Let’s embrace digital journalism, not fear it

This morning The Collegian launched its first all-digital issue, The Blueprint, to its readership.

Our newspaper established its digital footprint with the start of its website. Previous editors of The Collegian understood the value in creating an online presence to distribute news.

Former Editor-in-Chief Diana Giraldo pushed for the development of The Collegian’s brand image online during her tenure. She even hired a social media team.

Her vision was to adopt a “digital-first” approach, placing more focus on production for the website. This meant stories were often released online first and featured later in the print publications.

Since joining the staff in 2016, I noticed repeated discussions regarding the fate of print media – not just for The Collegian but across the industry – and the overwhelming dissonance to embrace digital journalism.

But as readerships evolve and markets change, its important to understand that digital journalism is not something to fear.

According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, 74 percent of Twitter users reported receiving news from the platform in 2017. Users of YouTube and Snapchat also saw over 10 percent increases in its users obtaining news from their networks. Trends of this magnitude are something The Collegian has kept watch on.  

This year, The Collegian expanded its multimedia projects, producing four new weekly podcasts, weekly videos and photo essays – all to enhance the way students receive their news.

We distribute an emailed newsletter hotline to alert students of news as it breaks. And our reporters live-tweet, capture their surroundings instantly and retrieve stories quicker.

The Collegian is a classroom where reporters, editors, photographers and marketers alike can learn fundamentals of media to become career ready. That includes learning how digital media works.

My goal as the Digital Editor for The Collegian has been for this company to leave a lasting impression across all platforms. When students seek news about Fresno State, I want The Collegian to be their trusted source.

We’ve seen continued growth in our social media following. Last April, The Collegian reached 3,000 followers on Twitter, one year later we’re almost to 4,000. There is room to grow.

Students are engaging with our breaking coverage online. In February, The Collegian was on the scene of a shooting that occurred across the street from Fresno State.

Our followers shared, retweeted, commented on our coverage and the stories reached more than 4,000 people on Facebook.

The launch of The Blueprint isn’t us bidding The Collegian’s print issue goodbye. It’s a way to creatively support this publication in a new, economic format.

The Blueprint is a digital supplement produced by editors and delivered every Friday via email.  It will bring the news straight to you.

The Blue Tape is The Collegian’s weekly news broadcast posted online every Friday, and publishes with The Blueprint.

We student journalists are eager to produce digital content that will engage our readers. This weekly online issue is a platform to do just that.

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