‘The pandemic’s been like a catalyst,’ said Editor-in-Chief Emma Treadway ’22

Courtesy The Daily Princetonian
Nearly three semesters and a global pandemic ago, the Daily Princetonian newsroom at 48 University Place bustled with a nightly hustle before print deadlines. From 6 p.m. until well past midnight, staffers got together to prune each story, column by column, page by page, quilting together the next day’s paper for delivery before breakfast. 

Returning from over a year of remote reporting and publishing, the Prince announced it will retire its daily print papers and instead publish “digital daily, print weekly.”

“This shift to digital publishing has been something we’ve been discussing for a while, and the pandemic’s been like a catalyst,” said Editor-in-Chief Emma Treadway ’22. “After going virtual during the pandemic, we’ve really had the time and flexibility to embrace new possibilities and initiatives in the digital world, and I wanted us to think more about how we’re engaging our readers and whether we’re using the best medium to reach out to them.”

Student publications around the country had been grappling with changing reader habits, falling readership, and struggling finances before the disruptions of COVID. The Columbia Daily Spectator and The Cornell Daily Sun ceased daily print in 2014 and 2016 respectively; The Brown Daily Herald, The Dartmouth, and The Daily Pennsylvanian recently announced they will continue the reduced print schedules they adopted during the pandemic. According to Louis Aaron ’23, business manager of the Prince, financial considerations played a large role in conversations about reducing print issues in the past but were not the primary factor in the most recent decision. 

Emma Treadway ’22
In the past year and a half, the Prince has covered the uncertainties of virtual learning, campus public-health guidelines, and grading policies. For Zack Shevin ’22, one of four managing editors, the shift to digital publishing and weekly printing provides more flexibility and room for these important stories than the print paper previously allowed. 

“In some sense, our level of what we would consider newsworthy rose — going from covering lectures to covering a global pandemic — and it’s been helpful for the news team to be intentional and create content that people want to read,” Shevin said, adding that the new schedule provides “space to breathe and really think about how we cover these important events.” 

Courtesy Yu Jeong Lee ’22
Several new teams were created while the Prince was publishing remotely, including content strategy and digital design. “Before, the design team was just laying out the print issue, whereas now, design is involved not just at the end but throughout the process of writing a story, even in the very beginning,” said Harsimran Makkad ’22, a managing editor and former head design editor.

The Prince, which has published daily since 1892, will continue to post new content daily, including news and sports, podcasts, videos, and puzzles. “We’re not in any way abandoning print,” said Omar Farah ’23, the inaugural content strategist. “We’re still really focused on our weekly physical product. But we understand that it’s not just us that’s changing, and we’re adapting in general to the way that people interact with the news.” 

Staffers work on The Daily Princetonian. From left, Harsimran Makkad ’22 (managing editor), AG McGee ’22 (managing editor), Isabel Rodrigues ’23 (head podcast editor), Omar Farah ’23 (content strategist), Zack Shevin ’22 (managing editor), Kris Grant ’24 (associate opinion editor).
Courtesy of Emma Treadway ’22

From left, Isabel Rodrigues ’23, Harsimran Makkad ’22, AG McGee ’22, Kris Grant ’24, Omar Farah ’23, and Zack Shevin ’22.
Courtesy of Emma Treadway ’22