PUBLIC EDITOR: Give a new life to Love Connection to establish more engagement with the University community

Love Connection once served as a fan favorite for the newspaper

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Love Connection was not only fun but a way for the student body to engage with The Cavalier Daily in a light-hearted way.

Sophie Roehse | Cavalier Daily

Love Connection — The Cavalier Daily’s classic matchmaking feature — used to be a shining jewel in the paper’s Life section. However, both the graduations of major Love Connection writers like Alex Stock and Margaret Mason and the transition to a new website design has left the once-revered feature in the dust. Love Connection was not only fun but a way for the student body to engage with The Cavalier Daily in a light-hearted way.

If you ever want to go down a black hole of procrastination and get a good laugh, I would highly recommend sifting through old Love Connection articles. They feature catchy headlines, serial blind daters and even an appearance by then-men’s basketball star Joe Harris.

Love Connection’s former glory also provided students with a way to engage with the paper and one another. As a first-year in the 2014-2015 academic year, I remember jesting with friends about signing them up and reading the application. I noticed how it prompted my friends to read the Life section and the rest of the paper more often.

The Life section has neglected to make Love Connection a prominent part of the paper as of late. A number of possible problems could affect this — a lack of writers and student body interest, to name two.

The website revamp in 2017 made the paper’s website more navigable, but there is a key element missing from the sidebar of the Life section — the Love Connection advertisement and application. Even when there were no recent Love Connection articles, the advertisement served as a reminder of the feature.

The effects of reducing Love Connection production can lead towards less reader engagement and more apathy toward the Life section. The Life section is the place to have fun with features. Although it has increased its production of features and food reviews, these types of Life articles do not necessarily ask for the reader to participate like the Love Connection model does.

There are a number of different ways that the Life section can go about reviving Love Connection. For one, simply putting the survey clearly on Life’s section of the website — and perhaps on the front page — would make the survey easily accessible to readers. Other online advertising through The Cavalier Daily’s social media and email newsletters would also improve the survey’s visibility.

Direct recruiting is also a tool — staffers could help reach out to their friends and other CIOs. Reaching out to groups like the Queer Student Alliance and LGBTQ+ Center would also prevent showing solely heteronormative pairings, a prominent quality of past Love Connection articles.

Besides launching solely advertising and recruitment campaigns, the Life section needs to appoint a writer or two dedicated to Love Connection. The section has already grown a cohort of food writers, demonstrating that they do have the organizational capacity to create a “beat” for writers. 

Love Connection can improve beyond simply bringing it back to what it used to be. The feature can expand into events, a new trend that newsrooms are using to increase user engagement. KUOW, the NPR affiliate in Seattle, began a “speed-dating” type of event to connect people with different political perspectives — The Cavalier Daily can follow this example, even if just for the light-hearted purpose of connecting readers to find potential romantic partners.

Although Love Connection has waned in recent years, the Life section can certainly bring it back to its former glory and beyond. Love Connection made The Cavalier Daily unique among student newspapers and encouraged the student body to directly participate. Bringing it back would actively increase reader engagement while modernizing an old niche for the Life section. 

Anna Higgins is the Public Editor for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at a.higgins@cavalierdaily.com.

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