The newspaper business has been in a long slide, and many smaller newspapers have either folded or curtailed circulation in the last few years. But the Daily Illini at the University of Illinois may have come up with the best reason for eliminating one edition of the paper—sleeping students.
According to a report in the News-Gazette, Darshan Patel, the head of the student newspaper, said that while the decision to no longer print the paper on Friday is a cost-cutting move, it was rooted in the changing patterns of how students get their news.
The head of the student newspaper at the University of Illinois says a publication change has a dual focus:
What we noticed on our website and now on the mobile site is that more students go to that than pick up our papers. We get more clicks per week on that than pickup rates around campus. We kind of knew that eventually we wanted to start focusing more and more on photo galleries, more stories online, more breaking news.
For specifically Friday, we thought that a lot of students don’t have that many classes on Friday, a lot of them tend to stay in, sleep in, so the paper doesn’t get as much of a pickup rate.
Patel said that the website will add new content on Fridays, presumably once the paper’s staff wakes up.
College newspapers have been particularly hard hit by the rapid changes in technology—particularly smartphones—which their young audiences have adopted in droves, giving them current news and entertainment constantly throughout the day, instead of the day-old fare in the printed paper.
Cutting the Friday edition is just the next step toward eventually going online only—and they won’t be able to blame that on sleeping students.
Don Irvine is the chairman of both Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia. If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org