For the owners of big-city dailies like the Chicago Tribune and Denver Post, buying smaller publications and slashing costs has become a way to buy time while figuring out how to make more money online. That was the logic behind the recent failed attempt by Tribune Publishing Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times, to buy two Southern California newspapers. Last year, the industry saw the most deals for the largest amount of money since the 2008 financial crisis, with 70 daily newspapers being sold for a combined $827 million, according to mergers-and-acquisitions adviser Dirks, Van Essen & Murray. Gannett Co. bought 15 dailies, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Tribune snapped up the San Diego Union-Tribune; and Warren Buffett's newspaper chain acquired the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
In today’s Member Spotlight, we feature the University of Houston Digital Media Program (UH DIGM) within the Department of Information and Logistics Technology at the College of Technology. At UH DIGM, students receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Media with specializations in areas like Packaging and Print Media. By integrating Two Sides materials into their curriculum, the faculty educates Digital Media students on the importance of the paper and print industry and the unique sustainable features of paper products.
“I meet with every print and packaging course and address the two ‘elephants’ in the room…‘Print is Dead’ and ‘Go Green, Go Paperless,’” says Dr. Jerry Waite, a Professor of Technology and UH DIGM Program Coordinator. To address the “Go Green, Go Paperless” claim, Dr. Waite says he discusses with students the positive benefits of growing trees to absorb CO2 in addition to the carbon sequestering attributes of paper and wood products.
In DIGM 3152, a digital and lithographic output course, students print out letter-sized versions of the Two Sides infographics which bust common paper myths and demonstrate how paper is a renewable and recyclable resource. The course instructor, Mr. Harold Halliday, encourages students to share copies of the infographics with any skeptical friends and family. In doing so, Dr. Waite says the students help spread the message that the growth and use of trees can have many positive environmental impacts.
“Once I understood how growing and using trees could help the environment, it only enforced me to be environmentally responsible by being skeptical about companies’ claims of going ‘green,’” says Alexa Needham, a UH DIGM student who was previously unfamiliar with the term “greenwashing.”
Additionally, she says Dr. Waite and the Two Sides information has taught her how “paths built on good intentions,” like the push for paperless billing, can lead to unintended consequences. “Overall, my perspective about paper use has made me look at paper in a different light,” she added. “Paper isn’t an enemy as long as I do my part.”
Along with providing students with research and facts about the sustainability of print and paper, Two Sides infographics are printed poster sized and adorn the department labs. “I had always had the belief of paper being more effective and beneficial to our environment than something like plastic,” says Mitchell Lasker, a current UH DIGM student. “… the data provided from Two Sides has reaffirmed that sentiment.”
The UH DIGM program mission focuses on preparing students to take on leadership positions in the multifaceted world of print and digital media. In fact, students pursuing an area like packaging will enter the third largest industry in Houston! By partnering with members, such as schools like the University of Houston, Two Sides is working toward the shared purpose of educating future print leaders about the environmentally beneficial features of paper and the dynamic role of print media professionals.