At 147, the Maine campus is one of the oldest continuously published newspapers in Maine, with only the Bates Student, Bowdoin Orient, and Lewiston Sun-Journal being older.
But beginning this school year, the University of Maine student newspaper not only renamed itself Maine Campus Media, but also permanently ceased publication of its print edition. The shift to an all-digital platform is a long-lasting change, said commercial director Griffin Lord, a new media specialist.
“We’re a student newspaper and our people just don’t read the print. It hasn’t been read for years, actually,” Lord said. “We are not reaching our target audience. So that will help us do just that.
The move to an all-digital format reflects a move away from print that has been underway for years among both mainstream news publications and other student media – whether it’s reducing the number of days when they publish a print edition or go digital only like Maine Campus Media.
While Lord, editor Grace Blanchard and chief marketing officer Logan Swift expected some pushback from faculty, their advisers or alumni, the overwhelming response when they suggested the change more earlier this year was a resounding yes.
“We were concerned that there was some sort of 1880s clause that said the Maine campus absolutely had to be printed. But no, none of that,” Blanchard said. “It’s definitely a long time coming. It’s sad, because the print is so cool, but it just doesn’t make sense anymore.
The Maine campus will continue to publish weekly news, views, cultural and sports stories written by UMaine students, with new articles posted to the website every Monday. Additionally, staff plan to develop a Maine Campus app to further expand the outlet’s ability to reach students where they are, primarily on their phones. They also plan to offer more comics and student-created artwork and launch a podcast in the coming months.
The rebranding to Maine Campus Media reflects this change.
“We’re now a digital publication, so it makes sense for the name to reflect that,” Swift said.
Technically, the Maine campus hasn’t printed anything since the start of the pandemic, since the print edition was only distributed on campus, and there was no one on campus to read it during the spring semester. 2020 which has been cut short. The Maine campus also delayed restoring its print version for two pandemic-altered academic years.
But when it became clear things would return to relative normal for the 2022-23 school year, Lord said they felt the time was right to make the change permanent.
During the 1980s, the Maine Campus was a daily newspaper with a circulation of more than 5,000 copies. By the 1990s it had moved to printing three times a week, and by the 2000s it moved to twice a week, then once a week in 2012.
He is famous for helping launch the writing career of Stephen King, who wrote a column for the newspaper between 1969 and 1971 titled Steve King’s Garbage Truck, and published one of his first short stories in its pages.