Phoebe Suy | Staff Writer
Times are changing, and so is The Baylor Lariat. Beginning this fall, the Lariat will only publish in print on Tuesdays and Fridays while broadening its digital presence.
Breaking news and university developments will be published on the Lariat website, mobile app, social media accounts, Waco Cable Channel 18 and Morning Buzz e-mail newsletter.
“Our goal is to be the best source of information about Baylor,” said assistant media adviser Julie Reed. “None of that is changing. What is changing is the medium.”
The switch from physical papers to scrolling screens is a natural progression, given the development and accessibility of social media. Pew Research Center reported in August 2017 that roughly nine in 10 adults get news from a mobile device or desktop.
“It’s just the changing nature of the media,” Reed said. “People are not picking up papers. They are reading online, they’re going to their apps, they’re reading social media.”
Reed said she believed it was good stewardship to decrease the number of print papers because the Lariat was having to recycle many of them.
“We are just trying to pick up where the industry is changing right now,” Reed said. “We are not doing less. We are actually doing more.”
Online readers can expect to see updated features in the Lariat app, interactivity on the Lariat website, multimedia-focused design and more social media usage. The print version of the Lariat will be larger and primarily feature-based. For example, the Friday edition will feature much more arts, life, entertainment, student activities and events.
“We [at the Lariat] have the liberty of experimenting as students,” said digital managing editor Katy senior Deidre Martinez. “I would argue that really makes for great content because we are not afraid to make mistakes.”
The Baylor Lariat is not alone in its effort to go digital. University newspapers such as The Cornell Daily Sun, Alabama’s Crimson White and Duke’s Chronicle have also adjusted their publication strategies to suit their audiences’ needs.
“In reality, we are adapting,” Martinez said. “In order for the paper to do well, that’s what needs to happen.”
Bruce Gietzen, the new director of student media, said he’d like to see Baylor publications continue to expand their digital capacity as they adapt to the changing journalism industry.
Gietzen began his position as director of student media on Aug. 7, and he oversees the Baylor Lariat, Roundup yearbook, Focus Magazine and Lariat TV News. He was KXXV Channel 25’s primetime news anchor for 13 years before transitioning to Waco ISD to serve as director of communications for one year.
“Some of the basics from journalism are universal no matter what format you are in,” Gietzen said. “You’ve got to learn to be a good writer, how to think out of the box and be a good storyteller. I think that’s true whether it’s a print, broadcast or digital format.”
Shifting from a print emphasis to a multimedia focus gives the Lariat the freedom to explore different methods of storytelling. Phoenix junior and editor-in-chief Bailey Brammer said that this transition offers the staff a unique opportunity to redefine what the Lariat looks like.
“This year we get to say not necessarily digital first, or not necessarily print first, but news first,” Brammer said. “So, whatever avenue that comes in—print, digital broadcast or radio, we get to decide that and we get to define that.”
Readers don’t have to wait until Tuesday or Friday to get the most up-to-date information. Connect with the Lariat today – we’re there when you can’t be.