The Collegian: fond memories, unsettling future

By Steve Outing

Back in the dark ages of my college years, I was a reporter and managing editor of the Rocky Mountain Collegian, the student newspaper at Colorado State University. (How dark? Reporters used electric typewriters and copy was taken to the composition department to be set into cold type.)

So it was with interest that I saw today that the Collegian might enter into a strategic partnership with Gannett’s The Coloradoan, Fort Collins’ commercial daily. According to this report in MediaDailyNews, “In effect, Gannett would be buying the paper. As the rest of the newspaper industry takes a beating, Gannett’s interest reflects the continued popularity of campus papers — and their importance to advertisers targeting young adults.”

Talks are preliminary, and a Collegian “takeover” is not imminent.
Here’s a report
from the Collegian itself.

Perhaps that is a smart move by newspapers, though I see value in an independent student press, and worry that corporate interest would influence student media in a negative way. I remember my Collegian days as free-wheeling, where we sometimes took stupid or naive chances that most likely wouldn’t happen with corporate oversight. Those were great learning experiences. I’m not sure that the student-media culture is a proper fit with big corporate media.

I hadn’t taken a look at The Collegian’s website recently, but I see that it’s pretty standard and could be more innovative. This is the topic of another blog entry some day, but it’s unfortunate that student newspapers like The Collegian aren’t experimenting vigorously — and helping lead the newspaper industry to a new model that might work in the years ahead. One possible plus to corporate involvement could be to provide resources for more innovation — but I’d rather see the university’s journalism program (which I graduated from so long ago) be the one to push that.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

3 Responses to "The Collegian: fond memories, unsettling future"

  1. Amy Gahran
    Amy Gahran 9 years ago .Reply

    Steve, the new venture sounds very intriguing. Hope to hear more soon!

    – Amy Gahran

  2. Charlotte-Anne Lucas
    Charlotte-Anne Lucas 9 years ago .Reply

    Steve, thank you for the kind words, and you bet I will be staying tuned to what you\'re up to (and sending you good karma, to boot!.) I sure hope you can do it, because the continuation of journalism does depend on those pesky revenues!

  3. Dave Haynes
    Dave Haynes 9 years ago .Reply

    Hi Steve I stumbled across your name this afternoon while reading a piece about a massive decline in newspaper ad revenues. Glad to see you are still trying to beat some sense into editors and publishers about opportunities and perils of new media for newspapers. As you may remember, I left the newspaper industry after 20 years in newsrooms and then running new media (last home, Calgary Herald) and went into pure new media. That's been an interesting ride. Nine years later, I sell software. I do miss aspects of the newspaper industry, and worry about its future. It is such a challenge just to get the next day's hard copy out that I sense that 10-15 years on the key decision makers don't have the time to look up at the freight train that is barreling down the tracks at them. Hope all is well Dave Haynes Burlington, Canada

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