The media landscape changes in two ways: gradually, then suddenly.
For several years now, in The Varsity’s final issue of the academic year, the outgoing editor-in-chief has written an impassioned defense of print and a call for students to start reading newsprint more often, lest the medium die out altogether.
But that doesn’t really tell the story of how much this publication has progressed over the past few years. Though The Varsity has struggled in the face of declining advertising revenue, it has still found ways to flourish: in 2007, with the introduction of a feature-based issue, The Varsity Magazine; through its annual Student Handbook, a true testament to the passion and creativity of our student editors; and more recently, through a full website redesign, which has nearly tripled our site’s direct traffic.
It may come as a surprise that The Varsity has been dealing with significant financial obstacles in recent years. (For a better idea of what I’m talking about, flip to page 19 to see 2011’s audited financial statements.) We’ve addressed this challenge head-on, with a total restructuring of this paper’s business office and board — ever since last summer, the paper’s business operations have been entirely administered by students, including ad sales, bookkeeping, and day-to-day clerical duties. Though it’s still too early to call, the shift to a student-led business model has so far shown promising results.
The board of directors has been similarly overhauled. With the guiding hands of a diligent policy analyst and an experienced lawyer, the structure and purpose of our board of directors have been completely rethought. Governance at The Varsity is, more than ever before, alive and well.
As important as business and board operations might be, however, it’s in the editorial department that this publication has grown the most. In my three years as a Varsity staffer (and my two previous ones reading every issue that hit the stands), I’ve never seen more names on our masthead. The amount of talent and dedication this publication has been able to attract is proof enough that there is still a place for journalism on this campus.
In the face of ever-increasing financial and editorial adversity, The Varsity has grown — grown, despite publishing a single print issue every week; grown, despite skyrocketing expenses and declining revenue; grown, despite the occasional legal threat from the subjects of our investigative pieces. Printing an issue every week is our job; being able to involve as many people as we do and having the time of our lives doing it is a true accomplishment.
As the year comes to an end, so does The Varsity’s 2012–2013 run, and I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s team. I’d like to thank the writers, editors, photographers, designers, illustrators, copy editors, fact checkers, ad executives, business officers, and board members: they all came together to produce the paper, website, videos, photographs, illustrations, recordings, and writing you see before you. I’d also like to thank this year’s masthead in particular, who have braved many meals of beer and pizza, handed in assignments late, and slept on couches to guarantee our product is the best it could be. Above all, however, I’d like to thank you, the reader, for choosing this publication week after week.
Thus ends the academic year, and year CXXXII of The Varsity’s history. I can only hope next year’s masthead, staff, and contributors enjoy putting together this publication every week as much as I did, because the end always sneaks up on you. Gradually, then suddenly.