The Sun Begins to Set on Cornell’s Daily Print Newspaper

From five days a week to three.

Tonight at 6 p.m. ET, the editors of The Cornell Daily Sun will host a Town Hall telephone conference call. The topic: the paper’s decision to cut back its print schedule starting this fall from five days a week to three. Next semester, there will no longer be print editions on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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From the note posted by editor in chief Sofia Hu, managing editor Phoebe Keller and associate editor Paulina Glass:

Over the coming months, we will expand and strengthen our website, incorporating more graphic and interactive features. We will put more thought and effort in recruiting, training and mentoring our staff in order to build a more collaborative community of writers, editors, photographers, designers, videographers and business associates.

We will also rethink our print paper, which remains integral to our coverage, and use it to showcase more in-depth stories from all sections. Our three print publications each week will evolve to feature long-form features and polished, extensive stories. With stronger pieces from news, opinion, sports, arts, dining and science, we will give you more compelling reasons to pick up The Sun’s physical copies.

In a separate email to alumni, reprinted by The Ithaca Voice, the editors acknowledged that the paper has been incurring an operational loss for the past seven years.

This is also the week that a number of outgoing contributors have penned their final columns. In his farewell, sportswriter Ben Shatzman cites the legacy of a famous predecessor:

The late Kurt Vonnegut ’44 wrote for this very paper in the early 1940’s. I skimmed through The Sun’s archives the other day and found some of his work. Man, he was special: articulate, smart, witty, funny. He had it all, years before the world outside of Cornell would grow to adore him. I take pride in continuing a tradition that once included Kurt Vonnegut.

Among my favorite passages of his is the following:

Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’

In another farewell column, arts and entertainment writer Mark DiStefano notes a highlight that occurred this year:

My biggest WTF moment came last November when Neill Blomkamp, director of District 9, sent an email to me asking for clarification due to the dip in quality I had perceived in his work of late. I was enthralled and flabbergasted at the same time — who knew an Academy Award-winning director reads this shit?

The Sun, founded in 1880, is Ithaca’s oldest morning daily and was the first collegiate member of the Associated Press.