By SARAH CORNETT – EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Dear Cento Readers:
This past October marked 126 years since the first Editor-in-Chief Lucien V. Rule (Class of 1893) founded The Cento. At the beginning, The Cento was nothing more than a few booklet-style pages of announcements and ads for the general student body. Over the next few decades, however, the publication evolved.
In 1930, The Cento transitioned to a full, broadsheet newspaper and doubled its staff. By the early 1970s, The Cento redistributed its layout, sections, and writing style in an attempt to focus more on Centre related stories.
By the early 2000s, the publication started to decrease the volume of printed stories and instead focused on building a healthy online presence.
Finally today, we begin to change The Cento one last time.
After months of deliberation, the senior staff and I have decided to declare The Cento an exclusively digital publication. This change will go into affect for our upcoming issue, making this February issue our final one in print.
As an avid lover of print media, this decision was not an easy one for me to make and certainly won’t be an easy one to execute. However, like countless other publications across the country, The Cento has reached a point where the continuation of a printed product is no longer financially savvy.
When I first began my tenure as Editor-in-Chief in the spring of 2013, The Cento was exclusively in print with no working website to speak of. However, by the fall of that year we launched a new website and transitioned the paper to one with both a strong print and digital presence.
Now with our recent website renovation that went live earlier this academic year, the site’s traffic has increased rapidly and continues to do so daily. Unfortunately, as the online traffic grew, our print circulation slowly dwindled. It’s an all too familiar story these days.
Living in an age of digital media where newspapers are closing almost daily, I knew that our paper would reach the point where print would seem almost obsolete, but I did not think it would arrive so quickly.
Some may think that this step toward a digital publication is too soon or unnecessary – after all we still have a sturdy enough print circulation and there remains plenty of individuals who prefer to exclusively read the printed version – and to a certain degree they’re right.
Obviously the staff and I could continue to print issues of The Cento and remain quite content with our work, but to do so would be a disservice to our readers, ourselves, and the paper itself. This decision is being made preemptively to avoid any such disservice.
By moving the publication over to the digital platform, we are freeing ourselves from the old-fashioned constraints of print media. We are no longer bound by concrete deadlines, spacial requirements, or steep printing fees.
With our new freedom, we hope to serve you, reader, more than ever before. We have already begun plans to gain more staff writers and therefore publish more articles, increase our online presence, and market ourselves in a sleek and modern fashion.
While I know that this decision is the right one for The Cento, I am not immune to the loss of the print medium.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of a fresh newspaper in your hands; the distinct smell of the broadsheet paper, the crisp, clean folded pages, and the ink smudges that remain on your hands after the faintest touch, but when it comes to progress we cannot be distracted by nostalgia.
We are making this change because we truly believe that without the inherent restraints of print media, we can become a better paper. These effects may not take place over night, or even in my time here, but I know that this is at least a step in the right direction.
And so, dear reader, you hold in your hands a little piece of history: the final print edition of The Cento. In the most clichéd sense of it all, I hope that it is both an end and a beginning.
All my best,