Minnesota Daily implements changes

This fall, the Daily will enact changes for employees and readers alike.

by Eliana Schreiber

The Minnesota Daily will implement a new strategy to better engage readers and reach a wider audience beginning this fall.

A new Daily website will be launched by the start of the upcoming fall semester, and the newspaper’s print publication will be cut to two issues a week.

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.”