Five changes the college newspaper business must make to survive

With colleges and universities having to tighten belts like never before, student activities are taking a major hit.  This coming year, many student publications must make significant changes to keep up with the times, and here are some simple tweaks which could help your newspaper reach the next level.

1.  Be flexible with your medium, but don’t forget the printed piece:  the kiss of death for any editor is to become set in ones ways.  Even if you are a one term boss, think in a transformational fashion.  Apps are the “x factor” for successful publications.  Still, old-school paper is the most valuable tool in your toolbox.  Say your connection goes down and there’s no way to get hack up….start the presses!  Keep an online version with a PDF copy ready to go “live” at a moments notice.

2. Specialize your outlets:  let’s assume you offer both print and online, make your printed piece an in-depth, feature oriented publication focusing on items and ads that would appeal to those who like reading books and magazines.  Use your online and WiFi medium for breaking, fast paced and pithy updates.  With the web, less is more in terms of length.

3. Get creative with income:  even though a college newspaper is usually financed thought student fees or an endowment, they are expected to run like a business.  That said, fundraising in professional manner is critical to the operational end.  Websites like GoFundMe and the like are optimal for smaller publications, while larger pubs should look at grants from major foundations and companies specializing in developing talent.

4.  Synergy isn’t just a buzzword:   it’s a survival tool.  Instead of competing with a campus tv or radio program, trying merging the operations.  Get creative with institution departments about internships and credit equivalency.  Advertising could be apply to marketing course credit.  Business management to a BBA program, and so on.  Be visionary and pitch it in manner which demonstrates a clear cost-benefit relationship.

5.  Find that one person everyone loves to hate and market the crap out of them.  Enough said there.  You get readers and there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

This is just a few ideas….I encourage your thoughts.

One thought on “Five changes the college newspaper business must make to survive

  1. Pingback: Newsprint as a canvas | SoshiTech

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