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A promotional Spectrum bottle opener handed out in Carman in 2010

Spectrum is the latest incarnation of the Spec's consistently abortive attempts at running a 24-hour on-campus blog. Initially, given the Spectator's blogs' troubled past, students normally mention Spectrum when discussing how long it will take for it to fail. Today, given the fact that Spectrum still exists, it seems like it's here to stay.[1]


Spectrum was launched on March 1, 2010[2] to much fanfare from the newspaper itself. The entire front page of that day's newspaper was devoted to promoting Spectrum,[3] with a letter from the editors explaining the new blog:

Somewhere along the way, Spectator lost that playfulness. Yes, we’re a newspaper. Yes, we have some serious work to do, and we should take that work seriously. But we’re a student newspaper, not the New York Times, and part of our charge is to keep in mind our fellow students. And that means telling stories in a way that’s fun to read. So we’re taking another crack at blogging. Unlike Spec’s previous efforts, this new blog, Spectrum, will be supported by a dedicated blog team, meaning that it’ll be updated around the clock. Our columnists, besides writing their usual biweekly columns for the paper, will be blogging as things happen. And the blog will be a fantastic place to put our best multimedia content—be on the lookout for beautiful HD video.[4]

Spectrum is unique among the blogs of student papers in that it's featured prominently on the front of the paper's website. The main difference between Spectrum and Spec's old blogs is its "a dedicated blog team." The newspaper's old blogs were decentralized, run piecemeal by each of the paper's different sections. Spectrum instead has a separate staff (though many of those staff members work on other parts of the paper). Like Bwog, there are daily editors who run the blog one day a week.

Like the newspaper itself, Spectrum is divided into sections. There are seven, and each are color-coded: Spectrum (blue); Opinion (red-orange); A&E (yellow); The Eye (purple); The Shaft (light orange); and Meta (black). The Spectrum tag is the general artery for Columbia-related news. A&E is arts-related content (at Columbia or around the city) that falls under the purview of the newspaper's Arts & Entertainment section. Opinion includes blog entries from Spec's columnists, webcomics, and less serious staff editorials (published on Fridays and called "Casual Friday"). The Eye is Spec's weekly magazine; on the blog, it mostly publishes videos and teasers for its magazine content. The Shaft reports on housing news and is for the most part up and running during the housings-selection process each spring. (The Shaft was actually part of Spec's previous blogging effort, SpecBlogs, and thus predates Spectrum.) Finally, Meta is meta-content: news on Spectrum and Spectator in general and advertisements for Spectator events.

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