The end of an era: The Record goes digital

After 103 years of printing at Buffalo State, The Record is moving forward as a solely digital entity

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The end of an era: The Record goes digital

Dan Almasi, Managing Editor

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103 years strong – The Record has been serving the Buffalo State community since it began printing in 1913, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The goal will remain the same: provide the SUNY Buffalo State community with exceptional student journalism.

The primary medium, however, is changing: The Record – barring future reversions – has printed its last issue.

If you’re holding a newspaper right now, keep it; you’ve got a piece of Buffalo State history in your hands. If you’re reading this online, welcome to our new home.”

— Dan Almasi

The ways in which people consume news is changing. The idea of picking up a cumbersome, clunky newspaper is foreign to most young people. We at The Record realize that and have chosen to focus solely on our digital entity.

Why this is the right move:

Printing newspapers is a costly expense

A large majority of our budget was allocated to printing, and a high percentage of newspapers ended up in a recycling bin. We plan to allocate our print budget more practically. We’re excited to announce that an app is already in the works and should be up and running by the spring semester. We expect that a higher number of students will open up an app on their smartphones than we’ve seen pick up our newspapers. Even after the expenses of creating an app, we have a good chunk of budget left over. More paid reporters and editors? New cameras? Promoting our switch-over? All still-in-the-air options will be of greater benefit to our organization and the student body we service than the thousands of dollars in the form of newspapers we’ve left sitting at the bottom of recycling bins in the past.

Improved timeliness and relevancy 

It’s a universal law: If you give a college student a deadline, nine times out of 10, they’re going to wait until the last minute to do the assignment — if they do it on time at all. In the past, we’ve posted news and sports stories online only after they’ve been published in print. That means stories were first put out days after the fact, often far past the window of timeliness. Going forward, we will work to get stories on our website and social media outlets as quickly as student reporter/editor schedules afford – ideally, the day of.

Creating a platform for the journalist of the future 

I’ve spoken with several Buffalo State journalism alumni who have found success in the field, and all agreed that – though they received an excellent, essential education in the fundamentals of journalism as students here – they learned very little about the growing world of online journalism and social media. Digital media and marketing terms like social media best practices, click-through rates, ad impressions, behavioral targeting and reach should be familiar to all journalists in 2016. In too many cases – and this is, of course, not an issue isolated only to the SUNY Buffalo State Communication Department  – they are not. We plan to create a platform for student journalists to develop skills in these increasingly important areas of their burgeoning careers.

Declining student interest

The Record’s staff succession plan lacks the depth it has seen in the past. Students who could be dedicating time and effort to The Record are often more interested in blogging, social media and other accessible digital platforms for posting journalistic pieces (I use that term loosely) like The Odyssey Online and HerCampus. I strongly believe that work published by The Record – an award-winning, campus-based organization – is more attractive as a portfolio piece to future employers than nearly all of the alternatives we’re seeing our peers involved in. We plan to increase student involvement by opening the door to all types of journalistic works.

Staying the course while exploring new endeavors

We will always place focus on our main goal: providing exceptional coverage of campus news, events, happenings and athletics. But in a digital world, content is king. If it grabs people’s attention and could rack up shares or re-tweets, it’s news now. We plan to expand our body of work to reflect the content of some of the most profitable digital media outlets in 2016. See: Vice, Mashable, The Atlantic, Vox, Buzzfeed

Who made this decision?

My name is Dan Almasi and – at least for a semester – I’ll be The Record’s executive editor. I’ve considered the input of our current staff, faculty adviser Annemarie Franczyk and Record alumni in making this decision. I’m a senior journalism major, yada yada – not important. What is, though, is that I vow to make sure The Record continues to maintain the level of excellence and professionalism it has for the last 103 years while doing what I can in one semester to push it into an exciting, new age of journalism.

 

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