In the spring of 2018 I took the job as Circulation Manager for The West Georgian. My job was simple — grab the stacks of newspapers and deliver them around campus. This was my introduction to print writing. Not long after I started my first article was published and the feeling of seeing my name in an actual newspaper brought a rush of excitement like none I had felt before. I made my place at The West Georgian as the Circulation Manager, toting each and every bundle before the sun came up Monday mornings and now, a year later, I am the Editor-in-Chief. Starting fall 2019, The West Georgian will be stepping away from its weekly physical newspaper and switching to a primarily online newspaper. While this move in format will better suit the habits of the current readers it does mean that we are changing the newspaper as we know it. The experience of actually picking up the newspaper and flipping through the pages each week is now gone.
Currently, The West Georgian publishes twelve hard copy editions a semester. The online edition of the paper comes out on its website Friday mornings. The online edition has every article with the PDF copy of the paper accessible. The physical newspaper is put out the following Monday mornings. Starting the fall of 2019 The West Georgian will continue to publish twelve PDF editions each Friday morning with the standard online updates. The major difference is that the physical newspaper will not be released every week. Instead, only two hard copy, themed, digest style editions will be released per semester.
This shift into a mostly online format will push The West Georgian to follow other publications into the evolution into online publishing. The online format is supposed to increase readership involvement and be more interactive for them. Instead of picking up a newspaper readers will be able to scroll through the articles on their phones in one quick sitting. The change is not only seen as more practical for the readers, but for the staff as well. Going online only will provide the staff of The West Georgian with more time to focus on reporting, writing and editing articles that meet the needs of its readership. Cutting down on the print edition will also be more eco-friendly.
Many publications have made their articles much shorter and changed their styles all together when going online to appeal to readers, but The West Georgian will not follow this trend. We will stay true to the news style writing that we have consistently put out while raising the quality. This shift will be different and provide The West Georgian with new opportunities, but we will stay true to who we are while growing and improving for the readers.
This change of platform may be seen as more efficient and practical, but it is just another nail in the coffin that is the newspaper industry. As time goes on we are seeing the number of print newspapers get smaller and smaller due to lack of interest from readers. The truth is that if the news cannot be found on one’s phone then there is no serious appeal to it and the stacks of papers laid out on campus are neglected because of it. This has been the major driving factor for the push towards an online paper. While this not a bad thing, just the way things are moving, something must be said about the different impact that a physical newspaper has opposed to an online paper. My start at The West Georgian and the feeling I got looking for my name in that first copy I was published in will not be had or felt by others. While this is sad we must adapt with the times and open our arms to the opportunities that this will bring The West Georgian.