The journalism program and the Students’ Association have discontinued the print edition of the Algonquin Times, Algonquin College’s student-produced news outlet.
“I guess it’s the official suspension,” said Julie McCann, program coordinator for journalism, “but it’s been long time coming if that makes sense.”
The Algonquin Times published its last newspaper on Nov. 24, 2022 and copies can still be found on newsstands around the campus.
Claude Brulé, president of Algonquin College, was sad to hear the news.
“I will miss the print version,” Brulé said. “But I get it. To be with the times so to speak, and to be able to reach a wider audience more easily, the digital version makes a lot of sense. And the cost of printing is so exorbitant. So, I can see why the decision’s been made to go that route.”
The Algonquin Times is funded by the Students’ Association. Jack Doyle, general manager of the Students’ Association for over 33 years, was also sad to hear the news.
“When I see the Algonquin Times, there’s a message on the front or an image, and I just find that helps to contribute to the community,” said Doyle. “So, instead of it being in your face on a print version, you have to go look for it online. And so I think there’s a little bit of a loss there.”
Algonquin College students responsible for producing the printed edition were disappointed to hear the news but understood why it had happened.
“I think it’s rather sad,” said Kate Playfair, current editor of the Algonquin Times and a first-year journalism student at the college. “We’ve had it for so long and it just kind of sucks that we’re the people that don’t get to have a printed Times. But it also makes a lot of sense because it’s not cost effective and the future is online.”
Others see the end of print as an opportunity to shift the focus on teaching students skills that would be better suited to today’s digital media environment.
“It’s more opportunity for our students to focus,” said Karen Kavanaugh, program coordinator for the advertising and marketing program. Her students sell advertising for the Times and manage its marketing and promotion. “Which means that they can be more in tune with that environment, with the distribution environment, or with the website, or the email newsletter.”
The decision was made to discontinue the printed edition of the Algonquin Times as the demand for printed newspapers has decreased with modern times and the physical product became harder to produce.
“We’ve been talking with our advisory committee who are all folks working in a different wide range of media outlets,” said McCann. “A good number of them are suspending their print papers. It’s very much a community decision that’s aligning with industry needs. Our curriculum needs to match industry needs to learning outcomes.”
The 2022-23 academic year is the first year of the journalism program’s newly revised curriculum.
“The courses that used to support the production of the print edition of the Times, they don’t exist anymore,” said McCann. For the last few issues of the paper, students haven’t done the page layout or shipped it to the printer themselves as they had in the past. “We have an external production person actually taking their files and building the newspaper.”
Although the discontinuation of the printed edition of the Algonquin Times marks the end of an era, its producers remain hopeful for the future to come.
“We’re super committed to the Algonquin Times’ brand. We’ve started the process of creating a new website,” said McCann. “It’s going to look sharp and it’s going to have greater functionality.”
The Algonquin Times will continue to provide news updates and regular media content on its website, through social media and through its email newsletter.