Daily Universe’s Friday edition prints last copy

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You hold in your hands the final Friday411 newspaper of The Daily Universe, the “tab” as we affectionately call it in the newsroom. Born the summer of 2009, those involved in its creation wanted something different with pizazz.

Two issues came out that summer – our “trial and error” issues. The tab format isn’t like the regular daily paper – pages are smaller, photos are bigger, heck, there’s even a table of contents, which has been pretty hilarious at times, if we do say so ourselves. The main goal was to give our readers interesting articles but also highlight weekend events. Along the way we hope we’ve provided laughs and entertaining stories, recipes, how-tos, contests and more.

Some tabs were sports heavy, highlighting fall football (winning or losing), the Super Bowl, basketball, including Jimmer and other sports. One front had a real-sized Jimmer face to cut out and adore. Many Jimmers still adorn the newsroom.

We ran contests for readers to win prizes. Halloween costume contestants like Lucy from “I Love Lucy” and a completely green plastic army guy were featured. We ran another contest to “count the owls.” Readers found lots of sneaky owls on our pages and several won tickets to the owl exhibit at Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake and an Owlz game.

Hands down best contest of all? The “write like Stephenie Meyer” contest. Dozens of hopeful, immortal, flawless, yearning students wrote more than 150 luscious, powerful entries capturing the glinting, icy essence of Meyer’s writing style. One top entry started out, “The crisp autumn air quivered with hidden promise, waiting to be found, like a bed of fluffy cream shrouded within a Twinkie.”

One summer a man at a state fair was deep frying everything in sight. So the DU did too – highlights, no kidding, were peanut butter sandwiches, pizza, candy bars, cookie dough, pickles and Oreos. The main spread that week had pictures of our deep fried concoctions. The grease was palpable for days.

Our April Fool’s day edition in 2011 was a “scratch ‘n sniff” issue. Several students came to the newsroom to report their copies of the paper didn’t work.

We covered the Sundance Film Festival, Harry Potter and Richard Simmons, with reporters heading to Park City for festival coverage, Harry Potter midnight viewings and the “Slimmons” workout studio in LA for a one-on-one with Richard Simmons himself.

Sensing a hankering for good ole’ down home barbecue The DU hosted a brisket busting contest, inviting students from Texas to tell us why their taste buds should be treated to succulent slow-cooked meat. Three won coveted spots on our tasting panel; we gathered brisket from four local barbecue restaurants and our Texans sampled delicious brisket to their Lone Star heart’s content.

Holidays were treated with high regard in the tab. During fall we talked turkey, covered Christmas and hosted Jack O’ Lantern contests. We even gave readers a heart rate guide for local spook alleys which came from one innovative reporter wearing a heart monitor through terrifying adventures. A Valentine’s love guru answered forlorn lovers’ questions about mushy stuff. The 4th of July issues were packed with patriotic parades, vibrant hot air balloons and dazzling fireworks.

Conference issues gave previews of the MoTab, beautiful pictures of Temple Square and activity sheets for conference.

We at the DU love animals. Thus, we gave space to llamas, horses, sheep, Cosmo, giraffes, penguins, buffalo, owls, bulls, cats and our favorite – a pooch riding monkey.

Fashion trends, big trucks, wacky British hats, rappelling, planking, comedies, funky art, blockbuster movies, mountain biking and more – all tab fodder.

We tried to keep the tab light with features and fun. Occasionally we covered deeper topics like the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 and forums by Condoleezza Rice and General David Petraeus. Timing was more important on these stories than entertainment.

Many reporters, photographers and editors contributed to the tab over the years, but four special people were tab editors. Our first was Sam Shirley. She said she especially loved being able to develop ideas for the new model, adding rodeos and Festival of Colors were favorites. Mariangela Mazzei took the reins next. “Matz” cracked the whip and kept tab articles and photos on track. She liked the coverage of ballroom dancing in England.

Elizabeth Edwards held the tab together spring and summer of 2011. She helped coordinate the “owl” issue and loved seeing “a cute baby owl sideways, upside down or just eyes peering out” all over the tab. She remembered photographer Chris Bunker who, while shooting photos for a Stadium of Fire piece, got knocked out by a wayward parachuter but “was still chill enough to provide great pictures” for the tab.

Whitney Evans is seeing the tab out the door for the last time. While we had a few cat haters diss our recent cat tab, many more were complimentary. She said she loved working on that tab and the brisket busting story. Her least favorite memory, probably echoed by other tab editors, was 4:30 Thursdays – the last-minute rush to pull it all together. Yet she and everyone else involved got the job done, week after week.

The camaraderie of students in the newsroom, whether working on the tab or other daily papers, has been palpable and gratifying. Students came to know the newsroom as a home away from home. Brainstorming sessions produced great ideas, laughs and friendships. And, like the daily paper, the tab won awards for both design and writing.

While the tab is ending its run, the new weekly version of the Universe will have a Life and Living section which will provide the same kinds of great stories readers will want to turn to. Additionally, the digital version of the Universe will have stories, slide shows, podcasts and other digital first components so stay tuned!

Thanks to our readers for supporting the newspaper by reading, laughing, enjoying, pondering and even criticizing. We’ve had a great time and hope you have too.

Kaye Nelson is the editorial lab manager at The Daily Universe. She likes cats.

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