The University of Sydney Union (USU) will move its support of student journalism and content producers into new territory next year following the release of this year’s final edition of BULL Magazine in October. It will be the last printed edition of this much loved publication. Of course, as with any forward thinking pursuit, this is not the end, but the beginning of something exciting and new.
The USU has commenced steps to wind up the production of the monthly print publication BULL magazine and instead offer new writing, content production and paid editorial work opportunities for students.
Following the consideration of several alternate options, the USU Board unanimously voted in favour of the proposed plans to move to a 100% digital news format that will see two student editors paid a proper salary for their hard work, producing, sourcing and editing content for a new section of the USU website (usu.edu.au), due to launch in 2016.
USU President Alisha Aitken-Radburn says the new changes offer a great chance for students to get involved with the organisation and have their work reach more students
“The Union is moving into the 21st century, solidifying a stronger online presence. Students will be publicising to students what’s happening on campus, sharing their amazing work and determining the look, feel and editorial direction of the site,” she says.
“The new format will also allow more experimentation and collaboration with existing student publications from SURG FM to Hermes.”
The new section of the website will be the digital home of student produced content, including news, commentary, features, entertainment, opinions, audio-visual and multimedia production, across a range of topics both on and off campus.
“The content will become much more accessible and far-reaching as we’ll be able to share it with students who may not come to main campus often – so whether they’re studying at satellite campuses, part-time or online, they all have the opportunity to engage with student-generated content,” Alisha says. “The shift also fits in with some more ambitious digital projects we are pursuing at the moment.”
All successfully published student contributors and reporters will be financially rewarded for their efforts, providing an awesome opportunity for students to develop their professional skills and experience while supplementing their income. With more and more print publications moving online, the USU hopes these opportunities will provide an experience that more closely aligns with the real world media and provides job ready skills for when they graduate.
Director of Student Publications Michael Rees says that while he was originally hesitant about the new changes he now believes the new opportunities provide a fairer remuneration structure and will work to ensure editorial independence is maintained.
“We’ll be working to ensure our new editors and their reporters get the support they need, including mentoring from a team of industry professionals,” he says.
Following the tradition of past USU student publications, including the revered Union Recorder which was replaced by the contemporary student-edited BULL Magazine in 2006, this new format continues to evolve the USU’s student driven content, incorporating exciting new forms of content. This ensures the organisation and its programs, products and services remain relevant to students and the community in the digital age.
With the reduction of costs associated with printing the USU will also be able to direct increased funding to other student services and programs, and the reduced paper consumption will help the organisation do its bit for the environment.
The USU would like to thank the past and current BULL Student Editors for all their hard work. The USU really values the student voice and hopes we can all jump on the same page as we launch this exciting new space for student journalism and creative content.
If you’d like to discuss the changes further please zip our President Alisha Aitken-Radburn an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a buzz in the office on (02) 9563 6231.