Earlier this month, The Oklahoma Daily announced it it would cancel its print edition for the rest of the summer and focus on online content. Now the university has reversed its decision due to a monetary donation from Student Affairs.
The Daily reports that Student Affairs is giving $4,000 in funding to Student Media after the university received complaints for canceling the summer print edition. The newspaper reports the university has reversed its online-only decision and will use the funds to pay for a yearlong study to help the newspaper generate reader feedback and recommendations.
The initial announcement in early June caught my attention, so I decided to write a story about how college newspapers in the state are experimenting with online ventures and advertising. Anne Richard, associate director for student media at the University of Oklahoma, was interviewed for the story and said it would help staff try new things online and possibly redesign the website.
“It is costly to print during the summer, and there are fewer students on campus,” she said. “I definitely think the goal is always to save money and do what makes sense for both our readers and advertisers,” Richard said.
The Daily reports that Susan Sasso, associate vice president of Student Affairs and associate dean of students, said Student Media should wait until the study is complete before making any changes.
For my story that ran Sunday, I interviewed Mark Thomas, executive vice president for the Oklahoma Press Association, who said he thinks OU was making a big mistake by scaling back the print edition. He said he even felt sorry for students who went to the university to learn because a print edition in the summer would not be available to them.
“I think it’s a mistake for OU to cut back,” Thomas said. “People should be learning how to run a business, and how people make money, too.”
“It’s not going to pay the bills.”