The Daily Universe will print its final weekly paper on April 13 as part of changes to BYU campus news labs.
The Daily Universe newspaper has been a core part of campus life since 1956 when the first daily newspapers were printed five days a week.
Starting in 2012, the Universe switched to weekly newspapers and after Winter Semester, the weekly print editions will shift to a monthly print periodical.
This change, along with other adjustments in the Newsline and Universe student labs, comes as a result of a journalism faculty task force that sought input from faculty and staff on how to better serve student needs in the journalism program.
This task force, made up of School of Communications Director Ed Carter and journalism professors Kris Boyle and Miles Romney, was initiated by a BYU President’s Innovation Grant given to the program in 2020. The task force analyzed the current state of the journalism program and looked for ways to adapt it to the evolving news media industry.
According to a press release, the task force created a two-year pilot plan to “explore innovative solutions and ultimately decide on long-term adaptations.”
“I think the entire journalism industry has a bright future and has an important role to play in society, and at the same time, (it) has a need for innovation and change,” Carter said.
Some of these innovations include a focus on augmented reality applications to news and increased community engagement through collaboration with other campus departments and the surrounding community.
“This gives us an enhanced opportunity to really play a meaningful role in not just pointing out problems, but contributing to solutions and answers and understanding,” Carter said.
The new magazine-style periodical is planned to debut on campus racks starting Fall Semester. Monthly print editions will be published through spring and summer to prepare for the transition. The task force expects to publish between four and 10 periodicals a year.
While online publications will continue to cover daily and breaking news, Carter said these periodicals will contain longer, explanatory news projects that tackle a range of questions, issues and current trends in society. He hopes this solution-oriented journalism will provide interpretation, context and analysis of events and help increase news literacy in the community.
“Even though we have this fast-moving digital world, there’s hunger for understanding and context,” Carter said. With this format, reporters can drill into a topic and “provide meaningful solutions and answers as opposed to just raising questions that are unresolved.”
Boyle, who participated heavily in the Daily Universe production during his time at BYU as an undergraduate, said he is sad to see this era end. But, “it’s also really exciting because there’s a bright future ahead in journalism and in the program here.”
Ultimately, the changes were driven by a focus on improving student experience. Boyle said even though the labs provide a great experience for students now, they hope to make it an even better experience through these innovations.
The skills learned in the newsroom labs at BYU are valuable to all who participate in the program, even if they don’t stay in the journalism field after graduation, Carter said.
Newsline, the broadcast TV news program produced by students, will transition from daily traditional news programs to online video news shows that include in-depth videos produced alongside the print periodicals.
Carter said although they don’t have all the answers or details figured out perfectly yet, he is excited to go on this journey with faculty, students and staff in improving the journalism program.
“Change is always a little messy and challenging,” Carter said, but these adjustments provide an opportunity for increased contributions to society while improving trust between the media and society.