Journalism students need entrepreneurial skills

Recently I've been reading a lot of articles/tweets about journalism students needing more than just the traditional skills; they need entrepreneurial skills. Goldsmith's journalism department featured in this morning's Media Guardian for possessing those exact skills. It also mentions Birmingham, City, Newcastle... but not Kent.

(Yes, here she goes again...)

So there I was, sitting at the start of the Power without Responsibility lecture, thinking we're going to have a big gap here after Christmas. At first, I tried to remember what free time felt like, failing that, I began to think of things that we could do in that time...

Perhaps the idea of a tabloid-style website wasn't popular, but can we just make a website? I don't mind if it covers solely students or a wider audience. We're halfway through our time at university now - isn't it about time that we started hitting the headlines?

You never know, we might all leave here, fail to become employed, and all those late nights of coffee-chugging, just to meet multiple deadlines, will seem pointless. Referring back to the second article I linked to - "With media jobs being cut, we are aiming to do it ourselves - to make a living from our journalism."

 

Comments

Do you mean set up something and do it all from our various homes over the break? Should we have that meeting we keep talking about and discuss it/the magazine?

By johnsaunders

We could talk about it on the last Wednesday before we break up - think most of our deadlines are finished by then, right? Want to book the room, John? 

By Rebecca Hughes

Free time makes me lazy anyway.

Probably shouldn't just cover students, though. Finding stuff to fill a monthly magazine has been hard enough. It isn't as if the campus is exactly alive with activity. On the way to the newsroom today every group of people I walked past made reference to so and so's facebook status.... fun.

+ You have a Twitter feed! That should pretty much make it worth doing in itself, right?!

By robhayes

...the campus is simply buzzing with activity. Lack of activity = complaints about lack of activity, it all balances out! There is a wealth of stuff going on out there waiting to be tapped into... Any time I go out I get talking to people about their on-campus experiences and I always uncover new angles to check out in the future ^^ Gotta say how much I'm loving the Medway atmosphere already and how after Christmas I 'm looking to get stuck into what I've seen to be a incredibly vibrant news scene so far here at Medway! 

Hope this didn't offend anyone (sorry if it did!) but seriously, there is so much stuff going on in our campus to investigate further that it's just brilliant! My one problem is settling on a line to explore instead of trying to cover it all...

On the idea of a website: EXCELLENT. I actually started planning to do this, so if you want to go ahead with it I would LOVE to be greatly involved! It's a fantastic opportunity and I want to be at the heart of it if I can! (;

By Paul Andrew Jam...

Elaborate on this "wealth of stuff" for me, please.

By Rebecca Hughes

This reply is also partly in response to Ali's comment as regard being a politician and a journalist. Where I got almost all my ideas and policies for my election campaign was in fact from searching for stories on campus as a journalist in the weeks since I got here. There is quite literally a mine of stories out there and just from talking to people you can find all sorts of angles to chase, like:

 

  • Essentials - anyone care to do a  review the items it stocks? Price comparison with other local shops anybody?
     
  • There are 5 places where you can buy lunch on campus...again I would suggest a price comparison, but an atmosphere comparison also.
     
  • Did you know there is a building on campus that is apparently condemned? I believe it's a swimming pool..? This is one story I have yet to follow up at all, but it sounds incredibly interesting to me.
     
  • The Purple dilemma - what is to become of the space known as Purple? Last year UMSA made a point of trying to do something with this space to turn it into a regular event venue, yet despite continuing this policy in freshers week and by hosting one or two events afterwards, Purple has once again fallen into silence. Rumours abound that UMSA want to turn it into a storage space and indeed walking past there any day this week has reinforced this idea as you can see stacks of boxes and trolleys stored within. However a quick check of student e-mail reveals that UMSA has recently sent out a student survey with a whole section dedicated to asking what should happen to Purple. Further, they still promote it as a venue in which societies & clubs can hold events. 
     
  • RaG - wouldn't it be an idea to talk to RaG reps to see how they're doing this year? Are they raising as much as last year, roughly the same, or less? How can students donate outside of specially organised RaG events? And just where does the money RaG raises go? To which charity or charities?
     
