Boston University’s 44 year old student paper, The Daily Free Press, which has, for better or worse, been the beat of the BU campus since its inception, announced today that it would be transitioning into a digital-first publication, with a new print issue being released weekly on Thursdays. The Daily Free Press, or “The Freep” as it’s known around campus, played an enormous role in the events that range from BU’s student protests amid the Kent State shootings, to the many movements of the John Silber administration, to last year’s Boston Marathon tragedies.

In a statement from the board of directors this morning, The Free Press will get a digital re-design for the fall, and will release 5,000 copies of the print publication every Thursday. The statement mentions that the new and improved Freep aims to be, “More than a news website.”

“ will serve as a virtual space for the Boston University community to gather and connect,” it says. “Less preoccupied with the pressures and constraints of daily print publication, our staff will have the opportunity to expend their time and energy on breaking news, investigative reporting, in-depth features and vivid multimedia.”

While the statement doesn’t explicitly address the publication’s reasons for switching to primarily digital, one can pretty easily take a gander and say that it’s maybe because college kids don’t read newspapers all that much. It could, however, go deeper than that. The Free Press has been criticized in recent years for various scandals, including an editor being fired for a distasteful April Fools’ joke in 2012 and crime log entries that lampooned incidents as serious as sexual assault on campus. Additionally, newer publications have cropped up around the BU campus, including The Quad, an independent online magazine, and The Bunion, BU’s very own version of The Onion. Perhaps The Freep is feeling a bit of pressure to keep up with the times? Maybe it’s just a much-needed reinvention? Regardless, the publication will carry on, but in a new format and a fresh vision.

[Image Credit: Daily Free Press]