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Monday, February 26, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Letter from the editor: New packaging, same great flavor

A lot is changing at The Spectrum, but not our mission as journalists

When I joined The Spectrum’s editorial staff as a perky, well-rested freshman, there was nothing I wanted to see more than the return of our weekly print issues. 

There’s no feeling quite like seeing your name in print, hanging up your favorite stories in the newsroom or spying a student flipping through the latest issue in the library. 

When print issues returned at the start of my sophomore year, I was elated. 

Now, two years later, I’ll go down as the editor in chief that cut the print edition for good. 

A lot went into that decision. The Buffalo News, where we used to print our paper, is in the process of outsourcing its printing presses to Cleveland. Revenue from print ads was drying up. Printing a single issue cost anywhere from $575 to more than $700, depending on the page count. 

But most importantly, print is no longer the best way — or even a good way — to reach the students we serve. 

We printed 11 issues last semester. Most of the time, delivering the newest issue meant removing stacks of untouched papers from last week. 

The only issue I saw more than a handful of kids even pick up was the sex issue — and, for better or for worse, we can’t print “SEX” in 128-point font on the front page of every issue. 

It was a tough decision to make — radical, even — but it was a long time coming. I’ve never doubted my choice for a second. 

That being said, I don’t see this semester as the end of an era — it’s the start of a new one. 

This week marks the launch of The Spectrum’s weekly email newsletter. UB community members who sign up will get the campus news they need, sent directly to their inbox, every week, free of charge. 

And that’s just the start. We’re expanding what we do with social media and exploring new ways to present you with the day’s news. We’ll be filming and posting more short documentaries and tiny desk concerts. With any luck, we’ll have a weekly podcast off the ground by Halloween. 

But no matter what else changes, our mission will always stay the same. 

We’ll always be striving “to actively and ethically pursue all news of the university.” We’ll always “serve as a university and community news source of record.” We’ll always be “a learning laboratory for young journalists.” 

We’ll continue to cover the breaking news that matters to and affects you. We’ll continue to write the deep dives and investigative journalism that hold administrators and other on-campus authority figures accountable. We’ll continue to tell the stories that help us understand what it means to be a part of this university. 

There’s going to be a lot of experimentation in the coming months. Some of it will work, some of it won’t. 

And now more than ever, we need to hear from you. 

Whether you have criticism, compliments, a story idea, a tip or an interest in joining our team, please reach out. You can DM us on Instagram or Twitter, visit our newsroom in person at 132 Student Union, or email me personally at grant.ashley@ubspectrum.com

No matter how we deliver the news, we exist to serve you: our readers and fellow students. Never forget that — and don’t let us forget it either. 

Grant Ashley is the editor in chief and can be reached at grant.ashley@ubspectrum.com 


GRANT ASHLEY
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Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for NPR, WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley. 

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