Since 1955 UBC Reports has reflected the stories of our academic community— from the curious, to the considerable—in print
There are always mixed feelings at the onset of momentous changes. And this one is no exception.
With this last regular print edition of UBC Reports, we morph a chronicle that has been a UBC mainstay since 1955. In April, UBC Reports will only be distributed via email as a digital edition. And although May will see us produce a print graduation special focusing on the Class of 2013, from June onwards our feature stories will be posted on the soon-to-be-launched UBC News website.
It’s a bold step to take—and a bit of a gamble.
For the past 58 years, UBC Reports has been an attentive witness to the university’s stunning growth, news and debates, its visionary thinkers, students and leaders, as well as the odd character or two. Our retrospective look at UBC Report’s shape shifts will undoubtedly elicit a tinge of nostalgia among longtime readers.
Through its many editions and thousands of stories, UBC Reports has reflected the university’s evolution and growing ambitions. At first written for a local campus readership, UBC Reports is now aimed at a broader audience as a monthly digest of features on university life, teaching, research and learning. Former director Scott Macrae’s approach, launched in 2001 , has been good for UBC’s reputation. Today roughly 60 per cent of UBC Reports stories inspire further mainstream media coverage.
Many of us still get pleasure reading something tangible that can be scribbled on, highlighted, clipped and saved. Some will feel, and perhaps even resent, the loss of what has been an award-winning magazine, edited by Randy Schmidt, designed by Arlene Cotter and her team, featuring Martin Dee’s stunning photography, and the insightful stories told by Public Affairs writers and campus colleagues. Not everyone enjoys firing up a computer to get caught up on news.
But there’s no fighting the digital tsunami. Leading universities in Canada and beyond have been switching to online newsrooms in droves—and not for the reasons you would expect. Publication and distribution costs are not the big driver.
An important argument for UBC is sustainability. Intent on living our Place and Promise strategic commitments, it’s hard to justify putting out print publications when so many copies languish in distribution boxes.
Yet the decisive argument was the imperative to reach greater audiences, at times through mainstream media. A digital news site allows us to bring attention to momentous research and UBC’s breadth of expertise, to more people, in more creative and numerous ways, and in a much more timely manner.
Think about it. No more artificial monthly print cycle—the stories can be told when they’re fresh. No limit to the number of stories or their length—we can feature newsworthy content from diverse university sources. And we won’t be bound by text and photos—we will meld video, images, motion graphics, audio, text and social media elements in a seamless and engaging news website.
We believe we can reach a greater number of you, farther afield, and in ways that you will readily adopt. We think you will appreciate being able to pick and choose what you want from our offerings. And yes, you will also be able to subscribe to the new digital UBC Reports—the emailed link to the collected features of the month.
This is not the end. This last regular print edition heralds a new beginning and celebrates in these pages a proud tradition.
Here’s to the memories—and to the discoveries ahead.