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The Cavalier Daily embarks on its digital-first transition

We would say that you are holding in your hands the first edition of the redesigned Cavalier Daily. But that statement might not be true. Sure, you might be gripping and crinkling The Cavalier Daily’s pages as you leaf through our revamped newsmagazine. But you might instead hold in your hands a device, a phone or an iPad out of which this article emits a faint glow. Or maybe you are reading our editorial on a laptop or desktop, in which case you’d be holding nothing at all.

Our uncertainty about how you are reading this article is not the only uncertainty that journalism’s flight to digital platforms has triggered. We at The Cavalier Daily have weathered quite a bit of financial uncertainty in recent years. Wholly independent from the University, we rely on student staffers to sell enough ads to keep our enterprise afloat. And we, like all newspapers, have had to contend with creative uncertainty. What kinds of articles should we be writing for an audience split between print and online? What kinds of designs would a digital reader prefer?

With these uncertainties, however, have come possibilities.

You can now read The Cavalier Daily anytime and anywhere. In the next week we plan to unveil an app that will make reading stories on your mobile device much easier. Currently, we have a Cavalier Daily section featured in the Virginia app, but readers have found the app difficult to navigate. Our improved app will allow you to browse specific sections—including video, a relatively new component of our reporting efforts. The app will also allow advertisers to feature coupons. And with our daily e-newsletter, you can get our updates delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

We also detect avenues for literary exploration. In continuing to post stories online each day, along with breaking-news updates, we aim to tell you what you need to know when you need to know it—and in crisp punchy prose. An online-focused editing system cuts the fat out of stories. Print journalism requires filling empty columns. Online, there is no set space we must fill. Thus, our articles need not contain “filler.”

But we are not leaving long stories behind. Many stories cannot be told in a few words. Our twice-a-week print edition is geared toward in-depth feature content. In lieu of a daily print paper, we hope to cultivate the evocative storytelling and original reporting that strong features require, all while publishing frequent updates online.

We will have some growing pains. Our redesign is ambitious, and we will learn as we go. At this time we welcome your feedback more than ever. Email us directly, or send a message to our new public editor, Christopher Broom, who we welcomed aboard this week, at publiceditor@cavalierdaily.com. And join us at our Sept. 6 launch party in the Amphitheater to mark a new year and a new Cavalier Daily.

We also welcome your involvement. Never before has our paper drawn on such a range of talents. Though words remain the substance of our publication, we are more than a group of writers and reporters. We benefit from the talents of photographers, graphic designers, cartoonists, web managers, salespeople, videographers and more—all of whom are students. If you are curious about what it is we do in the basement of Newcomb Hall, please mark your calendars for our information session at 4 p.m. Sept. 1 in Newcomb Theater. We will also host open houses Sept. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. and Sept. 4 from 3 to 6 p.m. in our offices.

Most of you will not choose to send us feedback or join our staff. Instead, you will just read us—using whatever device, or lack thereof, you choose. We are grateful for you as well. To those who have made it this far: best of luck with classes today.


Published August 26, 2013 in FP test, Opinion

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