Thursday, April 25, 2024

Digital Divide: The Michigan Times is a local news site. Or is it? By Gordon Young


UM-Flint is without a student newspaper for the first time in more than sixty years. (Photo by Gordon Young)

Technically, the Michigan Times still exists, but it’s probably not what you think it is.
When the University of Michigan – Flint student newspaper let its domain name lapse last year, it was a clear sign that the Michigan Times was in trouble. The publication that covered the downtown campus for more than 60 years is now officially “sunsetting” and will shut down completely at the end of the academic year, a victim of declining student interest and, some argue, university budget cuts.

The domain “” was quickly purchased by another entity, and a new publication with the same name soon appeared online pledging to cover “all types of local news for the cities of Flint and Detroit in Michigan.” It resembles a slickly produced version of the old student newspaper site, albeit one that is heavy on regional and state news.

It still claims a strong connection to the university and describes the staff as a “team of young people, consisting of University of Michigan-Flint grads.” Another page identifies them as “former University of Michigan-Flint students” who “are committed to helping current students and being the place where their problems will be heard.

But with almost no campus coverage, readers might be left wondering: what exactly is this thing?