Can the Loyola Phoenix Rise from the Ashes of a Dying Industry?

image by Julia Soeder

By: Julia Soeder (Loyola Sophomore)

For centuries, newspapers were tools wielded to help spread information across the world but with the rise of social media, young adults are turning away from the black and white print of the old and opting instead for their phones. 

The Loyola Phoenix is the official student-run newspaper at Loyola University Chicago and reports on events happening at the university, Rogers Park, Edgewater, Chicago and important national and international events.

The Phoenix has two main outlets: their hard-copy newspapers and their webpage. They also engage with readers on social media through frequent postings on Instagram and Twitter. 

Student engagement is vital for a college newspaper to remain relevant. But how many students are reaching for their hard-copy of the Phoenix on their way to class Wednesday morning?

First year Loyola student Avery Cavanaugh is a self-proclaimed Phoenix reader, sure to grab her copy alongside her Starbucks.

“I didn’t really know anything about the Phoenix before coming here. I followed them on Instagram but never bothered to read any articles. A family friend who works for the paper was the one who ended up getting me hooked on them. She is a writer for them and seeing her passion for it made me excited to read it,” said Cavanaugh. 

When asked about the article that first drew Cavanugh’s attention, she replied with a light giggle.

“It was the Campus Confession where a guy was talking about how he was in love with Deno pizza,” the environmental science major said. “It was nice being able to see people who were going through the same experiences as me and had similar thoughts. I never would have thought I would find voices just like mine.”

But not every Loyola student feels so strongly about the Phoenix’s role in student life. Many of the interviews were stopped short after the first question due to the resounding no’s following whether they had read the Phoenix. 

First year Loyola student Sunny Magnuson says that she would probably never read a copy of the Phoenix.

“It’s not like I have something against it, I don’t. It’s more like I just don’t really care or think about it. I have never really wondered what they had to, like, say. If I had to get my news from somewhere I am definitely going to go to social media. Like Twitter or, I don’t know, the New York Times, not the Phoenix,” says Magnuson (18). 

Magnuson represents a large quantity of the student body who relies heavily on social media for their news. Jonathan Dixon, a 19-year-old political science major, agreed that social media is the way to go when looking for news updates. 

“It just wouldn’t make sense to wait for a paper when everything is given to you at your fingertips [through social media]. I follow the Phoenix on Instagram and stuff but if the article isn’t posted on there then I’m probably never gonna read it,” said Dixon. 

These responses are consistent with a study which found newspapers do not matter as much to adults under the age of 40, according to Pew Research. However, the same study found that newspapers were found to be the most relied upon source for 11 of 16 topics, including crime, schools and local politics. 

In an age where information is instant, why bother waiting for that copy of the paper on a random morning? According to the staff of the Loyola Phoenix, the answer lies within the core values of news reporting..

“We see the tremendous value in truthful and thorough communication. By informing our communities, we strive to create a more just world,” said the Loyola Phoenix

After the Phoenix’s website crashed around Christmas break, the staff was able to see firsthand the important of being able to adapt quickly to change.

“The site is a mark of a new era of The Phoenix. For those with a paper currently in your hand, I appreciate your support for print journalism and encourage you to check out our website in coming weeks for multimedia content,” said the Editor-and-Chief of the Loyola Phoenix, Nicky Andrews

The act of spreading information is intrinsic to human nature and will never die, but it may take new forms over time. From telegrams, to radio to newspapers — the ways humans spread information is always evolving. It is the duty of news outlets to evolve with the times in order to effectively communicate with their audiences.

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