The following Press Release was issued by ASU Student Media and The State Press on Nov. 15, 2012.
ASU’s student news organization, The State Press, announced Thursday that its focus will shift from daily newspapers to a host of new digital products and special print products, including a weekly newspaper that will be distributed within ASU’s residence halls and to news racks across all of ASU’s four campuses, beginning in the 2013 Spring semester.
The new digital products include a new website optimized for viewing on mobile devices, updated iPhone and Android apps, as well as a new iPad app.
The new weekly newspaper, to be distributed on Thursdays, will offer in-depth news and feature stories, weekend entertainment and sports previews, as well as opinion columns and cartoons.
“As student journalists, we look across an entire spectrum of new media tools and see huge potential,” said State Press Executive Editor Julie Vitkovskaya. “The leadership staff of the State Press is incredibly excited to announce its focus on a digital-first newsroom with a weekly print product that is twice the size of our current issues.”
Reader interest in State Press Web, mobile, social media offerings has steadily increased in recent years, while interest in the daily newspaper has decreased, according to Student Media staff. Meanwhile, reader interest in special print products like State Press Magazine and special sections covering ASU sports has remained steady.
“The shift to a digital newsroom actually began with our readers,” Vitkovskaya said. “College students consume more media than ever before, yet they’re receiving that information from their computers, smartphones and tablets. We’re all connecting, sharing and relating to each other on multiple social media channels and a part of that modern communication involves the digital news media.”
ASU Student Media director Jason Manning said the new focus on digital products and targeted print distribution meshes well with the organization’s mission.
“Our first priorities have always been serving the ASU community and giving our student journalists the best possible training for the professional world,” Manning said. “We can’t do that using old products, old methods and old thinking. We are re-inventing the college newspaper for the 21st Century. As far as I know, our new approach is unique among college media organizations.”
Manning said student journalists need training that matches what they will face in professional media organizations.
“The truth is our students are probably not going to be asked to layout a daily print newspaper when they hit the professional world,” Manning said. “They’re going to be given assignments that involve data, computer programming, social media, writing for the web, digital design, videography and a number of other skills that we teach now and will be able to teach more thoroughly with this new approach.”
Manning said the new focus will help improve the financial outlook for the organization, providing new and better vehicles for advertisers who want to communicate with ASU students.
“Advertising revenue follows readership,” Manning said. “And our readership at ASU is tech savvy, wired, and on the go. They live in a digital world and consume most of their information using digital formats. When they do pick up a print product they expect it to be something special that adds value to their lives.”
Vitkovskaya said the new approach will preserve the tradition of student journalism at ASU, where a student newspaper has been on campus since 1890.
“We have a tradition of covering our University in an independent and responsible way, commenting on its changes and being the paper of record for our community,” Vitkovskaya said. “That tradition is very much alive and will continue as new editors step into their roles. Our era has ushered in a digital component to this tradition, and if our newsroom cannot meet this new reality face-to-face, we will become a part of its past.”
Manning said ASU is the perfect place to experiment with new approaches to media.
“We are at a university that embraces innovation,” Manning said. “We in are a unique position to create a new future for community-based and university-based journalism — one that offers our students new opportunities and possibilities. It is an exciting time to be involved in college media.”
Director of Student Media, ASU
Executive Editor, The State Press