Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Iowa State Daily—Seeing the New Newspaper

ISU uses the second floor of this building, located across Lincoln Way from the main part of campus. In my day, that area was called "dog town," although my sons who went to ISU tell me nobody calls it that now.

I was at the Iowa College Media Association meeting in Ames today, and as part of the meeting, got to tour the nice new site of the Iowa State Daily and hear some interesting thoughts from Lawrence Cunningham, the general manager.

The Daily has seen some tough days, and a bit more than a year ago came within a fortnight of folding. Since then, the paper has become a more multi-media organization and has started to gain revenue by selling communication services as a media agency.

It can’t be a development that makes journalists comfortable—but, then again, the world has irrevocably changed, and journalism has to find a way to generate revenue.

People seem hungry for information—but in today’s internet environment, they also expect information to be free. That’s not a sustainable expectation, so the Daily is among the media outlets trying all kinds of new news strategies.

Anyway, the Daily has moved into a new site in a building right across the street from Lake Laverne. It is engaged in a metamorphosis that I’ll watch with eager interest.

Entrance area to ISU Daily part of second floor.

At Mount Mercy, I’m hoping to get the media staff at the MMU Times to adopt a more internet-first strategy. We’ve also used social media, but need to do more in a more consistent, frequent, intentional and controlled manner.

We’re behind the Daily in development—but are inevitably on a similar path. Over the next year, figuring out that path is one of our major challenges.

At least, knock on wood, we aren’t a fortnight from folding. But the world has changed for all media outlets.

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