Scribe pursues local, fiscally responsible options

Oct. 7, 2013

The Scribe Editorial Board
[email protected]

In previous years, Scribe staff members have traveled out of state for the annual ACP/CMA National College Media Convention, which offers journalism workshops and the opportunity to interact with fellow student newspapers from across the country.

This year, instead of spending a few thousand dollars to travel to an out-of-state conference, several of us attended NewsTrain, a journalism workshop hosted at our own campus on Sept. 27-28.

Unlike ACP/CMA, NewsTrain had scholarships available for free attendance. Even better, the $2,000 of student funds that SGA allocated The Scribe for travel was not used and can instead be invested in keeping the newspaper on stands each week.

Last year, with a tighter budget than before, The Scribe saw many weeks where issues went unprinted and stands unfilled. It got to the point that those leading walk-through orientations never knew what to say, some describing us as a “biweekly” publication.

Beginning this year, The Scribe switched to a local printer, effectively cutting its printing costs nearly in half. Still, with less funding than before, to keep The Scribe a weekly newspaper we had to get creative, and part of that was forgoing an expensive conference.

When already tight funding gets even tighter, it becomes necessary to find local, more cost-effective ways to operate.

Taking the lessons we learned at NewsTrain and incorporating them in our newsroom practices, we hope to further develop our team’s skillsets in order to dig deeper into UCCS and produce higher-impact journalism.

NewsTrain had 29 news organizations in attendance compared to the average 2,300 student newspapers at ACP/CMA every year. While the environment was certainly different, the workshops were no less rewarding. And having more than two dozen professional news outlets there, the quality of training was optimal.

Following NewsTrain, we continue to be aware how print media is changing. Indeed, print journalists are increasingly required to be skilled in TV news, mobile video and social media.

Some content must be multimedia-based and cater to readers with alternative modes of telling stories, especially video.

One detail we noticed during NewsTrain’s video workshop is that we don’t have the funds to make documentary-style or long-form videos like the larger, local newspapers.

Our staff personally pays for their own equipment, so acquiring those high-end cameras and being able to compensate a crew for filming time is a very expensive proposition that will take time to explore.

We do, however, have the power to make mobile video part of The Scribe by using what we already have: our personal smartphones and DSLRs. To handle this, we created the position of video editor this semester.

Social media is also an important platform we continue to incorporate into our digital storytelling. The Scribe has expanded here too with the creation of the social media editor position starting this semester.

Expansion into social media takes time, however. We’re currently focused on building our online presence by generating weekly questions for feedback from the UCCS community and posting our latest coverage.

Despite the obstacles print media faces in the Information Age, The Scribe will continue to evolve to meet any challenge.