September 11, 2012 | David Urban

Calvin's student newspaper is updating content three times a week online.

Calvin’s student newspaper, Chimes, first appeared in 1907 as a literary journal. In 1946, Chimes was transformed into a weekly newspaper. In 1996, Chimes made its print content available online. And this past Friday, Chimes launched a new online version that will update its content three times a week.

Chimes' new online presence makes the publication so much more dynamic because news will be up in a more timely manner,” said Lynn Rosendale, associate director of communications and marketing and advisor to Chimes’ online version.  “Readers won't have to wait until Friday for all of the news, as stories will be posted online throughout the week.”

A new format

The new Chimes website is updated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, dedicating particular days to particular subjects. 

Mondays highlight sports and arts and entertainment; Wednesdays offer world, national and local news as well as articles on science and technology; and Fridays offer feature stories and op-ed pieces. Campus news is updated all three days.

Online Chimes also offers expanded audio-visual features, including videos and photos galleries. 

Key students responsible for Chimes' development include editor-in-chief Abby Zwart (senior, Grand Rapids), online editor Ryan Struyk (junior, Grand Rapids), and Web manager John Kloosterman (senior, Thornton, Ontario).

Zwart, who served as editor-in-chief last academic year, credited Struyk with having the desire and ability to move Chimes forward electronically. “Ryan took the initiative” and “created a new structure” that could be updated throughout the week, she said.

Print lives on

The print version of Chimes continues to appear on Friday, offering what Zwart called a “best stories of the week” collection. Zwart and Struyk estimated that 50 to 60 percent of pieces published online will also appear in print.

“Print is still vital for student newspapers,” Zwart said.  She emphasized the advantage of reading a print newspaper when “you have 15 minutes before class.”

“It’s a balancing act,” said Struyk about maintaining both online and print versions.  “Print is still valuable, but we’re recognizing where journalism is going.  We want to prepare our student journalists for where things are moving in the profession.”

Classics professor Ken Bratt, the returning advisor for Chimes print version, expressed hope and excitement about the newspaper’s new format and its future. “We’re all expecting great results and eager to see how the new Chimes develops this year,” he said.

Support and Challenges

Chimes’ online expansion was supported by Calvin’s student life committee’s media subcommittee, composed of Bratt, Rosendale, coordinator of student organizations Paula Englin, media productions professor Brian Fuller and vice president of student life Shirley Hoogstra.

“I am proud of a Chimes staff who are embracing change,” Hoogstra said.

“Abby, Ryan and John have shown themselves to be the real deal,” said Fuller.  “Leaping from the 15th century to the 21st one in one year is ambitious hopscotch, but I think they’ve laid the groundwork for making Chimes relevant via every smartphone and iPad on campus.”

Zwart said that with its new format, Chimes will need more stories—and writers—than ever before, and she invited all interested Calvin students to write.

“It takes an army,” she said with a smile.  “If you are interested at all, Chimes is a great platform for getting published, getting your name out there.  We have room for just about any story that people are interested in writing.”

Recent stories