Minnesota Daily to cease daily publication

A lot of journalists, including a few at a local radio network, have come through the Minnesota Daily, the University of Minnesota newspaper.

Now it will probably have to come up with a new name because the Minnesota Daily is going to be the Minnesota Twice-A-Week, according to a notice posted on the newspaper’s website today, complete with the usual buzzwords to make a bug sound like a feature.

And it probably is, considering that holding a dead tree full of ink is not exactly in the wheelhouse of its intended audience.

The shift is part of a trend other college newspapers have successfully adopted in recent years.

The Daily’s Board of Directors worked with students over past months to build on ways to further engage readers.

A study by the Carlson School of Management’s Carlson Consulting Enterprises assessed news consumption and readership trends among college-aged students. The findings suggested newspapers that cultivated their digital platforms found more success in student audience engagement.

In response, the Daily will increase its online and social media presences.

The most prominent change the University of Minnesota community will notice is the switch from four days of printing to two, said Editor-in-Chief Dylan Scott.

The newspaper will print on Mondays and Thursdays and will be supplemented by constant updates on the new website, which will be more compatible with mobile devices like cell phones and tablets, he said.

More funds will be set aside for the web department, and workflow will be refocused on web content, he said.

With the shift to digital platforms, the Daily will become more accessible to student readers and more attractive to advertisers, said Business Operations Officer Elizabeth Luke.

The new website will be much more responsive than it has been previously, Luke said. The site will be updated throughout the day instead of every 24 hours with the print issues.

The website and the print publications will contain different content, she said, so it will be worthwhile for students to read both.

“The change we’re making is to make ourselves more appealing to the

student audience that we’re trying to reach,” Luke said.

Initially, the Daily’s Board of Directors was hesitant to support the changes, said Board Chair and University School of Journalism and Mass Communication Senior Lecturer Gayle Golden.

The changes were entirely student-led, Golden said. The idea to reduce print came to the board from a combination of this and last year’s student leadership, she said.

The board is protective of the Daily’s place in the community, Golden said, and members were sensitive about reducing print.

However, she said the study showed the board that a four-day print schedule actually hurt the paper’s ability to connect with students.

“The reality is that we are not abandoning our mission of being a daily; we’re not abandoning journalism,” Golden said. “We’re actually doing all we can to serve the University community.”

Since the papers will only print two days a week, advertisers will have a longer rack life, which will also make the Daily more exciting, she said.

“It will have a special presence,” Golden said. “The Daily will be something to look forward to.”

  • Robert Moffitt

    The Daily was the first media outlet to break the story about expensive renovations at Kenneth Keller’s official residence that eventually cost him his job as university president. When auditors found items like $17k desks, he was cooked. Being on vacation in Hawaii when the story really got hot didn’t help, either.

  • wjc

    Print is dead!

  • PaulJ

    Is the Daily only concerned with the Twin Cities campus? Would that change now that it is not printed?

  • CHS

    This is one of those things I struggle with. I really enjoyed the Daily when I was on campus. I’d always grab one and read between classes, it was something I could shove in my bag and pull out on the bus, or anywhere. Having the physical paper meant a lot to me, still does. However that was before they even had a website, and smartphones were not smart, and there was little wifi around campus. It pains me to think of the daily not printing, but it’s a different time and place now, and I’m in no position to say that it’s not the right move for the current students.

    • Tim

      I had the same experience with it, and I still check out their website at least a couple of times a week. It’s sad to see it printed less often, but I understand why they’re making that decision, and I think it’s the right one.

      • It always seemed to me that the U of M Journalism Department has been VERY slow to transition to educating re: online journalism. Could this benefit a heretofore print-heavy curriculum?

        • Tim

          It may; the Daily is separate from the SJMC, but of course there is a lot of overlap.

          I think a large part of the slow transition has been that, as good as they are, most of the faculty’s background for a long time has been print, though I can think of a few notable exceptions from my own experience. I think this is changing, though, and they will continue to get stronger in this area.

  • Veronica

    Sounds like a thoughtful, positive decision.

  • Paulc

    huh – one of my earliest jobs was as a keyliner for the Daily. Will go feel old now. 🙂

  • Gary F

    In the mid 80’s I had a friend on the St Paul campus that told me they got their Daily a day later so the farm kids would feel at home.

  • Robb Mitchell

    I appreciate that the Minnesota Daily is going to continue a print schedule even though it won’t be daily. I still think there are use scenarios for a print product, especially in the context of the campus and commuters but I think they have to find a unique position for digital and print content maximizing the effectiveness and functional use of each. There is something of a myth in publishing that digital can completely replace print and I don’t think that’s the case. Digital has real advantages that make it uniquely suitable for certain use scenarios, content and ad devilry, however, so does print. One doesn’t cancel out the other. If you apply human centered criteria to the print vs. digital content delivery systems, I think you can find how each can compliment the other but they are right to reallocate resources while not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It will require a deep dive and some experimentation to find the balance and work out details of how they can reach both readers and advertisers best served by the two platforms but they are at the University and it should be a challenge they take on as a school at the University.