by Jutta Reutter
The Optimist is on the World Wide Web.
The electronic version of the campus newspaper went online Sunday giving students another way to get the news and providing journalism and mass communication students an opportunity to improve their skills.
Amy Daugherity Optimist on-line editor said she is pleased the Optimist staff has decided to go online.
“We’re all excited. Many other student newspapers on college campuses have web sites so we’re proud that we are technologically competitive” she said.
Daugherity graduated from ACU in August with a news-editorial degree in digital media.
The on-line Optimist will offer weekly highlights and interesting and important news from the print version. It will eventually be published twice a week she said.
Also Daugherity said she is planning to provide links to students’ hometown newspapers so they can read what is happening back home.
Besides the benefits to students in general the Web site complements the revised JMC degree plan implemented last year that includes more digital media classes said Dr. Charlie Marler chairman of the JMC Department.
“The change we made In the catalog really has us well-positioned at the threshold of the digital age” he said.
Marler said be thinks electronic publishing will change the structure of newspaper usage.
“The newspaper industry is changing,” he said. “Every progressive newspaper has a site.”
Students should be trained accordingly, Marler said. The on-line version of the Optimist will provide that training.
“Everyone has to be a player because this is the information system of today and the future,” he said.
The future of the new medium is uncertain, and Marler said he sees several challenges ahead, including the question of whether electronic newspapers will render print newspapers obsolete.
“Will students still pick up the Optimist at Moody?” he asked. “I think they will. It’ll be a restructuring of readership and, theoretically, total readership will go up.”
Optimist editor-in-chief Jeremy Parish, senior graphic design major from Lubbock, said he thinks people do not like to read long text on the Web, thus the electronic version will be condensed.
“Electronic media doesn’t really replace paper media, in my opinion,” he said. “The paper edition is more in-depth.”
However, he said the Web site does offer some advantages over the printed version; it is quick and convenient; it has potential for animation and sound bytes; and it gives the Optimist more exposure and new readership.
“I would like to see the electronic version become something in its own right, something that stands up to the very best university newspapers,” Parish said
The Optimist web site is at http://www.acu.edu/student/optimist.
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