For centuries – and decades, in this publication’s case – newspapers have played a critical role in the emotional and physical connection Americans have with society and their communities. Reading my dad’s copy of the Chicago Tribune every Sunday growing up remains a uniquely nostalgic routine of my childhood because it made me feel connected to the city, just like picking up The Badger Herald for the first time made me feel a special connection to this university.
But that connection is changing as an entire generation of news consumers abandons newspapers in pursuit of a more in-depth, cost-effective and exciting way to receive and understand current events. The University of Wisconsin’s classes that haven’t even formed yet will only understand a printed newspaper as a novelty when they arrive here. The Badger Herald serves this new generation of a news-reading public and understands print publication is facing an inevitable and unavoidable phase of upheaval.
The Herald has consistently been among the most innovative and independent of all student newspapers, and we take our roles as experimenters in the student media world seriously. As student journalists, we do not merely learn how to do journalism, but we also provide a preview of what journalism will look like when we lead the industry.
For this reason, this newspaper will cease print publication on Fridays in an effort to begin a transitional experiment with online news. Our website continues to adjust and improve along with the journalists who work here, and we relish the opportunity to begin the work of making the Herald one of the best online news sources in the Madison area.
The crisis in the publishing industry has led just about every media watchdog to see these types of announcements in a pessimistic light. We could not disagree more with this vision of the student press or the future of journalism. I remain optimistic the Herald will be a source of pride in the UW community for the years to come – no matter what changes we make.