“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — John F. Kennedy
It’s a new day at the Collegian. When I took over the reins in January, I wanted to forge a community newspaper that acted as a good neighbor to the people of K-State and Manhattan. I want to take a moment to discuss the changes we’ve made so far and the changes we’re making in the immediate future.
Newspapers used to be the center of the community. Our community is now online, so that’s where we’ll be. The Collegian is up for an Online Pacemaker award for our website and social media presence. While we’re honored to be nominated for such a prestigious award, we aren’t using it as an excuse to slow down.
On Aug. 20, we hosted our first Ask Me Live chat with our first guest, coach Bill Snyder. AML is a weekly live Q-and-A event that allows the community to interact with famous and notable people around K-State, Kansas and the country. Rather than ask pre-formulated questions in a closed interview, we want readers to ask the questions and make comments to the guests. Journalism is much more powerful when it’s in the hands of the people.
Another part of our online push is to have a greater focus on our online content and to produce as many updates as we possibly can. I’ve created the position of Online Editor, whose job includes consistent publishing of new stories throughout the day. At the Collegian, you can expect at least three updates and at least four new stories posted to our site before 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, including news, sports, features and Hashtag stories. The stories you read at lunch and dinner will be different than the stories you read at breakfast.
The Collegian App
We’re really excited about the changes coming to our app. I firmly believe the worth of a newspaper is the service it provides to the community. That’s why I’m proud to announce that we are partnering with K-State Parking Services to incorporate the Parking Garage app within our own. The Parking Garage app will allow students, faculty and visitors to monitor how full the garage is before driving to campus, cutting down on the amount of time people have to spend finding a spot to park.
Additionally, we’re retooling the app in the next few months to make it even more functional and useful for readers. While I can’t reveal everything at this moment, I will say we are doing things with our app that no other collegiate newspaper in the country is doing.
We’re going hard on news this semester. If it happens on campus, we want to be the first and best source of information about it. To supplement this, we also want to feature interesting profiles of local people and groups. We’ve added the adventure beat, showcasing the best of local, exciting places to be and experience.
Beginning shortly, we will have a new student features section, showing the best work of student writers, poets and artists. Our site includes exclusives like AML and our weekly sports roundtable vlog. Whereas our website will always be updated with the latest news, our print edition will feature a visually appealing mix of features, news and sports.
I remember the first time walking into the Collegian with a room full of people and walking out with a lot of unanswered questions from people who were too busy for me. I knew that I wanted things to be different for students who wanted to write or take photos for us. If editors aren’t making time and teaching our fellow students, we’re failing at our jobs.
I’ve since incorporated the Collegian Promise. Made up of five parts, the promise is made to every contributor who walks through the door. Probably the most important part is the one-hour guarantee. If a student journalist can’t reach an editor, they can always contact me and hear back within an hour.
While the Collegian is the only one out of the six state university student newspapers that still prints daily, we have to provide better online coverage and valuable working experience to our fellow students. We can only do that by placing greater emphasis on our online efforts. Although we’ve certainly made improvements and won great accolades since I first took over, we need to do more. We owe it to the readers, to the community and to ourselves to be better neighbors.
Jon Parton is a senior in political science.