Kellogg Community College’s student paper goes digital
Battle Creek — The newspaper bins tucked away in the office of Kellogg Community College’s student newspaper tell a story that’s news in its own right.
They’re not needed anymore.
The Bruin published its last monthly print edition in June, changed its name to the Bruin News over the summer and became a digital-only publication this fall.
“I think it’s exciting for the students in the sense that it will give them not only more opportunities to participate in the news-writing process, but it will also give them more realistic experiences as well,” Simon Thalmann, the paper’s staff adviser, told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “They’ll have more opportunities to create content. Those opportunities will be closer to what journalists experience today.”
The Bruin came to life on campus as The Triad just two months after Kellogg Community College opened for business in the fall of 1956. It became What’s Bruin? in 1978 and The Bruin in 1996.
Mackenzie Ryder, a 2018 Lakeview High School graduate, recently wrote a story on the paper’s switch from print to digital, one of the first to appear on the paper’s website.
“With today’s generation, accessing the internet to read the daily scoop or catch up on the score of Sunday Night Football is more common than waiting for the arrival of the week or month’s publication. In a matter of minutes, viewing the royal couple’s wedding is possible,” Ryder wrote.
“People are more likely to read the headline of your story in passing in their Facebook or Twitter feed than they are to read it on the newsstand these days, and that impacts the way you do things as a journalist,” Thalmann told Ryder for her story.
The reasons college papers switch to digital vary, but most make the switch when advertising revenue falls flat or declines, said Kenna Griffin, vice president of the College Media Association Board of Directors.
The CMA, based in New York City, surveyed around 700 college media advisers in June and discovered that some college newspapers also cut their print editions to once or twice a week to reduce expenses.
Other papers make the switch to digital because they do not have enough writers and editors for daily digital and print content, said Griffin, though she still sees a need for college students to learn how to produce print newspapers.
“I certainly think that we need to focus on digital training, but I think that students who are graduating in the next one to five years certainly will still need print publication training, too,” she said. “We want to prepare our students for the workplace, but we also want to serve our campus community.”
The Bruin News now serves this fall’s 5,500-plus student body – many from area high schools – a steady dose of news stories and articles on arts and entertainment, sports, features and lifestyles and other topics. It also has an opinion section and front-page space for video clips and photo galleries.
The website includes a story by Taylor Vrooman, the paper’s managing editor, on a two-day gerrymandering class scheduled for October at the Battle Creek campus to give the public a better understanding of the issue before Michigan’s general election on Nov. 6.
Vrooman also wrote an article on this school year’s first Bruins Give Back volunteer event at KCC’s community garden.
Makenna Fredenburg wrote a story on local indie rock band, Super Tan, which is making its way to Urbandale on Oct. 6 for a free concert.
Vrooman, a freshman from Union City High School, said she expected the change to digital.
“Everybody has cellphones, everybody uses social media to an extent,” she said. “We don’t really use paper. We have laptops. We print if we have to.”
Thalmann said he’s also asking some of his students in a mass media class to write stories, some of which may end up on the website.
Seth Allred, a Spanish education major from Calhoun Christian School and founder of his school’s student newspaper, the CCS Press, is excited about the change.
“When I was a dual-enrolled student at KCC ... I remember seeing just the bins for the paper always full, no one took them,” he said. “I think this shift to digital is something that is not only positive, but I think it will help the students get more involved with the paper even though they’re not writing for it.”