Letter from the Editor: March

Katie Tison

This letter was published in Spinnaker’s March 2014 issue.

Former editor-in-chief Katie Tison. Photo by John Shippee.
Former Editor-in-Chief Katie Tison. Photo by John Shippee.

Wait, what happened to the newspaper again?

In the past couple months, I’ve received a lot of feedback from students about Spinnaker Print’s perceived change from a weekly newspaper to a monthly magazine. It seems that many students don’t understand our format change. Some of you wish we would scrap the magazine and go back to publishing a newspaper. I hear your concerns and questions, and I want to respond with an explanation I hope will be helpful.

Here are the facts: Spinnaker didn’t change from a weekly newspaper to a monthly magazine. We shifted our overall focus to a 24-hour multimedia news organization with multiple platforms — Spinnaker Digital, Spinnaker TV, Spinnaker Radio, Spinnaker Business, and Spinnaker Print.

Honestly, there aren’t many college media organizations who are doing things the way we do them at Spinnaker. In terms of our multimedia emphasis, we’re on the cutting edge of student journalism. While many universities have a digital presence, most still have a daily or weekly newspaper. In fact, research shows that college students love reading their college newspapers.

Problem is, this is out of step with global trends in journalism.

Overwhelmingly, news reporting is shifting away from daily or weekly print products to 24-hour multimedia products. Print is no longer the primary medium through which most people receive breaking news. Think about the last major national or international event you read about, and consider where you saw it first. I can almost guarantee it wasn’t in a newspaper. Political coverage, sports updates, stories about the bizarre things that happen in Florida — I follow all of these online, and you probably do, too.

Because Spinnaker’s mission is to model real-world journalistic practices in a way that teaches our student staff and keeps the campus informed, our overall shift aims to reflect these trends.

Despite this transition into the digital age, though, print isn’t dead. It’s just used differently now. Instead of acting as a vehicle for breaking news, print is becoming a medium for curation. Magazines are used to present the best of longer investigative news, opinions, or features stories in a format that lends itself to a more aesthetically compelling presentation than is usually possible online. When the average consumer picks up a magazine, it’s because they know they’re getting a beautiful print product they’ll want to keep. I know when I buy an issue of Garden & Gun or The Believer, I’m spending money on a product I’ll save and refer back to long after I’ve purchased it.

Our hope in producing a magazine is to present Spinnaker’s best articles and visuals in a way that makes you appreciate them more. We want Spinnaker to be a magazine you pick up, read through, then keep around your dorm or apartment.

To get your UNF news fix, check out unfspinnaker.com. The site, which recently underwent a great redesign, updates multiple times every day. You’ll find Police Beats, Student Government coverage, sex columns, movie reviews, and tons of other stories.

When you pick up the magazine, expect to read longer stories that investigate problems on campus, profile notable members of the UNF community or highlight interesting facets of the university.

Go online to get the latest; pick up the magazine for a more in-depth look.

It’s 2014. If you’re relying on print for most of your news coverage, you’re going to be behind.

 –Katie Tison, Editor-in-Chief