Come one, come all!
Welcome to another year of Aggie columnists. We’ll be here for your bus rides in the pre-dawn hours, your chemistry classes in the morning and all that extra time you need to kill between classes after you’ve finished the Sudoku.
There are some familiar faces (KC Cody, Zach Han, Lynn La and James Noonan are all returning) as well as a plethora of new talent (Cheya Cary, Lior Gotesman, Michael Hower, Emily Kaplan, Sara Kohgadai, Danielle Ramirez and Michelle Rick). I myself will resume the tradition of the Editor in Chief writing a column; some of you may recall my column from over the summer. Those of you who don’t recall (but wish to!) can find them all on The Aggie’s website, theaggie.org.
In fact, you can find all The Aggie’s article, every day, on the website, in addition to a PDF version of the paper. Readers who have been in Davis before last spring quarter can tell you how much of an improvement the current website is over the previous, generic one run by College Publisher.
The improvement is important, as newspapers everywhere are becoming forced to have an increased presence on the internet. Other forms of media, such as television and radio, could almost always report breaking news faster than newspapers. With the advent of the internet, up-to-the-second news from around the world has made it hard for newspapers to find people to pay for subscriptions.
Noted journalist and senior legal analyst for CNN Jeffrey Toobin touched on this point when he spoke at campus on Oct. 10.
“There is still a tremendous demand for their product,” he said, “but it’s hard to find someone under 40 who buys the carbon copy newspaper.”
Such a development is not surprising; why pay for The New York Times when you can read it online for free while simultaneously having access to numerous multimedia features?
There will always be a niche market for people (such as myself) who prefer the paper newspaper to reading one online, but it is unrealistic to expect such a small subset of the population to sustain an entire industry.
Hence, newspapers are manufacturing more and more online content.
But even more online content is only a stopgap measure.
By providing more services online, newspapers increase the amount of traffic their website receives. Consequently, advertisers will spend more money for online ad space. While this sounds good (and it’s certainly not bad), newspapers are still losing money; with more advertisers interested in online advertising there are fewer advertisers willing to spend money purchasing ads in the physical paper. Moreover, the 25 cents to $1.50 most daily papers charge for their hard copies is not being collected when people visit the website.
As a student newspaper (whose paper version is free!), The Aggie is not feeling the ill-effects of this as much as other enterprises such as The Sacramento Bee. Still, student newspapers are not well off. The Daily Californian (UC Berkeley’s student publication), for instance, has stopped printing papers on Wednesdays in order to save money.
Those of you who come to class on Fridays may have noticed there are fewer papers in the bins; lowering our Friday circulation is one in a series of cost cutting measures The Aggie has had to implement in recent years, including fewer pages and the return to black and white.
Due to these trends in the print journalism industry, it is likely that you will see theaggie.org become more and more robust in coming years. This will be primarily a result of the efforts of both the newspaper and Creative Media, the on-campus organization that has done a really wonderful job redesigning the website.
In the meantime, thanks for picking up our newspaper, and I’ll see all of you online!
RICHARD PROCTER is desperately seeking another ticket to the Yo-Yo Ma concert at the Mondavi Center next May. Email him suggestions/treasure maps at email@example.com