The BBC does it. The Huffington Post does it. Every news wire does it every day without fail, and in a world of increased digitization and 24/7 news, it must be done. All of their media contains a range of print, moving image and audio, and can be found all in one place.
So why do students, thought to be at the forefront of technology, in a media saturated world which revolves around the internet and smart phones, divide up student media into the newspaper, radio and TV?
When I first joined the student newspaper at Warwick, I remember asking my news editor about the radio station.
“We don’t really talk to them,” he said. There was quite a rivalry going on apparently, which I never fully understood. The only event they (reluctantly) cooperated for was the students’ union elections, where they would begrudgingly snap at each other in order to stream some live results together and bang out a live blog.
When you get to university, you feel like you have to choose, one or the other. The media is split up into the basic mediums and doesn’t seem to cross over. Separate societies, separate execs, separate websites and content.
Maybe it was because they felt they were all competing with each other for viewers, or the old execs just didn’t get along.
Now we don’t all hate each other, it’s become a lot easier. Some strong friendships and relationships have bridged the gap between the societies. And we’re all located on the same corridor now, so are forced to work vaguely near each other.
This is definitely for the better. In the past year, we’ve launched multiple collaborations which are working pretty well. There’s our weekly news TV show, combining the best campus affairs from the paper into a 3 minute video, a radio chat show where we discuss newspaper content, and regular mini-documentaries where we discuss issues on campus. Next up will be improving the process for the SU elections and looking into how we can work together for next year’s Varsity coverage.
The benefits of collaboration are far-reaching. For a start, it makes your life a lot easier. Forgot to hit record on your all-important interview? The TV station have got a spare copy of the audio you can use for your show.
It will have benefits for any future careers you’re aiming for too. In a rapidly developing world for journalists, wannabes need to be able to prove that they have adaptable skills that they can transfer to a range of mediums.
Some universities have embraced the challenge that new media has brought with full on merging of all student media. Sheffield, Aberystwyth and other institutions include a huge team of journalists trained in print reporting, moving image and radio, and seem to be working pretty well. Is this the model that all student media will move towards in the future?
Overall, collaboration makes your student media a lot better. If a student comes across your website, and can get linked to a radio interview, a film clip, and an article, it makes the coverage that much more engaging for them. After all, if you’re producing the content for students, you should be giving it to them all in one place, in the easiest possible way. Make them a cup of tea while you’re at it.
Radio Warwick report live from Freshers 2012. Photo: James Deane
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look