After 24 weeks of producing a weekly print newspaper, The Miami Student is taking a (well-deserved, I would argue) break for the summer.
But even over this break from consistent printing, we will continue delivering breaking news to the Miami and Oxford community.
Here at The Student, we will also use this summer to plan for the future of our publication. We believe journalism, and more specifically our newspaper, is at a crossroads.
As we begin entering a post-pandemic world, the importance of pivoting to a digital-first operation only becomes more clear.
I have had the chance to work on distributing the print edition of our newspaper every Tuesday for the past month, and the experience has honestly been disheartening. I’ve seen less copies get picked up with each passing week, and some distribution locations have even stopped accepting newspapers all together.
We, as a staff, believe the work we do is essential – to both holding those in power to account and uplifting voices that have long gone unheard in our community. But the harsh reality is that while we perform a necessary public service, we operate as a private commodity.
If our readership has gone digital (which our analytics strongly suggest they have), our publication must follow suit.
But if you’re currently reading this letter in a print edition of The Student, all hope is not lost.
While I must concede that online journalism is a crucial part of our future operations, the print newspaper will always hold a special place in my heart. And I know there are a select few who feel the same way.
So to honor the nearly 200-year-long legacy of The Student, I will not be cutting the print edition in its entirety. Instead, we will shift to a monthly print cycle with a daily focus on digital content.
I believe this is honestly the best model for our publication as we head into the uncharted waters of post-pandemic life.
A daily focus on digital content allows us to meet our readers where they are, and a monthly print newspaper honors where we have been before.
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The intricate details of our new distribution model will be worked out over the summer and shared with you all as they are finalized. But I can assure you: regardless of modality, The Student will continue producing hard-hitting, timely journalism both in print and online.
I touched on honoring The Student’s past through the continuation of our print product, but I want to take some time now to honor where we have been.
First, I want to take the time to thank the entire Student staff. Our newspaper would be nothing without your countless hours of reporting, writing and editing. Every week, I have been so inspired by the work you all do.
To our graduating seniors, I know I speak for the entire returning staff when I say we would not be here today without your leadership. Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly constant changes to life at Miami over the past year, you all were a stalwart presence of calm amid the storm. I have learned so much from you all, and I know nothing but great things are coming.
And as I thank our graduating seniors, I would be remiss to leave out our outgoing faculty advisor, Jim Tobin. As you step down from your role as our faculty advisor, I’m left struggling to find the words to quantify your impact on this publication.
Known lovingly (and somewhat secretively) as the grandpa of our newsroom, your soft-spoken and wisdom-filled leadership has been a constant presence for our entire staff. On a personal note, I would not be the reporter, leader or man I am today without your guidance.
From our entire staff: thank you, Tobin.
Finally, I need to thank you all, the readers. At our core, The Student is about informing a community that we, as a staff, hold close to our hearts. We put in the hours because we hope that it will mean something.
There are countless publications filling the ether with noise, but at The Student, we strive to do more. We hope to start tough conversations, examine the intricacies of life at Miami, and uplift the voices of the student body.
As we move into a new generation of The Student, we hope you will come along for the journey.