  • Coach Costs - the bus issues between universities is an fascinating one. I was talking to an older student last night and, though it wasn't this campus but another Greenwich campus, he remembers that in 1999 it was a pound each way from that campus to the main Greenwich campus. The distance from the two campuses is approx. the same as that between Medway and Greenwich. Currently the coach to Greenwich from Medway is free, but after Christmas they are charging. This has caused a massive uproar amongst students, but apparently this charge links in to the fact that student numbers at Medway are increasing and Greenwich is struggling to come up with the funding. True or false? Will this new cost be more or less than the similar bus in 1999? Are other coaches to the other campuses doing the same? Why is Kent the only university not to provide a regular coach service to their main campus from Medway? It's about the same distance between the campuses as with the other universities.
     
  • Societies & Clubs! There are loads of them, more even than you'll find on the UMSA website which always seems to be slow to update...each one can be covered for stories. The rugby team was in Hertforshire the other day I believe, though this may have been Kent Canterbury, not sure on this. Regardless, the rugby team DOES go on trips to play other university teams quite often and so do the other Medway teams! There's a whole untapped sports following of news stories.
     
  • Then there are societies such as the debating one, primarily for Law students but happy to accommodate all who wish to attend, which is very active. You don't even need to participate to be a member of the audience and the debates are quite entertaining - I attended one yesterday discussing the motion of whether the human rights act should be repealed and, as even lecturers attend and occasionally ask questions as members of the audience, the debate was very interesting. Either an article discussing the debating society, or a story which uses the platform of the debate to launch itself into a more serious discussion, is easy to do.
     
  • Do you know the badminton society is trying to get lecturers to come and join in their badminton sessions? Sound like it could lead to a fun piece!
     
  • And what of the strong allegations from some students that UMSA are favouring Kent and leaving other universities in the dark, especially that of Greenwich? This has come from several places and after some investigation it's revealed that in a sense Kent 'own' UMSA as they originally are the ones to set them up. There are apparently very strong links between UMSA and the student union bar 'Venue' on the Canterbury campus, links that still tie them in favouring Kent? Or is it really just a case of numbers, interest or funding proportions? 
     
  • Then there are the sabbatical officers sent to represent our interests on the main campuses. They apparently don't come from Medway, but from the main campuses themselves! How can this be right? Many of them have no idea what life on the Medway campus is like and strong words have been used to describe what looks like a dire failing in the student representation system. 
     
  • What about the vandalism? After speaking with the security officer for our campus several weeks back (his name escape me right now) he talked about the hooligans who come from off campus to wreak havoc and cause damage, which he has to then sort out. I haven't seen evidence to back this up, but he was assertive in his opinion and a proper interview could well reveal that there is indeed a larger amount of vandalism on the Medway campus than is apparent.
     
  • Parking on campus! A disaster...probably the number one issue people seem to get worked up about. What is the problem exactly? Why has this happened? Is there really an issue or are people just making a fuss?
     
  • There's that dance society poster that's everywhere...is this a society that has just started? Or is trying to get out there and promote itself? Posters provide a great source of idea for stories, there a so many on campus...the rowing society poster is EVERYWHERE at the moment. Where do they train? How often? Do they enter competitions, do they travel far to row in nice locations? People are usually genuinely interested to know more about these societies that they see advertised on posters but then that's it. They get curious.
     
  • The new park opening between Mid-Kent College and the campus...so many people are fascinated by it, only because they walk by each day! A little investigation into how it will all look when it's finished, perhaps a copy of the plans included, and the opening date and people would just devour such an article.
     
  • Medway is a unique campus, shared by 4 institutions - just how does it all work? Who funds what? Does this mean certain universities get less or more than others? What are the difference in photocopy costs, who pays the least (Christ Church I believe pays the least at 15p a copy)?
     
  • Is UMSAs website up to scratch? Personally I'd say it isn't, but it would need a panel of IT experts studying website design here at Medway, coupled with the opinions of other students who use the site, in order to make a decision that you could publish. 
     
  • Christmas! What's the campus doing for Christmas? Christmas trees, decorations, special offers in the cafés, parties...a review of the Medway Christmas spirit, or lack of, would be nice.
     
