Launching a Redesigned Newspaper

I’m a huge fan of controlled chaos. Love it. Journalism is controlled chaos. The adrenaline rush is fun. Managing unexpected challenges is fun (usually, especially when they’re done). Creating a whole out of disparate parts is fun. Doing something new is fun.

Based on my first week of the fall semester, advising a student publication is going to be fun.
There’s a group of about a dozen students who have already begun revamping The Prairie, West Texas A&M’s student newspaper. Our first issue is scheduled to hit stands on Tuesday, September 7th, and this year is going to be a big change for us.
After spending a year as a magazine format, we’re returning to a print edition. The paper is also operating under a new philosophy that focuses on content, professionalism, and innovation. Our changes also include aggressively promoting, distributing, and improving the newspaper.
The Prairie‘s staff has a keen understanding that the product they produce reflects upon themselves as individuals, their academic department, and the university as a whole. That creates a little pressure — and that’s good.
These changes haven’t gone unnoticed, by the way. There’s a buzz of excitement among faculty and staff, and several students have expressed interest in seeing the changes, too. We’re turning The Prairie “lab” into a newsroom. And, the Amarillo Globe-News, our new printing partner, plans a weekend news story dedicated to the changes we’re making.
The Prairie has created a lot of expectations among its readers, and it will have to meet (and exceed) those expectations.
I can’t wait to see my students do it. That’s going to be fun.

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