial issues with objectivity. That said, the second major challenge is to get more people reading the UV Online. As much as we love getting our hands smudged with ink, we want to give you more accessible options, the most updated news, and the opportunity to give direct feedback to what you read. Hey, we want the UV Online to be the Marlborough “Facebook” community (but with less gossip and more insight). That’s going to take a lot of work on our part, but it also requires you to make it happen. Hopefully, by the end of next year, you’ll procrastinate not only by clicking away pictures of your hot guy friends on FB, but also by commenting on the UV site about how you think the cafeteria should lower its fruit prices.
Thirdly (and most importantly) I want you to join the paper! (Imagine my face on an Uncle Sam poster right now). Thanks to our previous editors, we have a national award winning paper. However, this cannot continue if the staff has only five members (which might be the case after the graduation of seniors next year). You’re reading it. Why not write for it? You’ll learn valuable writing, designing, and leadership skills. We have a bomb newspaper team, so you don’t want to miss out. If you want to join, come talk to Mr. Krewatch or me. From striving reporters to tech geeks skilled at Dreamweaver, you are more than welcome on our staff.
I can’t wait to face the challenges as your editor: As Doc (and Bob Dylan) always say “Oh the times they are a-changin.’”