  • Accommodation...Liberty Quays still has lots of potential. So does a general look at the Medway student accommodation situation. The Greenwich halls, basically on-campus, are apparently pretty bad. Compared with Liberty Quays, they're an extra 50 pounds a month and have far less space and less up-to-date facilities. Worth it? I don't know, someone could go an find out.
     
  • One that's close to my heart at the moment is the mess of this year's elections. I don't know how they went last year, but I'm told they ran better than this. Nobody aware the elections are even on, very few candidates, almost no posters from these candidates around the campus, a ballot box system that isn't clearly explained leading to lots of votes being ignored...the election doesn't finish until Friday late-afternoon, but so far I'm not impressed and I'm sure others aren't either.
     
  • Coopers - why was it randomly shut last Sunday? Is it always shut? What are the opening times and days so people don't walk through the driving rain only to find it closed? Could it not put a warning on it's Facebook page at least when they know that some 50 year old is renting the entire bar out for his birthday on a Friday (or possibly Saturday) night? And just WHO would want to rent out Coopers for their 50th birthday party?
     
  • Gym facilities on campus, a disgrace. I have not found a single student who said they like the on-campus gym yet. Need I say more?
     

I could go on for ages yet, I'm nowhere near short on suggestions of stories that someone could do relating to the campus or campus life. Really, it's absolutely thriving with them! Talk to people and the stories just abound. 

 

 

By Paul Andrew Jam...

...but Rob wasn't just saying that there's nothing going on on campus (a debate I'm not getting dragged into), but that it's been hard getting a magazine together. In other words, it's all well and good having lots of ideas, but we need people and the time to write them all. That's what's been hard, too.

By johnsaunders

Fair enough, but I was responding to the point asking me to elaborate. It's to my eternal shame that I myself still haven't managed to find the time to write a single article for UMM...

It is true that a blog or website is a lot easier to run and less time consuming in many ways, which is why when I ran a student newspaper in my old school that I switched to a blog when I couldn't get the resources I needed (though this was also linked to heavy censorship imposed by my school). But at the same time, a physical newspaper/magazine is just (to me) more impressive and potentially it's also going to be looked at more than a website since it can be physically be handed out to people.

The idea of setting up a blog or website though, great as it does sound to me, would worry me in that it would potentially split people helping between the magazine and the blog to the detriment of both. What would work certainly is if once you are sure you have a solid and established magazine, with regular writers, you then create a website to support it.

Or perhaps you could distribute the magazine as an e-zine in addition to it's current physical format; hopefully lowering costs, not requiring too much additional work and maybe reaching a wider audience.

 

By Paul Andrew Jam...

You're right, it needs the writers.

We could have 100 ideas (and you have shut me up, to a point, on that). But when you only have around 5 or 6 people willing to regularly give up time to thrash out stories it will collapse. It has already become apparent after just three issues that it is a struggle.

The site is a great idea because, yes, it is easier to maintain and Becci and the other editors don't have to faff around designing a magazine with no stories to go in it.

But with the space left by Power Without Responsibility next year, hopefully it'll be a success story.

On that wave of positivity... I'm going to watch Rocky... erm... IV I think.

 

By robhayes

There have always been a lot of rumors about the swimming pool building – it’s the one next to the gym. All I know is that none of the universities want to buy it – but apparently they signed a contract to say that they’d have all the building “up to scratch” by 2010. I don’t know whether or not the latter is true.

As for Purple, I don’t think UMSA tried that hard to make it into a decent venue – who told you that out of interest? UMSA? Last time I walked past, it was once again full of storage. They need more space for the shop. Paul, if you become activities officer – get your hands on the results of the survey… I’m skeptical that students want a bigger campus shop instead of Purple, as they’ve told me.

RAG has a different executive this year... Apparently they left it too late to organize RAG week. So I’m assuming they haven’t raised as much as they did last year. We’ve offered them space in the magazine to advertise. They just haven’t done anything about it yet.

I know they’re charging for Greenwich coaches this year and it’s more than in 1999. The reason behind it I’m not sure about. Either way, at least they have a coach. We were going to look into this over Christmas for the mag.

