Oakland University angle: what this means for students

Publishers Mark Stern and brother Gary Stern are starting a newspaper in the Detroit area. Business plans for the Detroit Daily Press were sparked by the recent decisions from other Detroit newspapers to reduce the circulation of printed copies.

Garry Gilbert, former executive editor of The Oakland Press and current interim director of Oakland University’s journalism department, said he wishes them well, but is skeptical of the market.

“I think that there is an audience for print newspapers … However, all research, Pew, Poynter show increasingly the audience wants its news on demand … I hope that this project succeeds but I gotta say that this is a difficult market … difficult economic times to try to launch something like that.”

The news comes as a ray of hope for the 230 current journalism students at Oakland University as well as professionals who have lost their jobs due to the recent media downsizing.

“Well, I would assume that a startup project like this would be looking for fresh, inexpensive talent and that could be current and recent grads from Oakland, Wayne, Michigan State,” Gilbert said. “They’re going to be looking for people with energy, people who are willing to embrace change, people with multimedia and that’s our graduates.”

Senior journalism major Monica Drake said that although  the Internet is important for the news media to be focusing on, print media is still desired, even among young people.

“I like reading a regular newspaper because [reading online] gives me a headache sometimes. I think it’s important to still have a newspaper because people can’t focus online,” Drake said.

She said that as an aspiring journalist, she would still prefer to work for a print publication. “You have the same deadline every day instead of updating the website every hour or so.” She also said she likes the idea of seeing her byline and her work in print at the store.

But in a changing industry where advertisers want to reach an audience that for the most part likes to get their news online and instantaneously, a startup company that is hanging onto publication methods of the past is raising eyebrows.

“I applaud anybody who wants to try to start a newspaper, I applaud their motives, but I think they need to have their head examined,” Gilbert said.