At Spectator, we often talk about ways we can improve our coverage and increase our outreach, but rarely do these conversations translate into meaningful action.
We’re trying something new this year. Starting in the fall semester, the Columbia Daily Spectator will make its journalism—and its online presentation—the priority, publishing a weekly print product while bolstering its commitment to sharp, round-the-clock coverage of Columbia and the surrounding neighborhoods.
While we will no longer print five days per week, we will be more “daily” than ever. This move will strengthen our efforts to be a 24/7 news source for Columbia and the local community, putting us in a position to fund enhancements to our website, overhaul our newsroom culture, and spend more time producing the top-quality journalism that is—and always will be—at the core of Spectator’s mission.
Spectator has produced an award-winning print product five days a week, but we know the vast majority of our readers consume our content online, not in print. Most students are finding their way to articles through links on Facebook and Twitter, not through the stacks of papers delivered around campus each day. By untying ourselves from the daily print production schedule, we will free editors and writers to focus on providing our readers with the stories they want through the medium they prefer.
In line with the changes to Spectator, The Eye will become an online magazine. As is the case for the rest of Spectator, its audience is primarily online. With a major redesign coming this summer, The Eye’s website will be brand-new in the fall, providing us an opportunity to create beautiful online visuals and interactive graphics to complement the magazine’s signature long-form journalism.
With this new Web-first model, we hope to bring you more of the stories that need to be told—breaking news, comprehensive investigations, dynamic multimedia, and colorful commentary. In order to do all this, we’re expanding our team of Web developers, redesigning aspects of our website, and looking for more student journalists, photographers, videographers, and designers to join us across the board.
Our once-weekly print issue will come out on Thursdays, and will feature a mix of content distinct from the daily news that we will continue to publish on our website. Although we are moving away from the daily print model, we still believe in the potential of print. With our new weekly product, we plan to give you a reason to pick up the paper. With more pages and a creative design, we will showcase in-depth news stories, weekend sports and arts coverage, and opinion content.
Spectator is in a strong financial position to make this change. Nonprint revenue, which is generated by our student-run business team, has increased 200 percent since 2012 and now exceeds revenues generated from our print edition. This gives Spectator the financial stability required to move toward a digital future unsupported by print revenue.
A portion of the funds currently used to print the daily newspaper will be reallocated to expand Spectator’s work-study program. It is difficult for students with work-study jobs to also take on roles at Spectator that require significant hours. Spectator seeks to build a staff as diverse as the Columbia community itself, and by increasing our work-study funds, we will take a tangible step toward that goal.
This fall will be an enormous experiment, and we don’t know exactly how it’s going to work out. It will be difficult, and we’re going to make mistakes. But we are confident that we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re eager to see what the students that make up Spectator can do.
As Spectator moves forward, we want to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, send a message on Facebook, or just stop by 2875 Broadway. Your feedback is essential for us to achieve our goal: to find innovative ways to tell meaningful stories and engage you—our readers.
Abby Abrams, Editor in Chief
Steven Lau, Managing Editor
Michael Ouimette, Publisher