'We're starting a new chapter': U of C's Gauntlet publishes last weekly paper

The University of Calgary's student newspaper is turning into a monthly magazine.

The Gauntlet has been a campus fixture since 1960, but a shift in readership and declining revenues has spelled the end for the free weekly.

Its final edition was published last week and the new monthly magazine will be distributed on April 27. However, The Gauntlet's website will be updated daily.

Editor-in-chief Melanie Woods spoke to The Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday about the decision. The following is a condensed version of the interview.

Q: What happened to The Gauntlet?

A: I think The Gauntlet is shifting with the rest of the media landscape. Our readership is moving in different directions and we decided, a couple of years ago really, but really put it into practice this year, that we need to move with it.

Q: How long have you been noticing that fewer people have been picking up the print edition?

A: I've been here for four or five years and in the time I've been here we've seen a decline in the print pick up, but we've also seen a increase in our web hits, we've seen a increase in our social media traffic and I think that's a trend that is happening everywhere. And so we wanted to better serve our readership and focus our resources onto the things they are reading and where they are getting their news.

Q:How about the ad revenue?

A: Ad revenue is also declining …We luckily are not fully dependent on ad revenue, we have a student levy. So every undergraduate student at the U of C pays a small fee that helps support our operations, which is really nice because it helps us kind of weather the blows of the sinking media industry.

Q:Have you heard from the old Gauntlet writers ... who are probably mourning the loss of the newsprint edition?

A: We've got a lot of really positive feedback. Our first editor-in-chief, his name is Maurice Yacowar, and he is actually still in the city and he … kind of gave us his blessing and his well wishes, which was always nice to see. And all of the alumni I've talked to — and I've talked to a lot of alumni in putting together this plan and this transition — they have all been very supportive. I mean they read The Gauntlet on Twitter too.

Q: You are going to do your master's in journalism at UBC. This is interesting to me. You still see a future in this industry? 

A: Cautiously optimistic ... the way we are pitching this with The Gauntlet is it's not really the end. It's not a crash and a burn. We're turning over a new leaf, we're starting a new chapter. We used to print twice weekly and we went to once weekly. We introduced the website in the 1990s. Those things always happen and they are new and exciting changes and this is just the next one along that timeline for us.

With files from The Calgary Eyeopener

​MORE CALGARY NEWS | New Deerfoot Trail interchange coming to south Calgary

​MORE CALGARY NEWS | Ewan McGregor says playing two brothers on Alberta Fargo set an 'amazing challenge'