Large media corporations purchase publications to reach younger audiences
By Hannah Locke
Some college newspapers across the country are being purchased by larger media corporations as these companies move to reach younger audiences and increase revenues.
According to The Baltimore Sun, corporations have noticed that out of 6 million full-time undergraduates in the U.S., 76 percent of them read their college papers.
This has opened up new revenues waiting to be discovered by advertising companies. Advertisers have noted that most college students make big financial decisions during their time at school, such as cars, insurance and electronics.
Another reason large corporations are suddenly interested in taking over student papers is the fact that more students are reading articles online. Student Monitor tracked the habits of students and found that while they spend approximately 10 hours a week watching TV, they spend about 15 hours online.
Students tend to read their campus newspapers online to keep up with what’s going on around campus and with what’s appealing to their personal tastes. With 600 school papers now serving students with online editions, advertisers have been quick to market their potential. Many sites now advertise for national companies and chains.
Melissa Hall, a business major, said, “It takes away from the opportunities and the experience that [students] normally wouldn’t get.” She doesn’t read The Gargoyle regularly, but when she does, she’s glad to be reading what fellow students have written. She remarked that if the articles were written by professionals, they probably wouldn’t have the same perspective as college students.
Last August, Florida State University’s FSView & Florida Flambeau was bought by The Tallahassee Democrat. Local papers found themselves competing with FSU’s campus paper for readership. Also last year, MTV purchased the company that owns College Publisher, the nation’s largest network of online college newspaper sites.
Catie Hodge, a political science major, said, “I wouldn’t read The Gargoyle as religiously as I do” if it were primarily written by professionals instead of students. She reads The New York Times daily to keep in contact with the world outside of college, but she said it’s different than reading a campus paper.
Both Hodge and Hall remarked that if such a change were to happen at Flagler College they wouldn’t be pleased about it, as they said that college is supposed to enhance experiences and opportunities and not take them away for the sake of professionalism.