Campus paper reflects current media trends: shrinking circulation, more online readers
By Steve Yablonski
The Oswegonian is SUNY Oswego’s only independent, nonprofit, student-run newspaper.
It has served the campus and Oswego community since 1935. Despite decreasing readership of the print version, it is picking up readers online.
Readers of The Oswegonian include more than 10,000 students, faculty and staff at the college’s Oswego campus as well as more than 18,000 residents in the city of Oswego. In print, The Oswegonian freely distributes 1,000 copies on Fridays throughout the academic year.
It serves a broader audience online.
The paper is thinner than in the past because of the current trends in news and readership, according to Brandon Ladd, editor-in-chief.
“This has progressively happened and has resulted in the Oswegonian being a 20-page paper now compared to a thicker paper in the previous decades,” he said.
A big reason for this is the inability to find consistent writers due to other mediums of news presenting students with opportunities to produce news in ways other than print, he added.
“My fear is this will continue getting worse as time goes on and fewer students come to SUNY Oswego with journalism experience in print,” he said.
To increase readership this year, they have focused on making sure the news is hyper-local and tailored toward the student.
“This has meant doing more stories on various campus events instead of doing hard investigative news,” Ladd explained. “The plan going forward is to use social media as a way to direct traffic to our website, instead of relying on students to pick up physical print copies. The news cycle is faster than it once was, meaning that the website has to be used frequently and some stories have to be online due to the print edition being just once a week.”
This year, 1,000 copies are printed weekly on Friday mornings, compared to almost 1,500 five years ago.
1,000 copies are printed weekly, compared to almost 1,500 five years ago as more readers go online
Not all copies are picked up and views to the website “easily outnumber print editions,” Ladd said.
The type of articles that interest today’s readers are the sports stories that recap recent games and allow for the coaches to be heard through postgame quotes and opinion articles.
Opinion articles are popular among friends and allow writers to write about topics that interest the common college student.
“Major campus news gets traffic, but has to be quite important to do so,” Ladd said. “An example would be the name change of the ice arena at SUNY Oswego this past semester. This was a controversial topic and had a stir surrounding it.”
Featured image: The most recent issues of The Oswegonian published before the Christmas break. “The plan going forward is to use social media as a way to direct traffic to our website, instead of relying on students to pick up physical print copies,” says Brandon Ladd, editor-in-chief.