The Polytechnic no longer printing regularly
This past spring, our Editorial Board unanimously voted to end our regular printing schedule and to instead refocus our efforts toward online publication. Since this decision will obviously affect our readers, I wanted to take some time to explain our reasoning, give some context, and tell you all what to expect from us in the future.
This past April, Editor in Chief of the Columbia Journalism Review Kyle Pope gave a talk about the current state of journalism at Rensselaer. During the somewhat casual Q&A, I asked if there were any valid reasons to hold onto print newspapers. Pope’s answer was no; if you have the resources to print, then great, but it’s not something to cling to, especially when it’s doing more harm than good.
I had been mulling over this idea for months by this point, largely because of how much time and money it takes just to put out a physical issue. I also serve as the advertising director, which leaves me with the responsibility of soliciting around $1,000 each week in advertisements, just so that we can afford to print. There were many weeks where we didn’t have the money, likely because there are more cost-effective ways to advertise.
Pope’s answer prompted me to start a discussion with the Editorial Board about the possibility of not printing regularly anymore. The more we talked about it, the more obvious it became. Print publications, especially on a scale as small as a school newspaper, are constantly becoming harder to independently sustain. The switch to online-first journalism feels inevitable, and we would much rather make the switch an active decision on our part, while our staff can expect it and prepare for the transition.
Laying out the physical paper also takes a considerable amount of our time. We would come into the office at 7 pm on Tuesdays, and often not finish until 3, 4, or sometimes even 5 am. Eliminating the time spent on layout means our staff will be able to focus more on creating meaningful content for the Rensselaer community.
To clarify, we still plan to publish content on our website at least every Wednesday, except during holiday and examination periods. Don’t get me wrong—I love the print paper, and I’m sad to see it go. But, as the editor in chief of the paper, I believe this is what’s best for us. We’ve been serving the Rensselaer community since 1885; we look forward to serving it in 2018 and beyond.