Door potentially closing for students should remain open

The university’s print edition of The Spectator is faced with the threat of being wholly cut in the shadow of digitization.

Up until last week I was oblivious to the degenerative status of student media, specifically, The Spectator on campus.

You wouldn’t know there was a struggle going on by merely walking into the newsroom at Eau Claire on any given afternoon especially last week during training.

If numbers show strength, then a newsroom filled to the brim with hungry student journalists united in one priority offers no clue into the struggling journalism business.

The staff’s number one priority is to produce a quality newspaper each week. Interviewing sources, shooting pictures, and writing articles before classes resumed to bring the student body a newspaper. The majority of staffers work late nights with little or no pay making sure no detail is left unattended to.

The thrill of producing a newspaper and holding the finished product is worth the sacrifice of losing sleep or occasionally skipping a class to report on an event, at least for most student journalists.

But as newspapers are forced to adapt to swift technological changes in a generation of iPad users, the reflection of technology on the field of journalism can be seen and felt within student media even here at Eau Claire.

The print edition of our school newspaper is balancing on a wire in the face of cuts as students and faculty prepare for the possibility of losing it altogether.

Having a print edition of the newspaper has brought students, faculty, and community together since 1923.

Each week a new issue offers students an opportunity to get to know each other and learn to work together. From laying out pages to critiquing issues, the presence of a print edition is worth it for students to gain those skills.

A radical shift in the medium of deliverance of news from print to digital platforms engages editors to think outside-of-the-box in reaction to declines in sales and ad revenue.

Budding journalists who rise out of the ashes of a rapidly changing profession are learning how to hold their own by staying on top of consumer trends.

A recent survey of the student body found that 18 percent of students pick up a print edition of The Spectator.

The sad and perplexed faces that dogged the newsroom last week when talk of this potentially being the final year that Eau Claire publishes a print edition of The Spectator are still looming in my mind.

In the university setting it is my experience that taking the opportunity to gain invaluable experience writing for a printed publication fosters true journalistic skills.

In the absence of a print edition of the newspaper, students will no longer have the opportunity to write for a printed newspaper on campus.

Closing a door that opens countless other doors for students is not an attribute that an institute of higher education and excellence would be advertising when seeking new freshman.