The University of Georgia’s Red & Black (previously mentioned here and here and here) has long been an innovative campus media outlet. This semester, they’ve taken that innovation to a new level, abandoning their daily print product in favor of a weekly print/online hybrid and the addition of a monthly full-color magazine. You can see what the new weekly print edition looks like here. The R&B‘s web site is still powered by the WordPress CMS.
Dan Reimold outlines the strategy in a very complete article for PBS MediaShift: Revolution in Georgia: Student Newspaper Goes Digital First.
I interviewed Red & Black Publisher Harry Montevideo about some of the behind-the-scenes details of the development of this new publishing model.
I’m including a transcript of the entire interview below the fold, but I did want to mention a few of the top-level takeaways from the discussion:
- The Red & Black spent a lot of time looking at the issue before deciding to go from daily to weekly.
- The staff and board of directors spent a lot of time researching the issue before making a decision.
- Students were understanding and accepting of the change – a key buy-in.
- The staff interviewed advertisers and received assurances that the advertising income would be similar even in a weekly format.
- The Red & Black hasn’t had to spend a lot of extra money on equipment to upgrade.
- The student staff structure is pretty much the same as it was, with the exception of a few fewer page designers.
- The new Ampersand magazine is an effort to pull in students who normally wouldn’t work for a newspaper, and provide another vehicle for advertising income.
- The primary goal of the Red & Black is still training students for their future careers in journalism, no matter what format/publication schedule they have.
Here’s a look at the cover of the first issue of Ampersand:
The full version will be online at the Red & Black web site next week, says Ed Morales, editorial adviser. The magazine might get its own dedicated web site next year.