Ink goes dry on another print pub

What began in 1971 as The University Register ended on December 7 as Inside UVA. The University’s print-edition PR vehicle ceased publication last month when the last 14,500 copies rolled off the press, ending its 36-year run.

In the middle of the front page, surrounded by stories about hydrogen-storage materials, equitable compensation and a photo of John Casteen looking requisitely pleased, a story headlined "Dear Readers" gently explains the death of the biweekly newsletter. Citing recent state budget cuts and an "increased emphasis on sustainability," Carol Wood, assistant vice president of public affairs, wrote: "After much deliberation…we have decided to stop producing the print edition of Inside UVA."

Jeffrey Hanna, the senior director of university relations, echoes Wood.

"It’s largely, if not entirely, a budgetary issue," he says. "We were given a target for budget cuts, and this was the major casualty in our department. By eliminating it we’re saving about $75,000 and not having to eliminate any staff positions."
Hanna also pointed to UVA’s "increasing emphasis on sustainability," an issue that he says universities and colleges around the country are also dealing with. He had just talked to officials at the University of Washington, he says, who were debating the issue of print publications versus online editions.

That debate is over for Inside UVA. Information that had, in the past, appeared in print will be available on the Web on UVA Today, something that had already been happening. In fact, once stories found their way in print in Inside UVA, they had generally been published for days, if not a week, on the Web. That duplication had increasingly made the immediacy of the print edition obsolete.

"In the process of making the transition, we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re offering the same information," says Hanna, "and to get that information to the community in different formats and through different channels."

But what is gained through the split-second, cold efficiency of the Web comes at a price—namely the warm, all-in-one package of a print publication trumpeting all the news that’s fit to print (for good PR).

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