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The future of local news is “civic information,” not “declining legacy systems,” says new report
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Aug. 24, 2021, 11:41 a.m.
LINK: www.sbstatesman.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Sarah Scire   |   August 24, 2021

The print products of student news organizations have been standing on a precipice for a while now. The pandemic — which has disrupted university life and kept student journalists away from their campuses — has given many of them a fatal shove.

The long-term outlook for student newspapers wasn’t exactly rosy before the pandemic hit. The University of Maryland’s independent student newspaper, The Diamondback, announced in September 2019 that they’ll stop publishing a newspaper in March 2020 — right as Covid-19 would wind up entering the scene — and many more had already ceased printing or reduced publication schedules. Still, deserted campuses and slashed student life budgets have taken a particularly high toll on student newspapers and magazines over the last year.

The Associated Collegiate Press said they have not been collecting information on the exact number of student newspapers that have gone digital-only since the pandemic started. Ron Johnson, the association’s communications director, confirmed he was seeing “significant shifts to digital” but noted that a number of student news organizations were keeping “some print presence, even if it’s a weekly, twice monthly or monthly publication for visibility.”

I’ve collected a handful of announcements below, but it’s not just American student journalists dealing with the fallout from the pandemic. Research from the U.K.-based Student Publication Association found that fully half of its student newspapers fear they’ll never be able to print again.

A lot of the announcements include a variation on “after 100 years of publication …”

The “alma mater” of my colleague Hanaa’ Tameez is also ceasing publication. She sounded an optimistic note for student journalists — and alumni — going through something similar.

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