That yearly ritual is upon us once again: the first day of school. Supplies and textbooks purchased, schedules sorted out, first-day-of-school pictures taken and texted to family to prove we survived the summer.
Summer for me meant three months away from Colorado State University, but it’s like I’d never left. That feeling is partially because, since last spring, my co-workers and I at the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation have busily planned for this moment. And this year isn’t like other years.
On a personal level, I’m a senior stepping into my last year at school and my last year working for student media. It already feels different with the prospect of job-hunting looms on my horizon.
In my life and in the newsroom, “change” is the buzzword. Last year, we decided to dive into the idea of “digital first” and really put it into action this summer — putting articles and videos and photos and anything else we create on collegian.com before they reach the Collegian newspaper or the nightly CTV shows. You now have the workings of student media at your fingertips and it’s easier than ever to get campus news.
We broke the barriers within our newsroom and merged the Collegian and CTV staffs so we can craft better and collaborative multimedia stories that readers can enjoy online. If our audience is still hankering for tradition, the Collegian will be on the racks around campus and the nightly CTV shows will air on channel 11.
The student media newsroom is what I like to call “The Great Experiment.” Everything is student-run and we have the freedom to make decisions and cover stories that we hope will serve our readers. If you’re reading this column in the paper, you’ve probably noticed one of the more obvious changes. Instead of a traditional broadsheet format four days a week, we’ve switched to the square tabloid for five days a week.
It’s not that the broadsheet has gone out of style. Most papers you grab off the racks still use that tried-and-true traditional format, and I happen to love the look and feel of a broadsheet. But after the Collegian switched to a new printing company, we discussed if the broadsheet was the best fit for our audience — the college students who read the paper as they walk to class or perform a complicated origami-inspired folding tactic to do the Sudoku. After deliberation in the newsroom and a series of unscientific surveys on campus, we realized the tab is something that really serves our readers. It’s easy to pop into a bag and read while waiting for class or peruse while riding a crowded bus.
We hope that this and our other newsroom changes allow us to accomplish the true purpose of any news outlet: to serve our readers and meet them with whatever format works best for them. It’s going to be a year of changes, and this is just the beginning. Check us out on collegian.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, on campus, on cable. Send us story tips or tell us how we’re doing with a #heycollegian tweet to @CollegianC, a Facebook message to Collegian Central or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This year is all about change, and it’s also all about you.
Executive Editor Kate Winkle can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @KateEWinkle.