Columbia Daily Spectator, Columbia University’s nearly 137-year-old newspaper, printed its last daily issue on Monday, May 5th. The paper will now be printed weekly and updated frequently online.
“With this new Web-first model, we hope to bring you more of the stories that need to be told—breaking news, comprehensive investigations, dynamic multimedia, and colorful commentary,” the editors wrote in a letter last week.
Spectator’s editors insisted they will continue to publish every day, but the product will be online, not in print. Since Spectator is going weekly, the paper’s weekly magazine, The Eye, will now be an online magazine.
But there were many who disagreed with the decision. Trustee John R. MacArthur, the president of Harper’s magazine, resigned last week from the Spectator’s board in protest. “I don’t want to be associated with the disappearance of Spectator into digital oblivion,” he wrote in an email to the Board of Trustees.
“Absolutely I’m disowning the institution,” MacArthur told Daily Intelligencer. “I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I don’t hope they succeed at doing better interactive graphics.”
Monday’s paper only made note of the final edition on the front page in a headline about the masthead. The paper’s former publisher, Alex Smyk, wrote an opinion column saying the decision to focus more on digital was “tough.”
“That very real threat of financial failure, made even more real by current trends in the traditional media industry, is what makes the Spectator’s business team so exciting,” Smyk wrote.
The paper also featured an op-ed from a former editorial page editor, Miriam Datskovsky, who wrote she had “concerns” with the decision to go cancel the daily print edition.
“I love Spec with all my heart, and in even my poorest days, I have found ways to donate and contribute to this paper I am so lucky to have been, and continue to be, a part of,” Datskovsky wrote. “Spec gives students a set of life skills you cannot get anywhere else—a set that has served me professionally and personally ever since.”
NOTE: This article incorrectly named Alex Smyk as the editor of Columbia Daily Spectator. Smyk was the publisher of the paper’s 136th and 137th volumes. His letter in the paper was an opinion piece.