Syracuse U. campus paper moves Friday edition online

SYRACUSE — The Daily Orange will no longer publish a print edition of its newspaper on Fridays because of a series of financial setbacks that make printing and distributing a paper on the week's slowest day impractical.

In the absence of a print copy of the day's news, there will be a complete edition's worth of content published on the paper's Web site, dailyorange.com.

"We had to make the decision for the future on The D.O.," said Stephen Dockery, editor in chief of the newspaper. "The budget concern was only part of the Friday cut, but it is also a way for new media implementation."

A football preview print edition will appear on six Fridays during the year, each on a day preceding a home game for the university's football team.

The decision to eliminate Friday's print edition comes in the wake of two major financial drains on the publication.

A pending lawsuit against the paper by a local business has forced management to scale back costs in order to maintain funds to pay for legal fees. The lawsuit pertains to a story originally published in 2006.

The other financial setback that has drained the paper's bank accounts was the failed "315" insert magazine that appeared in Thursday editions for four semesters starting in 2005. Management ceased the publication of the weekend activity guide (which was written in magazine style) after it failed to attract the weekend advertising it was designed to appeal to.

The D.O. has been an independent student newspaper since 1971. It operates in the same manner as any other business, relying on market sales to finance production. The paper receives no financial backing from the university.

While the independent status has allowed the paper to maintain journalistic independence in its coverage of the university, it also eliminates the possibility of obtaining Syracuse University money in difficult times.

The decision to eliminate Friday editions was based on the steep readership decline on Fridays, the school week's slowest day. In the fall of 2007, only 12 percent of all class meetings took place on Friday. Compared with at least 1,900 class meetings on Mondays through Thursdays.

The D.O. has a circulation of 9,000 and is distributed free to more than 100 locations on and around the SU campus, including Armory Square, South Side, Hanover, City Courts, Westcott and Nottingham business areas. The paper's readership is approximately 20,000 based on a large online readership of parents and alumni scattered around the country and seeking campus news.

"We hope to tailor content toward students and our online readership to provide further coverage of the university's news," Dockery said.

The decision to end Friday publications was made at the end of the summer by the Board of Directors and editors were informed in e-mails shortly before the year began.

Dockery said: "We will review the decision, but the transition between print and electronic news may prove to be an asset for the newspaper."

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