Viewpoint: A New Universe

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The bubble has finally burst, and the nationwide trend of newspaper restructuring has hit The Daily Universe. By the end of April 2012, the paper will complete the switch to a digital format in addition to a weekly print edition.

Anyone who has followed the state of newspapers during the past few years knew this was coming. The world of journalism is changing. Papers must adapt to new digital formats to survive.

Over the past few years, The Daily Universe staff have worked on transversing new digital formats. Articles are posted on the website before the print edition. The Daily Universe now also has mobile apps, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

There is also a living aspect to The Daily Universe. The paper isn’t just the articles printed; it’s a community. For many journalism majors, the newsroom becomes your home base on campus. The staff and fellow reporters become more than just faculty and classmates, but your very own newsroom family.

The bulk of the paper’s reporting emerges from the work of students in Comms 321. This is one of the first, if not the first, class journalism students take once accepted into the major.

I remember that first day of class. It was nothing short of terrifying. With little experience, I suddenly was writing news articles. It was learn as you go, sink or swim style. To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing and was terrified of making a mistake.

And then I realized everyone was in the same boat. All of us were sinking or swimming together for those first few weeks. Amazing staff members helped us navigate these waters, and together, we figured it out.

We needed to rely on each other to publish the paper daily, Monday through Friday. Each day we could hold a tangible product of our work. We had ink on our fingers, and it bonded us together.

Now, that community is finishing the move to a digital platform.

From email to Facebook, our world and our interactions are becoming increasingly more digital.

A world of opportunities opened with the new digital age. We are now able to stay in contact with people across the globe, receiving instant updates of their lives. No small feat considering how difficult that would have been 10 years ago.

We can meet and learn from people who have backgrounds far removed from own.

Yet, sometime we can lose things in a digital world.

We text ‘Happy Birthday’ instead of calling. We catch up by reading status updates instead of visiting over lunch. We become members of online communities instead of our local communities.

Those tangible aspects of our relationships are lessened.

As human beings, we seek after a sense of belonging and community that can come from personal interactions. The Daily Universe has been a part of that for me. Each day, those sheets of newspaper represented a tangible link to a community of which I am a part.

The changes at The Daily Universe offers so many opportunities. I’m excited for the changes that will come, though part of me will miss the daily ink on my fingers.
Either way, I will be forever grateful for the wonderful people and staff who have mentored me at The Daily Universe. It truly has been life changing.

Editor’s note: To voice concerns or opinions about the upcoming changes go to our Facebook page.

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