The Ongoing Development of Sustainable Journalism: a Plan of Action for The Observer at Notre Dame

Ryan Kolakowski

How can The Observer, the student newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross College, implement methods of multimedia journalism, such as a mobile application, social media, and audio and video productions to increase audience engagement while also reducing their carbon footprint? That's the main research question I hope to answer with this capstone.

Kolakowski NewspapersSource: barillacfn.com

To find that answer, I must complete background research concerning current sustainability practices in the journalism industry. I will examine the current multimedia products and sustainability practices in use at both professional newspapers and student media publications at peer institutions.  

I must also investigate the current methods in which The Observer delivers its content to readers. I will explore The Observer’s current model of newspaper production supplies the quantity of newspapers demanded by consumers. After exploring these steps, I will be able to determine if The Observer newspapers are being produced at the market equilibrium quantity or if current production is inefficient. I will also explore how The Observer is currently using multimedia platforms, social networking platforms, and other resources to deliver its content

I will also investigate the current methods of newspaper distribution in use by The Observer. I will look at the determine if newspapers are being effectively distributed across campus or poor allocation is leading to reduced viewership. The above steps will allow me to explore the effectiveness of multimedia technology, the preferences of consumers, and the costs of newspaper production.

Finally, I will look at the content being published by professional newspapers and student publications. I will specifically examine what content about climate change and sustainability is being produced by professional journalists, and how student media can engage their audience with similar content. Specifically with regards to The Observer, I will determine what can be done to cover climate issues that affect the Notre Dame community.