Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Is Democracy in the Eye of the Beholder? Perceptions of the Newspaper

Elly Herrick
Printed newspapers are lowering in popularity and usage as digital use is increasing in popularity as years progress.

“If you’re asking whether the Winonan should stop printing, my answer is ,” Tesla Mitchell, who currently runs social media and blogs for Winona State University as a Digital Content Manager said “Printed newspapers are quickly declining and that’s because readers are consuming it in a different way. It’s time for journalism to make some tough decisions and reinvent how people engage with news outlets.”

Tesla Mitchell was a journalist for the Winona Daily News for nearly 10 years before moving into PR work. After a year or so of being a full-time mom, she came to work at WSU.

While she and many statistics point out, printed issues are becoming harder to produce due to a lack of interest and higher costs of printing.

“If you’re asking whether The Winonan should stop as a news outlet, then my answer is absolutely not. Beyond getting real-life experience as a writer/journalist on deadline, it would be a huge loss to students who rely on The Winonan for their ‘local news,’” Mitchell said.

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Since 2005, nearly 2,900 newspapers have been reported as closed in the U.S. Northwestern University states, “The loss of local newspapers ticked higher in 2023 to an average of 2.5 per week, up from two per week last year.” Whether from closing, mergers or moving onto an online format one thing is clear; how newspapers are perceived and used has changed.

Are newspapers still relevant? Daily News estimates around 21 million readers engage with their content either in print or online articles. The Winonan prints and delivers physical issues every other Wednesday and publishes online articles every Wednesday. With roughly 500 papers printed, mostly all issues get picked up by the next week. On, there’s an average of 1,200 visits biweekly with the highest peak this school year of 4,260 views reported in Nov. 2023.

“Personality, curiosity and common sense make up a good newspaper or any kind of reporter… [The Winonan is] still important because it’s a great vocation, and still a voice for the students,” Advisor of The Winonan of three years, Doug Westerman said. “With the advent of social media, students need to marry their social media skills with their writing skills to make the newspaper more relevant and more of a 24/7 news source for students versus just waiting for the paper to come out on Wednesday.”

Westerman works as an overseer of the student-produced paper and comments on how the dynamic and personality of the paper change every year depending on the group of students.

“When you’re done with the story and it’s been edited properly, it should be consumed because you’re competing with radio and television and other Internet-based news services,” Westerman said. “I would like to see it happen in a more linear fashion without having a pause for it to be published. Newspapers have to be as adaptable as other mediums in order to succeed and they’ve had a very tough go of it as of late.”

The Winonan, which was called “The Pow-Wow” for a short time from 1919-1922, has been a newspaper printing and writing articles for 105 years.

“The most important part of the Winonan is that it’s written by students and is for students; having the student’s voice elevated and communicating with each other about what’s important is exceptionally powerful…Without journalism and news outlets, democracy can’t exist.” Mitchell said.

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About the Contributor
Elly Herrick
Elly Herrick, Online Editor
Elly Herrick (She/They) is currently the online/social media editor, business manager, features writer, and photographer. Try saying that five times fast. Herrick also works as the Communications Director on Student Senate, a 2023 Orientation Leader, and was newly added on a Tuesday 7-10p.m timeslot on KQAL. They are also the Social media manager for the WSU Pre-Athletic Training Club. Herrick is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is a second-year student at Winona State University studying Mass Communications: Public Relations with a minor in Advertising, Photography, and Creative Digital Media. They love following challenging and fulfilling stories. They also have a strong passion for writing and giving others a voice. Herrick loves to travel and over the summer, they traveled to Greece, Italy, and Barcelona. They are now saving up and planning on going to New Zealand this winter with their Aunt. Outside of school, they love taking the train and seeing live concerts with friends. They also love sharks and a good book!    

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