Wired News has predicted that a major newspaper will abandon print and go solely online in 2007. A bold prediction that leaves out a definition of “major.”
Some other sources I’ve been reading suggests it may be the Washington Post.
Surely some newspaper somewhere will do just that. Indeed some smaller rural newspapers have already done so. Bryan Murley at Innovation in College Media blogs that it could happen at the college level next fall. A couple of student publications across the country have already done that. He even goes so far as to suggest conditions that would allow it.
A small advertising base
A majority of funding from student fees
A small staff
A visionary editor
A forward-thinking adviser
A fully wired campus
Wiill any JACC publications go solely online in 2007? Maybe.
Cypress College would like to be the first, and that could happen. But it seems unlikely. I think a key component is lacking from Murley’s list that affects JACC papers like the Charger Chronicle. That component is readership. Which of us has found the solution to drive our student audience to OUR web sites in large enough numbers. If schools would set all campus computer browsers to default to the campus newspaper it might work. Or we need to find another solution. Remember, one of the key reasons colleges have a student newspaper is to reach the campus’ students. They’re spending time online, but not necessarily at our sites.
Who else might go online? The first online-only JACC paper is more likely to come from a school like Allan Hancock or Evergreen, schools that have flirted with school publications, but have been unwilling to devote enough resources. Such a move is likely to be student-driven.
For the rest of us getting online, staying online, growing online and understanding online will be the watchwords for 2007. Most of the JACC schools are either online now or in the process –West Valley, LA City and Diablo Valley being the most prominent in their absence. Also AWOL is Los Medanos, which has one of the most innovative self-grown sites in the state with its Filemaker backbone. But campus server problems have kept it offline all fall semester. Missing schools who are in various stages of going online, from just barely starting to almost there are:
Most are looking to the College Publisher platform as the answer, though some refuse to go that direction and a couple of schools (such as Santa Monica and Santa Rosa) are abandoning that platform. You’ve got to love diversity, but the potential of an integrated JACC network through College Publisher is enticing, too. That’ll happen in 2007, too, but major schools will be left out because of their independent route decisions.