UNF Spinnaker Ponders Change to Magazine

A survey will ask students and alumni for their feedback


The University of North Florida’s student newspaper, the Spinnaker, is considering a move from a weekly tabloid to a glossy magazine published monthly.

Spinnaker Editor in Chief Jacob Harn said May 15 that student leaders have had internal discussions with Media Adviser John Timpe and university administrators, and the business office is evaluating how the move would affect revenue.

The Spinnaker also wants to hear from students, faculty, staff and alumni through a survey made available this week. The early response in discussions has been positive, Harn said.

“We’re keeping our eyes open in a digital age and focusing on the website for daily coverage,” Harn said of the plans.

The tentative plan for publishing a magazine would call for 10 monthly issues — including two double issues — beginning in Fall 2013.

“People can expect more investigative news pieces and longer and more in-depth feature pieces,” if the student publication makes the change, Harn said.

The Spinnaker plans to print three more issues in its current tabloid format — once each in June, July and August.

Timpe said the students’ enthusiasm has been a driving force in giving them a chance to make the change for the fall semester.

“It’s enthused not only the print staff, but also the TV, radio and digital staff here. There have been a lot of lively discussions,” Timpe said.

Timpe sees an opportunity for students to experiment where other traditional media might not have the initiative.

“Media operations of all sizes are still trying to figure out the future and to some degree the present,” he said. “That’s one of the benefits of working with a college media outlet. They’re full of students ready to try something new.”

The Spinnaker currently publishes a weekly run of 4,000 issues. Timpe said the monthly run would likely be 10,000 to 12,000 issues, but the business office must analyze costs and accept contract bids.

Harn said the new magazine would likely be published on 40- to 80-pound glossy paper and would keep the Spinnaker name.

Student leaders have looked to the University of Miami’s Distraction and the University of Georgia’s Ampersand for ideas on student-run magazines.

Harn said UNF Student Government President Carlo Fassi plans to send a student update May 20, alerting all UNF students that the survey is available online.

“While we’re focused on getting student responses, the survey is open to alumni and non-students as well,” Harn said.

Folio Weekly Arts & Entertainment Editor David Johnson is the professional media representative on UNF’s Center for Student Media advisory board.

No comments on this story | Add your comment
Please log in or register to add your comment