The announcement was made in SPJ president Sonny Albarado’s blog:
The time, energy and costs associated with printing a daily journal for just three days have expanded to the point that we had to take a serious look at the cost-benefit ratio. Another factor we considered is that a fourth of the students who participate in the Working Press are dedicated to production activities rather than going out and about to gain reporting experience. While there remains a need for designers and other “production” workers, we felt the more valuable experience would for students would be in honing their online and video production skills along with their reporting and writing skills.
We intend to keep the project a competitive internship for about 12 students. They will cover the convention as they always have (while making contacts within the news industry.) Working professionals will continue to serve as advisers. The only major difference will be in how the news about the convention is delivered – online via social media and other platforms.
Albarado also said that there were challenges and limitations in producing a printed product, but that the decision was easy when considering the need for SPJ to be perceived as relevant among the next generation of journalists.
While a conference newspaper isn’t the same as The New York Times or Washington Post, the fact that it’s produced by the SPJ only underscores just how fast the importance of the printed page has fallen in the last few years.