Clockwise from front, Mustang Media Group editor Sean McMinn, public relations coordinator Jenna Watson, Mustang News editor-in-chief J.J. Jenkins, integrated content editor Carly Rickards and broadcast news director Olivia DeGennaro.
If you took an alien from some far away planet, dumped it at Cal Poly and asked what it thought of us, its answers would almost certainly be different depending on where it landed on campus.
Put the alien in the engineering plaza and it would see Cal Poly as a place of advanced technology that hones advanced equipment for science’s smartest minds. Put it in the Dairy Product Technology Center and the alien would see Cal Poly as a hyper-efficient factory delivering mass quantities of nutritious and delicious food.
But if the alien had come this past year and made its way to the journalism department, it would have been confused about the noticeable lack of efficiency there that existed elsewhere on campus.
That’s all changing.
Today, the alien would stare into the face of a well-oiled machine that brings Cal Poly’s variety of student media — digital, video and print — together under one roof to report the news. We’re producing two print publications each week and one traditional news broadcast, but the crux of our operation is moving online — a platform we can update dozens or hundreds of times a week.
In addition, Mustang Daily is bringing in talented student journalists from backgrounds other than traditional newspapers. CPTV will not only be delivering the news on camera as it happens, but it will also bring you a daily wrap up of what’s going on at Cal Poly. Our digital team is supplementing the print and broadcast products with web-only exclusives, and more information about items in the physical paper will be readily available online.
In addition, students from the public relations field will be reaching out to the campus about happenings within Mustang Daily and from the community. Now more than ever, Mustang Daily’s team will aim to deliver news about everything San Luis Obispo straight to your laptop.
The time is right for us to make this shift. While new technology makes it possible, we will execute it because of the exceptional students in our newsroom. More than ever, today’s Mustang Daily is filled with people who are passionate about the news and thirsty for opportunities to tell it in innovative ways. These students will be the backbone of Cal Poly’s changing student media, and it’s a challenge they’re all ready to accept.
The change, some would argue, is long overdue. As the rest of Cal Poly shifted to become a leader in technology and innovation, student media fell behind. Readers long ago began wanting news in engaging digital formats, and the Internet made more tools available to do so. But by continuing to deliver the news with an old-fashioned, print-first approach, we weren’t as effective as we could have been in updating Cal Poly about important stories such as semester conversion, new student fees and the uncertain future of a beloved honors program.
We’re changing that through a new approach making its way across the college and professional media spheres. In the spirit of what large publications such as The New York Times, USA Today and the University of Oregon Emerald are already doing, we too are adopting a digital-first approach.
We recognize the fact that many of you want the news fast, simple and, most importantly, online. From now on, Mustang Daily will have that in mind with every story we publish. We’ll be asking how we can make the story easy for you to skim between classes, what it will look like on your smartphone and how you can share it with your friends.
That’s not to say we’re going to become the next BuzzFeed. We’re still going to give you the in-depth, investigative reporting you expect and what the university needs. The difference is that our reporting will be available for you online several hours — or even days — before it appears on our newsstands around campus.
But it goes without saying in Mustang Daily’s newsroom that our work would be meaningless without an audience for it. As you might have picked up on, what we’re focusing on is how we get news to our readers. They — you — are the rhyme and reason to what we do.
So thank you for reading about our shake up here at Mustang Daily. We’re working hard to show you we belong in this tech-focused world at Cal Poly — let us know how we’re doing.
Sean McMinn is a journalism senior and Mustang Media Group Editor.
Editor’s note: This article was published before Mustang Daily officially changed its name to Mustang News.