On the future of the Daily Texan

AddThis

INBOXES BEFORE ORANGE BOXES

Like many newspapers, The Daily Texan is misunderstanding the public’s switch to “digital” news. Newsprint is expensive, silicon is almost free.

But having a newspaper website is a passive activity, like only selling your paper at your company. You need to be proactive and take the newspaper to the readers in their digital inboxes. Instead of counting on attracting viewers to the website, send a daily edition to their emails. With so many people having smartphones, notebook computers or tablets,  it is the logical place to deliver the day’s news.

Instead of forcing readers to search the website, deliver a PDF newspaper in a broadsheet format. You can continue to print a weekly or twice-weekly guide to news of the campus and the city, but make sure  readers have a daily dose of news in their in boxes. Get and keep them addicted to a daily product.

—Dan Balcar

WEBCOMICS NEEDED

I was the Daily Texan comics editor more or less from spring of 2008 to spring of 2011. One thing I have wanted from my earliest days at the Texan is to see the comics presented in a format similar to webcomics, which would highlight an artist’s work with a “current,” “previous” and “home” button underneath. This would allow more popular comics to help generate ad revenue. Adding the ability to share on [social media] may help make these comics more popular. I see comics by Daily Texan cartoonists on Tumblr, Facebook and even Reddit, and I sometimes see them get a lot of notes, comments and upvotes. If these comics had been posted in a web-friendly way on the Daily Texan website, in a way artists would prefer to promote as their comics portfolio, that traffic would have been directed right back toward the Texan and its advertising.

At least when I was at the Texan, the comics page was one of the most popular pages in the paper. Maybe we were confusing our popularity with the fact that the sudoku ran on that page as well; the world may never know. I really think that Daily Texan comics can be great, and they can be a great way to help the paper as a whole. 

—Carolynn Calabrese 
Former Daily Texan Comics Editor

TOGETHER WE STAND

For 113 years, The Daily Texan has been a staple of the 40 Acres.

It has covered triumphs and tragedies of the University, the state and the Austin area. It has kept the student body informed of what is happening on its campus and it has ruffled a few feathers on its way toward increasing transparency and accessibility. It has held student governance and the University’s administration accountable and has challenged positions and used its editorial pages to express the student voice.

It is not perfect. Just like those who read it, it has made mistakes and learned from them. Since 1900, The Daily Texan has been a mechanism on campus of the First Amendment’s right to freedom of the press. Now, like so many print newspapers, it has reached a financial challenge that threatens its daily print circulation. 

 The Daily Texan is not immune to the economic problems that print journalism faces, but students, alumni, faculty, staff and other members of the UT-Austin community have a unique opportunity that readers of the Honolulu Advertiser, the Rocky Mountain News, the Baltimore Examiner, The Red and Black of the University of Georgia, and many other newspapers did not — a chance to revive it.

This is a pivotal time for our University and its student media. Our University must continue to have a daily beacon of free speech and press, and The Daily Texan provides such a beacon. I encourage everyone to submit their ideas to editor@dailytexanonline.com for how to make the newspaper sustainable. Together we can keep the “daily” in The Daily Texan.

—Michael Morton 
President of Senate College Councils

MISPLACED PRIORITIES

How much does Mack Brown make? But we can’t save a 113-year-old student-run newspaper from dropping daily? Really? 

—Matthew Stewart
Austin resident