Alumni Newsletter

Mattingly: From the editor’s desk

Editor in chief and former news editor Justin Mattingly discusses the growth of The D.O.'s web team and its emphasis on video.

Going into last year, it was clear The Daily Orange needed to pay more attention to the web. According to a 2015 survey administered by the then-staff our on campus print readership was down. We, like countless other newspapers, needed to move beyond our identity as a print-focused publication.

Over the course of the past 18 months, we’ve seen serious growth in online readership (up about 25 percent) and a renewed focus among the staff in our digital presentation. The D.O.’s web team, which started out in fall 2015 as a group of five, has nearly doubled in size. This semester we felt the best way to continue that growth was by expanding our emphasis on video.

The first step in expanding our video presence was hiring a second assistant video editor. The two assistants — one a former assistant feature editor and the other a former news copy editor — work under Amanda Caffey, who previously served as an assistant video editor. As their titles imply, the trio focuses on editing rather than shooting. They operate as supervisors in charge of a section just like the mainstays — News, Sports, Pulp and Opinion — at the paper.

Though it’s still early, the video team has already produced more videos this semester than it did in the last. They’ve mostly focused on news events, supplementing our coverage of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration and the protests that have followed.

Video has become a focal point of our coverage and will continue to expand given the changing nature of our student audience.

None of this is to say our print product is declining. In fact, print advertising sales are up more than 15 percent compared to last year. It remains our largest revenue source. We’re creating online and print advertising packages for clients to get more bang for their buck.

But our on campus readership is decreasing. There’s no hiding that. In response, we’ve changed our distribution model to branch further out from campus, delivering to more spaces throughout the city of Syracuse and its suburbs. This brings The Daily Orange a whole new readership base and advertising market. We’re also building an app, something we hope will be popular with students for both push notifications and reading that day’s paper online.

A big hit for readers was our Monday paper highlighting Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim’s unofficial 1,000th win. The wraparound cover was the culmination of a year of advanced photo illustrations by former photo editor Jessica Sheldon featured in our sports special editions. As Boeheim’s 1,000th* win approached, we knew something special had to be done. Yes, the NCAA had vacated 101 wins, but the real number was 1,000 in many fans’ eyes. As Senior Staff Writer Connor Grossman wrote in a column in the aforementioned paper, “Saturday centered around a historic milestone, clear to all who looked away from the NCAA’s record book: 1,000 career wins.”

It’s already been an exciting semester, which has gone by a little too fast for this graduating senior. With three months left, there’s still work to be done. Here’s a look at what’s on the agenda.

Palooza

We’re excited to have more than 40 alumni committed to D.O. Palooza so far. March 3-5 is going to be an action-packed weekend with timely panels and good fellowship. We hope you can make it. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to editor@dailyorange.com. You can also check out the Palooza Facebook page for updates, including the schedule.

744 Ostrom Ave.

One of the biggest clouds over this year has been the pending demolition of our beloved home, 744 Ostrom Ave. The university was slated to release a revised Campus Framework — the plan that will determine the future of our office — in January but pushed its self-imposed deadline to “later this spring.” We’re working on negotiating a new lease for the house while a task force explores alternative spaces for the paper.

Fundraising

Since Trump’s inauguration, there’s been a push across the country to support journalism. As someone who hopes to make a career in newspapers, it’s inspiring to see the #PressOn movement on Twitter and New York Times subscriptions double in 2016.

Like politics, though, everything can’t be concentrated at the top. Metro newspapers need our support. Weekly newspapers deserve our readership. The Daily Orange requires your help. Operating as a four-day print publication with a 24/7 web presence requires a tight hand on the budget and support from the outside. That’s where you come in.

I ask that you consider giving, whether it be $5 or $100, to help us complete our fundraising wish list. These initiatives will help us expand our coverage and grow as journalists. In my opinion, that’s a cause worth investing in.

Justin Mattingly (’17) is the editor in chief and former managing editor and news editor of The Daily Orange. He serves as president of the Board of Directors. Please feel free to contact him at editor@dailyorange.com and on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

Comments

Top Stories