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Call to redefine RU student media

Date Released: Mon, 19 August 2013 08:36 +0200

By Stuart Thembisile Lewis

On Tuesday last week representatives from Rhodes University’s two student newspapers met with the School of Journalism and Media Studies to discuss setting up a partnership between the School and student media on campus, Activate, Oppidan Press and Rhodes Music Radio (RMR).

The aim of the partnership is to help student media secure funding and to enable better interaction between campus media and the university.

At the end of the meeting a working group was set up to carry the discussion forward. The group consists of the two outgoing editors of The Oppidan Press and Activate, Kirsten Makin and Xand Venturas, and the papers’ respective ombudsmen, Professor Anthea Garman and Rod Amner.

Also included will be a representative from campus radio station RMR, Danika Marquis from the RMR board, coordinator of the first year Journalism course Priscilla Boshoff, second year coordinator Simon Pamphilon and Head of the School, Professor Larry Strelitz.

One proposal that came out of the meeting was to make work at a campus media organisation compulsory for first year students, but Pamphilon was concerned that this would make the already stringent requirements for admission into second year far too difficult.

The Oppidan Press and Activate struggle to generate enough revenue from advertising as independent publications, and the grant they receive from the Student Representative Council (SRC) as student societies doesn’t cover all the costs. Despite this, both are actively competing with student publications across the country owned by journalism or media studies departments at their universities.

In order to sustain the high-quality of journalism both publications produce and their usefulness as training grounds for students, it was suggested that their role within the university be redefined and that the School could help them move away from being student societies dependent on the SRC.

RMR representatives were invited to attend the meeting, but were not present.

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