Beginning this spring, Morgan State University’s campus newspaper, The Spokesman, will become a strictly online publication.
“Advancements in society require innovation and creativity,” said Perry Sweeper, the university’s director of student media.
Sweeper oversees The Spokesman and the campus year book The Promethean. He is currently designing the paper’s website, which will eventually be maintained by a design team he selects.
Print journalism has undergone a digital transformation over the last decade, and most journalistic organizations have websites and mobile apps in addition to their printed publication.
The decision to transition to an online publication was made by the chairman of Morgan State’s communications department, Dewayne Wickham, and the supervisor of student media, Karen Houppert.
Although the Spokesman will be online-only for the rest of this school year, the print edition may not be gone forever.
“I like the idea, however, I believe that the MSU Spokesman website should be in addition to the newspaper and not limited to having one or the other," said Samuel Ofori, a Spokesman staff writer.
Sweeper said the web transition will make the paper more cost-effective and time-efficient. Writers will be able to upload stories to the public immediately rather than waiting for the release of the paper. The website will also contain a breaking news widget that will alert the campus of events as they happen.
Though the campus has not received an official announcement that the newspaper is becoming an online publication, some students are already in the know.
“The online website will create more publicity as well as easier access for the Morgan students and the Morgan community,” said senior Morgan Jazmin Fields.
Other universities have also adopted similar plans. The University of Oregon made a decision to downsize their publication, The Oregon Daily Emerald, to two weekly editions. However, at that school, the Emerald Media Group has launched a fully developed online newspaper website for their students and faculty.
Morgan State has made three previous attempts to transition to an all-online newspaper, dating back to the early 2000s.
Should this latest attempt last, the school’s journalism majors may benefit from the experience with different media.
“This is an opportunity for us as students to get real experience managing a web site and creating unique content for it. I am really excited,” said Jada Vanderpool, the co-editor in chief of the paper.