Despite declining newspaper revenue, student journalists hopeful about future

Posted May 31, 2016 1:56 p.m. EDT
Updated May 31, 2016 6:24 p.m. EDT

— College newspapers across the country are faced with the dilemma of declining revenue and an annual report shows student media revenue for North Carolina State University’s college newspaper declined by more than $20,000 in the last four years.

At N.C. State’s Technician, there’s still work to be done and as far as those who work in the student news center are concerned, there always will be.

“The truth is newspapers might be dying right now, but journalism is not. It’s really an exciting time,” said Ellen Meder, editorial advisor for the Technician.

Meder has heard skepticism from friends about the future of newspapers. Four years ago, the Technician distributed papers five days per week. Two years ago, that was reduced to four days per week. Starting this fall, there will be just two issues released weekly.

“Revenues over the last several years, as in most cases for college newspapers, have been declining for the same reasons they’re declining for the New York Times or the News & Observer or any other large newspaper you could name,” said Patrick Neal, director of student media advising.

Neal said advertisers are turning more to online and alternative media sources to get their message out, but there is a silver lining.

“Some of the students online who are more about web design and online media who may not have come to us in the past because we were old school print, we’re hoping that it’s going to make it more attractive to them,” Neal said.

When it comes to the future of journalism, Meder said students are now forced to look outside the box when it comes to their careers. Still, she says she is optimistic.

“They’re looking at blogs, they’re looking at online magazines, they’re looking at more local startups,” she said. “A trained, professional journalist is still something that’s very valuable.”

The Technician, like many other student newspapers, said it will have daily updates and stories online as well as on social media.

North Carolina Central University’s Campus Echo has gone from six issues per semester to a single end-of-year highlight issue.

The University of North Carolina’s Daily Tar Heel said they were not ready to make their plans for the future public.