BYU Today

Daily Universe Goes Digital

After 56 years on newsprint, the BYU student paper is moving online.

BYU’s student-produced newspaper, the Daily Universe, will become an online daily by the end of the 2012 winter semester—Police Beat and all.

The Department of Communications announced the change Jan. 12, citing two major factors: the need to better prepare students for the digital-news landscape and the fact that the Universe, as a daily printed product, is not financially sustainable.

The Daily Universe is not abandoning print entirely, however. The news organization will have a weekly print edition that will be distributed on campus. Additional special sections may also be occasionally produced on newsprint.

“We feel that this move will best prepare our students to work in multiple news platforms,” said the Universe’s managing editor and journalism professor Joel J. Campbell (BA ’87). “We will continue to focus on solid journalism and good storytelling, and this change will enable us to make more information available to readers more quickly.”

In its online format, the Universe will post news as it occurs. This digital-first format will be bolstered by changes to strengthen the journalism curriculum. Effective spring term 2012, the news lab will include text, image, audio, video, mobile, and tablet formats and will continue to explore emerging news applications.

While the primary driver of the decision was the quality of the journalism curriculum, the free 18,500-circulation Universe has been operating at a loss since 2009, and advertising revenue has continued to trend downward over time. With the emergence of new media alternatives, the news industry, say faculty members, is witnessing a fundamental shift in the way audiences find and consume news and in the way advertisers reach audiences.

“We are grateful to the Department of Communications for their careful review and analysis leading up to the decision,” said academic vice president Brent W. Webb (BS ’81). “We believe this transition will strengthen and support their curriculum and meet the educational needs of our students.”

It does mark the end of an era though: BYU has had a printed campus paper since the Student appeared in 1881. Various publications came and went until the Brigham Young Universe was established in 1948. In 1956 they changed the title to the Daily Universe and began publishing every day, Monday through Friday. The Daily Universe became a lab newspaper, a training ground for communications majors, in 1970, and thousands of alumni have worked on the paper in the years since.

“We understand that, in many ways, this change is difficult for our students, for our classes, and, most importantly, for the dedicated individuals who produce the Daily Universe print edition every day,” says communications department chair Brad L. Rawlins. “As a daily newspaper, the Daily Universe has served the BYU community for decades. We anticipate that this new emphasis on a digital-first platform is the next stage in meeting our audience’s needs.”

You can follow the Daily Universe’s digital content and feeds on the Web at universe.byu.edu, on Twitter at @DailyUniverse, and on Facebook at facebook.com/TheDailyUniverse. Readers can also subscribe to a Daily Universe news e-mail through universe.byu.edu or download the Daily Universe mobile app on iTunes and the Android market.

See memorable Daily Universe front pages from the last seven decades at magazine.byu.edu/dudigital.

You can also read the Daily Universe’s special 50th-anniversary edition, which is full of actual stories and highlights dating as far back as 1955.