Why the Gazette Went Digital


Photo Courtesy of Sam Peñaloza

Joyce Feuerborn (Adviser), Beatriz Aguilar, and Vivian Juarez (contributors).

Joyce Feuerborn, Adviser

Sometimes change isn’t easy.

20 years ago, print journalism was at the height with 1,000s of publications and millions of readers. In 1996, the Los Angeles Times printed over two million papers DAILY. Now their weekday circulation is under 700,000 and is bleeding money year after year.

But interestingly, latimes.com has over 137 million views each month. Yup, people are getting their news in different ways and thus, the Grizzly Gazette decided that we should deliver the news differently too.

After mulling over it for close to a year, the Grizzly Gazette is now a digital paper. As you read this Op-Ed and our other new and exciting content, here’s some insight on why we made the switch:

  1. Cost- Publishing a newspaper every six weeks is expensive. Each issue ran close to $700 per run. Times that by six and you have approximately $4,200 in printing costs every year. Yes, we could have skimped on color or cut pages but as the number of journalists grew, the newsroom started looking for ways to increase content not lessen it. Now for the entire year, our online paper costs under $1,000. And we can add as much content as we want. No limits.
  1. Formatting- We used a wonderful program called Adobe InDesign to format the paper. It produced beautiful content but was a bear to learn. It was not a nice cute fuzzy teddy bear, but a snaggle-tooth, angry mama bear. Yup, yikes! I took classes, watched videos, sent editors to training, had them watch videos, trained them myself, had them train each other and even bought the “InDesign for Dummies” book. Our editors learned and did some beautiful things with formatting but at the end of the day, it was taking more time to format than to add content. And when we caught a typo after it went to print, we were stuck with the glaring mistake.
  1. Lastly, Content- An online newspaper will be much easier for students and staff to read and have access to on a daily basis. There were so many times when we were not able to cover a story because a deadline had passed or by the time the paper went to print, it was too late. Not anymore! We can send teams of reporters to cover weekly games or special events and have the stories online by the end of the week or the next day. Not to mention, now we can stream videos and tie in Grizzly Media to our paper for more views, better, up-to-date content and hopefully, a lot more stories to report. And most importantly, less typos.

So yes, change isn’t easy, we had some great times together and we too will miss the fresh smell of newsprint in the morning. But the Grizzly Gazette looks forward to bringing the reader, fresher content, in a much more exciting format.

Thank you from the Grizzly Newsroom, happy reading, and one of our new features is you are more than welcome to comment below.