Daily Leadership Bolsters Paper's Offerings to Keep Pace with Changing Industry
Editor's note: The SJMC is proud of The Minnesota Daily and its first place award for Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper in the 2008 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards, Region 6, presented in March at the Midwest Journalism Conference in Bloomington, Minn. The Daily also took home seven other first place spots in various categories, continuing its tradition of excellence.
The editorial division includes the people who write and edit stories, shoot videos and photos, and design and edit pages.
This year, the Daily has continued to add features and innovations to its Web site. After a summer 2008 redesign, the Daily has been able to reinvigorate all the features of the old site and add many new ones, looking to keep pace with industry trends. We now have a complete multimedia page with slideshows, videos, podcasts and more. When the Daily was forced to make budget cuts, including discontinuing publication of the Friday print edition, the paper took advantage of something that could have been detrimental to its news coverage by extending its Web operations into the weekend with the Sports Weekend edition and the A&E's Culture Compass--two online-only features that appear on the weekend.
The Daily has taken strong initiative in reaching out to students and the University of Minnesota community through social media including an interactive Facebook application, which received much media attention because of its potential as a business model. The Daily is also using Twitter, not only to send out links and breaking news updates to its readers but to allow readers to contribute tweets to the mndaily.com Web site through the new "Campus Tweets" feature. To create a place for community interaction on its Web site, the Daily launched a section for forums, which allows students to discuss various topics.
We look forward to continuing to improve our Web site with various new features for students.
After a financially difficult year, the Daily has made a lot of adjustments that have set us up for financial success this semester as well as future semesters. After making a lot of tough decisions at once, we were able to focus our attention on our marketing efforts, searching for new streams of revenue and monetizing our Web site.
We have partnered with many campus organizations and events to further our brand equity through Orientation and First-Year Programs, Relay for Life, Housing and Residential Life, Homecoming, Spring Jam, Intercollegiate Athletics and others. We have relaunched our online classifieds to compete with other classified listings such as Craigslist and Uloop. We hope that this site catches on and becomes a useful tool for students on campus. We have also found many opportunities to offer marketing tools to our clients through our Web site as well as our newly launched Facebook application. We are very excited about the revenue possibilities that could come from online in the coming year.
We have expanded our print portfolio by discovering the demand for special issues and specialty publications like the "Ski-U-Mah!" graduation issue we put together this year. We expect to do more special projects like this and even expand on the graduation issue next year.
As the economy pulls out of the recession in the coming year, we look forward to financially prosperous times, expanding our online edition, continuing the trend of increasing print readership, winning more awards and continuing to make The Minnesota Daily the number one student-run newspaper in the country.
The administrative division includes the online department, the information systems department and the human resources department.
One of the major projects for the online department was the redesign of the mndaily.com Web site that was launched in the fall of 2008. Throughout this past school year, the online staff has continued to improve the site and add features. Some of the more recent additions include a new header that allows for additional advertising space, a new user-friendly archive system featuring an interactive "Stories Calendar," and a sidebar that goes with each story allowing for more photos and multimedia features. In addition to developing the Daily Web site, the online staff has worked closely with the information systems staff to ensure that all equipment, software and applications are working correctly for Daily employees.
The human resources department works to ensure that the needs of Daily employees are being met by providing monthly roundtable discussions, performance reviews and up-to-date employee information and resources. One special focus of HR this past year has been to strengthen our recruitment and hiring policies. Our new approach helps to ensure that we are hiring the most qualified individuals to continue providing award-winning content and high-quality service to the University community.