Many of those ideas take years of planning and coordinated fundraising to achieve. But others — such as his insistence on reviving Lander’s student-run newspaper, the Forum, after 12 years of dormancy — can happen with a simple meeting.
“We have found, contrary to popular belief, that our printed newspaper is read and enjoyed. In fact, people look forward to its arrival,” Cosentino said. “Additionally, we have discovered that our students and employees enjoy picking up our paper in one of our many campus locations.”
The Forum just wrapped up its first year of the renewed print edition.
Robert Stevenson, a Lander mass communications professor and staff adviser for the Forum, said the monthly product has quickly filled a niche among Lander’s students, faculty, staff and visitors.
“We’ve had a lot of good feedback,” Stevenson said. “It was an experiment. Were people going to like this? They did, so we’re moving forward.”
That happened at the behest of Lander’s chief, he added.
“President Cosentino called me into his office and said, ‘Why don’t we have a print edition?’ and I told him students aren’t reading it and he said, ‘Well, then we’ve got to put better stuff in, and let’s try again,’” Stevenson said.
Part of the challenge, Stevenson said, was finding a stable provider to manufacture the Forum’s printed edition. But officials found a partner in the Index-Journal, which offered its press operations to the school for the 2,500 issues that are produced each month.
Stevenson wrote features for the Index-Journal in the 1980s.
“You can’t have a democracy without people reading the newspaper,” he said. “It was refreshing to hear a president not shy away from us. He’ll take interviews and ask questions.”
The paper is also finding an off-campus audience, thanks to the efforts of Denise Manley, Lander’s executive director of alumni affairs. She sends issues to graduates and drops copies at venues across Uptown Greenwood.
Lander’s board of trustees get copies as well.
Unlike daily or even weekly student publications, Stevenson said the Forum benefits from the time between issues.
“It allows us to make it almost like a news magazine,” Stevenson said. One of the most popular features is an events calendar that runs on the back page.
The Forum is also a catalyst for teaching, and students enrolled in Stevenson’s classroom might find their work published — or even serve as a peer editor.
Even though the paper is available monthly in print, Stevenson maintains an online presence to break news.
Incoming sports editor J.J. Jordan said bringing the printed Forum back to campus was welcomed news for Lander’s student journalists.
“It’s great having the print edition back, because it provides us the opportunity to express ourselves on certain topics we are passionate about while also honing our writing skills,” he said. “Being that I’m a little older than my classmates, I can remember waiting each day to check sports scores and read articles prior to the internet that we have today at the tip of our fingers.”
Cosentino said making physical copies of the Forum available benefits all students.
“I believe that quality writing skills and the ability for one to communicate effectively in writing will be a valuable and well paid skill in the near future. Our paper gives students an opportunity to develop these skills and prepare them for the future. Hopefully, some of them may even become journalists,” he said. “They also learn to research topics, ask the right questions and think critically.”
Jordan said he’s happy seeing Lander students digesting the work he and his fellow reporters produce.
“It’s refreshing to see students reading articles from an actual print edition, because it brings back good memories for me, and it’s the way things used to be,” he said.
Contact staff writer Adam Benson at 864-943-5650 or on Twitter @ABensonIJ.