August 20, 2003 — The Daily Utah Chronicle (The Chronicle), the University of Utah’s student newspaper, is undergoing dramatic changes.
Formerly tabloid size, The Chronicle, read by 30,000 people daily, will now be published in broadsheet form. Newspaper Agency Corporation (NAC), the same press that prints The Deseret Morning News, The Salt Lake Tribune and locally distributed editions of USA TODAY, will now also print the student newspaper.
On Fridays, beginning with the Sept. 5 issue, The Chronicle will include Sports Illustrated on Campus, a new weekly stand-alone magazine dedicated to college athletics and the sports interests of college students. The U is one of 70 major universities selected, based on a variety of criteria, including student enrollment and the success and popularity of their sports programs on several levels, to receive Sports Illustrated’s college edition. Distribution on Fridays will provide the University campus community with perspective on upcoming weekend games and rivalries across the country.
In addition, The New York Times crossword puzzle will now be featured in The Chronicle.
Sheena McFarland, editor-in-chief of The Chronicle, is confident the changes will enhance the paper by drawing attention to the editorial content. “We are committed to providing students with accurate, compelling and informative news on a variety of issues. We are also committed to increasing the paper’s credibility and professionalism,” she notes. “These changes are designed to do just that.”
Peter Wilhelm, the paper’s new advertising manager, hired in June, explains that producing the paper in a broadsheet format is actually less expensive and more efficient. “Broadsheet production will all be done electronically, with a hard and fixed 12:30 a.m. deadline, which means distribution can be on time, before 7:30 a.m. classes. Most schools our size are already broadsheet,” he says. “The Chronicle’s mission is to provide a learning environment for our writers, sales, lay out, computer and production people in all aspects of producing a newspaper. Transitioning to broadsheet provides a more real-world learning experience. When our students transition to the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Salt Lake Tribune or The Deseret Morning News, they will be accustomed to working with broadsheet.
“The Chronicle will still deliver the same award-winning content that it has delivered since 1890,” Wilhelm explains. “Last year the paper’s staff won 24 awards in our region of the Society of Professional Journalists’ competition.
“Collegiate sports have a national following. The Chronicle doesn’t have the resources to cover a lot of other schools’ sports. Carrying SI on Campus is our way of providing quality national sports coverage and competitive analysis for the U,” Wilhelm explains.
Including SI on Campus makes sense from a business standpoint as well, notes Adam Ward, business manager for The Chronicle, who, over the last two years has implemented accounting and production systems to allow the paper to grow. “Advertisers already want to buy ads in our Thursday paper because it includes RED, Utah’s only weekly arts and entertainment publication. We’re hoping that by carrying SI on Campus it will give students, faculty and staff another reason-besides our campus news-to pick up the paper on Fridays and that advertisers will want to be sure their ads are seen in the paper on that day.”
Although The Chronicle will be larger, about the same number of column inches will be produced and RED will remain the same tabloid size, which according to Ward, “allows for better demarcation between RED magazine and the paper.”
Another change: Staff at The Salt Lake Tribune will mentor staff members at The Chronicle. “Trib sports writers will meet with Chrony sports writers; sales people will meet with student advertising representatives; production people will meet with the student production team,” notes Ward.
Ward hired Wilhelm in June as The Chronicle’s first-ever professional sales manager, with the goal of increasing advertising revenues. Since then, there have been 50 percent more ad sales than last year at this time, Ward reports. A media consultant, Wilhelm owned a TV news syndication company that served 210 NBC television affiliates. While sales are important, Wilhelm maintains, “Providing the best learning environment and best service to the students is our first priority.”