Making Sense of the Media
7:23 am
Thu September 26, 2013

College Newspapers Going Digital

A lot of journalists got at least some of their early experience at a college newspaper.

Credit rit.edu

But someday soon that experience may not include working for a college newspaper that contains news printed on actual paper.

More and more college papers are going to online versions only.

There's a cost savings obviously:  no printing or papers costs.

But is there a cost to student journalists who will no longer get the chance to work out some of their journalistic kinks for a published newspaper?

Kelly McBride, who was an editor at her college paper -- The University of Missouri's "The Maneater" -- said her college experience taught her plenty about a kind of journalism that isn't being practiced now.

"I learned how to conceptualize a text-based story, learned how to go out and get the sources and I learned how to write that story and adhere to a deadline," explained McBride. "But I didn't learn a lot of the skills that I would need now if I was working in a newsroom -- how to work in a 24-hour news environment."

McBride said she thinks today's journalism student can actually get a more well-rounded journalistic experience working in a digital-only environment.

"You can learn about the crowd and how the crowd responds to a story," McBride said. "You also learn about doing stories in smaller chunks, iterations of stories, rather than this one complete product that you would traditionally do for a newspaper. There are different skill sets that you learn when you work in a digital environment that are absolutely crucial to today's professional journalist."