I still have Captivate on my mind. Perhaps I was captivated? It's just got me thinking about the media and the role it plays in university and how it functions.
Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren, one of the speakers at he conference, lectured on "Strategic Student Media Management". She explained that students are drawn to student media and student publications because they (the student) are the target market. Now this makes sense in theory but my question is, how many people actually read Activate or Oppidans Press? I mean how many students actually read the content and not just skim through it? Admittedly, I skimmed through the Orientation Week publication of Activate and even Grocotts' Mail. It was by Rod Amner's (our first term Journalism lecturer) efforts that I began to really read those newspapers, thanks to the weekly pop quiz's. Once I started writing for Activate, I became aware of how much work goes into writing stories and now I actually read it cover to cover. Yet, I still ask, what about the rest of the Rhodes community? A girl in my dinning hall commented that Activate is worse than a certain tabloid. Now I might have taken offense on the day but since being to Anna-Marie's talk, I understand there's a lot to be done in terms of student media. Firstly we must strt with branding. Individual publications must build hype around their brands. It made so much sense when she pointed this out. Branding builds loyalty.
I really hope the Activate management see this second suggestion. The second key to improving ones publication according to Anna-Marie, is incentive for the writers. The truth, taking stories every week is not easy. To anyone planning to join a student newspaper or radio station, I highly recommend it, but make sure something internal or external from the organisation, is keeping you motivated.
I've learnt more from writting for Activate than I would have if I'd just done my 40 hours of compulsary vacation work. Yet, there are weeks when I think of how many articles I've written already, the amount of academic work I have pilling up and then I'm not too sure why I'm still writting when there's no reward. With that said, when the paper finall comes out and I get my copy and I see my story in there, I realise that that's where I find my satisfaction. Thi satisfaction is found in that the hours and the challenges I faced to get the story are not forgotten and the printed version is a sign of this victory. My victory.