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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Op-Ed: Why is the print edition of The Exponent important?

The Exponent Executive Board reflects on their experiences working on the print editions, offers insights into the ever-changing journalism world.
The+Exponent+Staff+gathers+to+celebrate+a+year+of+hard+work+and+community+outreach+with+the+Best+of+Berea+Awards
Austin Patterson
The Exponent Staff gathers to celebrate a year of hard work and community outreach with the “Best of Berea Awards”

Behind the scenes of The Exponent

As the art director for The Exponent, the vast majority of my job at the paper is to work on the design of the print editions. This involves coming into the newsroom around 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning and working in front of my computer until late in the evening (or, sometimes the morning of the next day). Having left Loomis 185 (where our newsroom is located) at 2, 3, and even 4 a.m. on deadline days, I know how hard The Exponent team works on the print editions. However, it is not the quality of our (multiple award-winning-at-the-national-level) paper that is under debate. The financial responsibility, however, is.

Last week, the executive board met with the university administrators. We were asked to work on reducing the vendor print cost, whether that be through re-negotiating our print contract, increasing ad sales, working with donors to support the cost or other various means that we could find. Independent of the University, we have been working to increase the business operations of our organization for the past two years, so these asks are not new ideas. The administration kindly assisted us in exploring options that we had not yet begun to work on. However, they have neither provided us with specific instructions nor a tangible timeline for an official university decision regarding our funding.

They have not provided us with a savings goal but have told us that they will continue to “support” our print editions. It was not clear if that meant through financial means or otherwise. We are grateful for the assistance they have provided us thus far, and we hope that by sharing this information, we can maintain our legacy of transparency with the University, the greater BW community, Berea and Greater Cleveland and most importantly, our beloved readers.

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As members of an academic entity of the University, we are used to working in a professional capacity within the University and with external organizations. But at what point do we cease to be students and start to be employees of the University? At what point does responsibility shift to the administration? Are we, as students, solely responsible for the 111-year legacy of The Exponent? Or is the administration responsible for upholding it as well?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but neither does the University. So, at this point, all I can do is focus on what I have control over. Designing an impactful paper with my team for the consumption of you, my dear readers, is my top priority. The stories in this issue, as in every issue, are important. Our stories aim to include as many voices as possible to ensure that the truth lies somewhere within our pages. I hope I can continue to amplify these truths to you through straightforward and unique visuals that you can continue to hold in your hands every other week.

If you are willing and able, please visit bwexponent.com/donate to help us continue to deliver our print edition. We, along with many BW students, alumni, parents, local journalists, local businesses and Berea residents, will forever be grateful for your faithful support in The Exponent.

– Alexis Watkins, Executive Art Director

On the importance of print

As print circulation has continued to fall nationally year after year, The Exponent has defied these expectations, often leaving us to consider how to best balance the emphasis we should place on our digital versus printable news product. While we have seen success through our digital platforms, the value of producing a printed newspaper is one that should not so easily be forgotten.

It is difficult to find outlets that allow us to escape from the hectic digital world that has consumed our daily lives. Many of our peers have relayed to us that picking up one of our print issues has become that digital detox they crave, providing a break from their rigorous school schedule without plugging right back into the digitial world through their cell phones.

The Exponent consistently finds less than 100 copies of our print issues sprawled across our newsstand locations in Berea when we look to replace them with 1,000 more of a new issue, a sign that the print issue is being well received in our community — not just on campus. The connectivity a physical issue brings is not to be underestimated.

Local print provides the opportunity to deal firsthand with the issues as they impact those around you and provides visibility to issues that may have otherwise been overlooked. Searching for an issue online makes the local angle news story become one in a million amongst your networks’ busy algorithms.

One location that is always out of copies is Generations of Senior Living Home Berea, our favorite location to deliver newspapers. Every time we deliver newspapers to their facility, we already see the residents speaking to each other about the topics we covered in that issue. Seeing our work have this type of impact is what really matters. Our aim is to provide a sense of community engagement to people who seek to stay connected — in print and online.

One resident of Generations of Berea, Dorothy Purdy, is a life-long Berea resident and subsequent life-long enjoyer of our print edition.

“Many, many years, I’ve lived here, and I’ve enjoyed the print news,” Purdy said. “I want to keep it coming. My grandchildren went to BW. It’s a great community and I want to know everything about it, and the printed Exponent is the best way to find out about it.”

– Simon Skoutas, Hannah Wetmore, and Sunaina Kabadkar, Exeutive Editoral Board

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