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 Tuesday, March 13, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


The Campus Press in cyberspace
By Linda Besen, Publications and Creative Services

When Dean Paul Voakes came to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2003, he noticed a couple of odd things about campus news dissemination. First, what people thought of as the campus newspaper (the Colorado Daily) was really a private, for-profit paper and second, the independent, student-run venue for campus news was languishing as a weekly newspaper with diminished readership and almost no advertising. The Campus Press was what Voakes calls “a surrogate student paper.”

Through his experience at other universities, Voakes knew that a daily campus newspaper is vital for educational enrichment. Combine this with his mission — to train the journalists of the future — and the light bulb went on. “No one really knows what the daily news will look like 10 years from now, but we know that it is changing radically,” said Voakes. “It's a media transformation, and the journalism school wants its students to be on the leading edge.”

So in spring 2006, the Campus Press began its evolution to a 24/7, online, multimedia news outlet serving the entire CU-Boulder campus.

It includes:

  • Specialized News and Features: Pages for News, Entertainment, Community, Outdoors, Money, Health, Culture, Opinion and Spotlight.
  • Blogs: Nine “bloggers,” nonstaff student writers, publishing their opinions, pictures, news and information on the site any time of night or day. Reader responses also published 24/7.
  • Podcasts: Audio files of interviews with prominent campus and Boulder figures.
  • Survey: A regular poll to gauge student opinion on current issues.
  • Weather: A live feed with current Boulder conditions.
  • Nation/World: Up-to-the-minute news from wire services.
  • Live radio: A continual live feed from KVCU, the student radio station.

Certainly there were growing pains associated with the transformation, as Voakes expressed in his December graduation remarks: “Change of this magnitude hasn’t been easy, but I want to thank the Campus Press seniors for work that was truly pioneering.”

The next step in the evolution of the Campus Press concerns staff, currently made up of about 50 students from two journalism courses. Voakes hopes that at some point in the next few years the Campus Press will become an independent student organization. Voakes said this will remove the classroom situation of “working to a grade,” and open the newspaper to student participation from all colleges and schools. Toward this end, funding recently was approved by the provost for a professional exempt position of advisor to the Campus Press.

This semester, the capstone class for senior advertising majors is creating and launching a marketing and advertising campaign for the Campus Press. They want to reach every student and have some innovative ideas, such as emphasizing the environmental friendliness of a paperless newspaper.

Readership is edging up every week. According to Justin Kutner, marketing director for the Campus Press, readership numbers have increased fourfold since the paper went online in August 2006.

You can see it all on the Campus Press website.

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