Chronicle’s 28-year run ends today, as news delivery evolves
As the University prepares a new generation of electronic publications for faculty, staff, students and friends, the University of Chicago Chronicle is publishing its final issue.
The University News Office launched the Chronicle 28 years ago as a way to speak directly to the University community, at a time when newspapers were a firmly established habit and print provided one of the most economical ways to reach a large number of people.
But reading habits have changed dramatically in recent years. A survey of Chronicle readers this spring showed that 96 percent get some or most of their news from the Internet. Intended for an audience of more than 27,000 faculty and staff members, students and friends, fewer than 4,000 copies of the Chronicle were picked up from the free drop boxes around campus and the neighborhood during each of three different samplings this spring.
Over the last two years, the University also has created new avenues to report important developments and share news of the accomplishments of faculty, staff, students and alumni, including the electronic newsletter UChicago News and the redesigned Web pages at uchicago.edu. The University has created a new online community for alumni and friends, and introduced a universal calendar of events.
A redesign of the news page on the University’s Web site is slated for fall 2009, and it will provide a platform for a family of new reports tailored to the interests of different segments of the University community, outside media and interested observers around the world. In a world increasingly accustomed to instant information, all these improvements offer timely news and updates.
“We are providing more information about the University, to more people, in more ways than ever before,” said Julie Peterson, Vice President for Communications. “With that comes an unprecedented effort to reach out to our most important constituents, the University community. We know that our work on this is only beginning, and we welcome readers’ thoughts as we use new media to build more effective communications tools.”
Last fall the News Office introduced the weekly e-mail newsletter UChicago News, which links readers to news and features about the University, outside media coverage, upcoming events, multimedia offerings and important announcements. Steve Kloehn, Associate Vice President for News and Public Affairs, encourages Chronicle readers to subscribe by clicking on the link at http://news.uchicago.edu.
At the same time Kloehn said the News Office is re-examining the way it reports on everything from new research discoveries to life on campus, cultural events to institutional milestones. The project is also exploring new options for delivery, from breaking news updates to print-on-demand products.
“After 21 years in newspapers, I don’t relish the thought of ending the Chronicle,” Kloehn said. “But as we look to make the best use of our finite resources, it becomes clear that we have better tools available. This is a chance for us to build around what people want and need now, and use the best ideas and technology to get it to them.”
He said that the new generation of Internet, e-mail and print-on-demand publications will continue to highlight news that Chronicle readers identified as important in this spring’s survey, including faculty and student accolades, highlights of outside media coverage and obituaries for members of the University community.
Laurie Davis, who has been editor of the Chronicle for the past 11 years, and assistant editor Michael Drapa already have taken on a number of new tasks, including editing the feature packages that appear on the University’s home page and producing UChicago News. As the Chronicle concludes its run, they will move to editing and developing a range of communications for the News Office.
“It’s been a privilege to edit the Chronicle over the past 11 years, reporting on our faculty and students’ research and achievements,” Davis said. “We will continue to tell those stories in many of the new publications, which are quickly becoming the norm.”
People’s fast-changing habits in how they get their news and information have dictated changes in newspaper publishing that reach from the nation’s biggest dailies to weekly and biweekly college and university newspapers, said Davis. “We hope to establish more effective and more economical methods to deliver the news that Chronicle readers have come to value.”
Electronic archives of the Chronicle will be maintained at http://news.uchicago.edu.
“Even as we push forward, we want to thank Laurie and Mike and all the people who have devoted their time and effort to telling the University’s story through the Chronicle,” Peterson said.
“We also want to thank Chronicle readers, who have been smart, passionate companions and critics through this journey. We look forward to continuing that conversation in a new forum.”