As the print version of Wits Vuvuzela falls away, the journalism curriculum caters more to the modern industry’s needs.
The Wits Vuvuzela print newspaper is no more.
The publication produced by the full-time honours students of the Wits Journalism department since 2004, is making a fully digital shift and will only be accessible online as of 2020.
Dinesh Balliah, the journalism honours programme coordinator says that the programme needs to keep up with the industry’s needs.
“The Wits Vuvuzela is not a service to the university, but, quite frankly, it is a service to our students in this department because it is our teaching tool. Our primary focus with this teaching tool is to teach and equip our students for the industry and that industry isn’t a print industry any longer.”
Balliah says Wits Vuvuzela has a stronger online reach as its website gets over 50 000 monthly unique visitors whereas fewer and fewer people are picking up the physical newspaper.
“Every week when we deliver the paper, we are having to bring back packs of unused paper,” she says.
Since the print production process has fallen away, freeing up three working days a week, there will now be space for skills building in other sectors such as podcasting, graphic design and web design.
Media studies professor, Iginio Gagliardone, says it is likely that individuals accessing news online will read more content than in the past.
“Readers definitely have the opportunity to access a much larger pool of information at a fraction of the cost (often just the cost of their data plan).”
Anelisa Tuswa, a 2015 graduate of the programme who is now a business journalist for eTV, says although there will always be people who read newspapers, we are in fact moving into an era where we might not have as many newspapers.
“We might as well prepare future journalists to be more equipped with online writing and online skills that are required to make it in the future of journalism,” Tuswa says.
*Dinesh Balliah is the editor of the Wits Vuvuzela.
FEATURED IMAGE: The Wits Vuvuzela newspaper is now only accessible via www.witsvuvuzela.com and social media platforms after making a digital shift.
Photo: Wits Vuvuzela