Cal Poly Graphic Communication Institute

Cal Poly's Mustang Daily Converts to Broadsheet

Cal Poly’s Mustang Daily, the only daily university newspaper in the nation fully produced by students on campus, has converted from tabloid to broadsheet format.

The newspaper has been published on campus for more than 90 years. It is popular with advertisers and is the go-to newspaper when students want to know what is happening on campus and in the community. The Mustang Daily is directed at the campus’s more than 18,000 students and provides a direct way for local businesses to reach an audience that annually spends more than $172 million dollars. 

“One of the reasons we changed from tabloid to broadsheet is to allow our student editors to work on a similar platform to what they will find in the newspaper industry,” said Paul Bittick, general manager of the college newspaper.

Cal Poly’s Goss publication web press was recently expanded from four to eight units through a grant from the Dow Jones Foundation and equipment from Manugraph DGM and other printing press vendors including Baldwin Technologies, Quad Tech, MEGTEC, Kodak, Fujifilm and Trelleborg. The press is housed in the university’s Dow Jones & Company Web Printing Laboratory.

The press expansion and conversion to broadsheet has allowed the Mustang Daily to increase its page count and improve color quality.  

“While newspaper readership and advertising seem to be on the decline nationwide, this is not the case at Cal Poly,” Bittick said. “Advertisers are pleased with the new format and improved color quality. We will be doing some reader research later this year to gauge the reaction to broadsheet.”

The change to broadsheet has gone very well, said Stephanie Murawski, Mustang Daily’s advertising coordinator. “The paper has a much better look,” she said. “With 95 percent student readership, we wanted to challenge ourselves and make a paper that looks better and better every day.”

Harvey Levenson, head of Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department and interim chair of the Journalism Department, said the Mustang Daily’s new look now emulates prestigious newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

“It shows that even small newspapers can be written, designed and produced in a way that attracts readers and advertisers,” Levenson said. “This is a tribute to Cal Poly’s sophisticated Journalism and Graphic Communication faculty and staff, who are knowledgeable in writing, designing and producing in a way that appeals to readers across generations. Perhaps we have come upon a strategy for publishing traditional newspapers that can benefit the industry at large.”

The production of Mustang Daily is a collaborative effort of Cal Poly’s Journalism and Graphic Communication departments.

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