The Buchtelite bounces back: student reporters revive 128-year-old U of Akron paper

The Buchtelite is back.

Student journalists at the University of Akron have reinstated the school’s 128-year-old newspaper after a semester-long leave of absence—the second in the paper’s history.

“This is a chance for the paper to have a whole new life,” said Julie Cajigas, new faculty adviser for The Buchtelite.

It now publishes primarily online with periodic themed print editions, one of which was published Aug. 25 with a Welcome Back to Fall theme. It used to print two print editions a week.

The newspaper suspended publication in December 2016 due to funding and staffing issues. At that time, two of the paper’s nine editors were graduating. Four other editors were leaving to study or work out of the country. The independent paper struggled under university-wide cutbacks and ad revenue struggles, following national trends in declining print ads.

“Ad sales had declined significantly and the cost of printing was the same,” Cajigas said.

Challenges still exist for the publication, with a new adviser and new staff, many of whom have not taken journalism classes. Still, Cajigas said that the students are excited to learn and to take part in producing the paper.

Editor-in-chief Brooklyn Dennison said the special editions were established as a way to provide ad revenue, and to make sure the print edition survived.

“Every day I look forward to people telling me that they’re glad that The Buchtelite is back,” Dennison said. “I’m glad for having a chance to be part of reviving it.”

Cajigas said the website has been redesigned and that being a mostly online publication allows students more time on breaking news and social media.

“Since the paper was only running two days a week, we couldn’t really have breaking news unless the breaking news happened on Tuesday or Thursday,” Dennison said. “Now, with the primarily online format, we can break news as soon as it happens.”

Cajigas said she hopes to get the students publishing content daily.

“I’m very proud to be a part of The Buchtelite … We are a student voice at the University of Akron,” Dennison said. “I’m in love with what I do and I hope that I can do it after I graduate.”

SPLC staff writer Emily Goodell can be reached by email or (202) 478-1926.

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