The editorial team of The Cadre, who are making the move to online only, respond to my post about the shift. From their website:
Thanks for taking notice of The Cadre’s shift to online-only content. As you might imagine, these are wild times for us. We’ve gone from student newspaper, to student news empire, and we’re really excited to start firing with all blasters cylinders in our new format.
In response to your recent article, we figured it would be nice to provide you with a bit more of The Cadre’s history.
As noted in the big announcement last spring, UPEI’s student paper has been around since 1969. Since then, we have gone through a number of names, editors, logos, lawsuits, and pretty well anything else you can think of. Just a few years ago we changed our name to the fucking “Panther Post” and back again before we knew what hit us. Although we’ve been printing for over 40 years, we’re accustomed to change.
Now, we’re going online-only.
Personally, we think this is a good change. Over the past few years our paper has suffered from a small budget, an even smaller readership, and a series of shitty deals with printers that refuse to allow us to run less than 2,000 copies at a time. With a student population of less than 4,500 here at UPEI, we consistently ended up with a foolish amount of wasted paper littering the campus. Issues were thrown out. Issues were taken en mass by representatives of the PEI Humane Society to cover the kennel floors.
You get the idea.
In the end, we believe that going online-only is a move in the right direction, and one that will certainly become relevant to UPEI students on a day-to-day basis.
You mentioned how students often rely on their campus newspapers to read casually, on the bus or in the cafeteria. There’s no denying that The Cadre served that purpose at UPEI. However, by printing new issues only every 3 to 4 weeks, the quality of the paper simply was not there. The new format allows us to cover news as it happens, not a month later.
Just think: had our format remained the same, this response would not have been released for another three weeks, and you likely would never have found it.
The rest after the jump:
As for lost ad revenue, we’ve been consistently inconsistent in that department over the past couple of years. Because of the systematic change to the look and feel of the paper year over year, we never had a footing in the local ad market to being with. The only way to go is up from here on out. Our business manager is already hard at work trying to keep our numbers at par with last year’s. As our new home expands and we dress it up with prettier bells, we’ll be more and more adept to serving our potential advertisers.
We would be more worried about taking our service online if there wasn’t already some great student news orgs making waves online. Most notably, NYU Local and Penn State’s Onward State are online-only student news blogs that routinely break national stories at their schools. Is their student population 100x larger than ours? Yes, but it is a scalable operation. The small guys can succeed, too.
So, in response to your question, we’re confident that we’re riding the wave of the future. Keep an eye on us this year. We think that we can make our little UPEI news empire shine like the dusty old monthly paper was struggling so hard to do.
First, thanks to The Cadre for the informative response. They certainly make a convincing case going online-only is the right move for their paper.
As for other campus web publications that have been successful, along with Onward State and NYU Local I'd also point to UBC Insiders and Eye on the UVSS. Both of those websites have found a great niche and consistently beat out their respective campus newspapers on certain issues.
Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing how The Cadre's experiment works out.
Because how can you argue with a news empire?