Societies and clubs – I’ve been told that LGBT have been asking for the list of societies to be updated for ages – and they still haven’t. It even still says that Pulp is still around, and that’s been gone for 2 (?) years. Most sports societies have games most weeks – they’ve been sent various emails to send in match reports – only one has so far.

As for articles being “easy to do”, it’s true – but no one wants to do it, do they?

Strong allegations? The Facebook group flashed up in my feed after you joined it, so I read it. What’s this investigation? Only all the Facebook page says is “speculations and observations”. I was told that Canterbury Christ give the most money to UMSA. I also noticed that not a single Greenwich student had bothered to comment on the page. Besides, Greenwich own Coopers etc.

Our representatives are being changed this year – hence the elections. Although I noticed only 4 people on the list. Elections – always a shamble. Barely anyone knew they took place last year and the people who are elected have seemingly done nothing. I'd like to know how much they pay the election woman.

The rowing team is already writing an article for January’s edition.

Coopers – my housemate’s not home so I can’t ask her, but it was probably because they couldn’t get anyone to work.

Gym – the gym is Greenwich’s gym, although we can use it. Kent put their money into the Black Lion, which is why we can use it for free on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

So Paul, why not write some of these stories? They don’t write themselves...

By Rebecca Hughes

Thanks for the feedback, and I certainly want to write for the magazine, it's a question of right now having too many things happening to find the time...

As I said in another comment on this page, it is to my shame that I have not yet had the time to write any of these stories - it's not like I haven't tried! I also said in another comment that I was looking forward to getting stuck into writing stories after Christmas, when I know I'll finally have a lot more time to spare.

But if I find time before then I'll definitely contribute! (;

My source on UMSA's stance on Purple was what was said at a meeting on setting up & running societies - it was mentioned that they were trying to get more societies to organise events that used the space in Purple so they could keep it open and use it more, since last year they tried and still it wasn't used as much as it could be. If it's not used this year, it was said, it will probably end up being changed for some other use. Whether as a different venue, a bigger shop or just storage space, it wasn't specified and from the looks of the survey sent out UMSA are still trying to decide. 

As to the 'strong allegations'...these turned up after I also saw the facebook group and then asked  Greenwich students what they felt about the matter. Many of them had no idea, but a few did have strong words on the subject. What I haven't got is fact to back this up - actually checking UMSAs funding it becomes clear Greenwich contributes a lot more than Kent does, so these allegations may have absolutely no grounds.

By Paul Andrew Jam...

"A lot more time spare" is the opposite of what you'll have (that is, at the CfJ).

I don't mean to be a scrooge, but my point is this: if you're waiting to 'find' the time, then you never will. You've got to make it.

(PS: I don't mean to be harsh - but we're all in the same boat here, mate. I know the first term is like being dropped in the deep end (upside down, into a pit of writhing maggots, with your hands tied behind your back, at three hundred degrees celsius) whilst trying to hold breath as you have a panic attack. Don't worry, though, you ain't seen nothin' yet. ;)  )

By johnsaunders

 No worries, I'm actually not finding the course too demanding yet (people look at me strangely when I say this, but intense as the course is I'm not feeling overloaded yet!). I am trying to make time, but it's not the course that's taking up most of it - it's commitments to projects I was involved in before I started uni that I'm in the process of finishing off/handing over to others. After the Christmas hols this will be virtually done and dusted :)

By Paul Andrew Jam...

...and being a journalist AND a politician (at the same time) is not possible. I will try and get some stories for a website but whenever I have tried to do things for the magazine I have failed epically.

By Alister Houghton

That's news to me.

By robhayes

Simply brilliant comment there Rob :D

By KathrynCain

Count me in as well.

By AlanMcGuinness

I will do hockey match reports (if I'm at the match)

By Alister Houghton

Since reviews are quite fun to write and pretty personal to the person doing them (and are the things that fill up quickly apparently)... Write articles and you get to write reviews ha.

Although.. that could back-fire. But try to look at it more as rewarding the people that do write articles rather than it being punishment for people who don't.

By robhayes