Columbus, Ohio, as you probably know, is home to Ohio State University. The New York Times reports that the OSU student newspaper, The Lantern, is getting some competition from a for-profit corporation.
I say good. When I worked at WMU’s Western Herald, we found competition in the Kalamazoo Gazette, the city’s afternoon daily. The Gazette sucked then and still sucks now, in much the same way that the Ann Arbor News sucks. The Gazette just wanted to inflate their circulation numbers so they could charge national advertisers more and didn’t tailor their coverage to students in any fashion. It seemed to be more or less a flop. However, I would have welcomed a serious challenge to the Herald, because we could have used the competition to make us develop some actual reporting skills. While I was opinion editor and a columnist, our news editors sucked — they didn’t even know what was going on in the city generally, let alone having the wherewithall to do some investigative reporting. As the author of the daily editorials, I was regularly stymied by having to wait for the news department to do a story on a topic before I could editorialize about it, which could take days or weeks.
From what I’ve seen, campus newspapers generally suck (with the Michigan Daily being merely mediocre), so to anything that can help better inform students and/or increase total newspaper readership, I say “bully!”