In a recent comment HWC posed a provocative question that I thought could use its own post. Should the Record stop publishing a physical newspaper and become a web-only publication?

From what I have read, newsprint is a major expense for most newspapers, so I would expect that cutting out the printing process would save a considerable amount of money. I don’t know how much revenue would be lost by killing the print version of the paper (from advertising, subscriptions, etc.), but I would be surprised if there weren’t some overall savings. These savings could be used to upgrade the Record’s website. A better website would make the Record very readable online.

I know when I was a student – back when dinosaurs roamed the earth – I always really enjoyed going to dinner on Tuesdays (I think) and picking up a copy of The Record which I could read at dinner. It always had plenty of interesting news and commentary, which was unavailable anywhere else. Of course, at that time, you could not get newspapers online (I picked up the Boston Globe on Spring Street everyday).

I would guess that most students – and quite possibly a majority of the Williams community – only read newspapers online, or at least would be reasonably comfortable doing so, so that losing the print version would not terribly inconvenience the campus community. (Are they Wi-Fi networks available throughout campus at this point?)

The biggest loss would be for those alums who currently subscribe to the Record and would be unable/unwilling to switch to an electronic version. (Does anyone know how many off-campus subscriptions there are?) I think that is a price that the Record should be willing to pay.

Does anyone disagree?

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