Since July, discussions regarding the possible integration of all media outlets in the Dankook Media Centre (DMC)have been on-going. The DMC is the official press unit of Dankook University (DKU) and includes five media branches: The Dankook Herald (DKH), the Dandae Shinmun, D-voice, DKBS Jukjeon and Cheonan. The common goal of all branches of the DMC has been to share news with Dankookians (students of DKU) by publishing newspapers, English magazines, videos, and radio broadcasting. So what are the reasons for a possible DMC integration?
With advances in technology, media delivery has naturally changed as well. Mass media has been diversified, and the Internet has arisen as the dominant news source. Existing media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV, have lost subscribers. The perception of the media has also changed. In the new media era, traditional print media were forced to rethink about how they can capture the attention of readers. As the DMC is also struggling with the indifference of readers, they felt the time for change has come.
|▲ Each media outlet of Dankook University, which constitutes an integrated DMC. (Photo from Dankook University website)|
There has been a long-standing isolationist model in place between the DMC’s media outlets. There has never been a system of communication that coordinates their efforts and messages. The more overlapping content was produced, the more confused the reader was about the characteristics and roles of each media outlet. Although each media worked on promoting themselves, they failed to leave a strong impression on people. As a result, proponents of the reorganization argued that by promoting themselves as a single unified platform, the ‘DMC’ would be more effective. The goal is to reorganizing the system along the strengths of each media outlet.
A pilot run of the changes was launched in the second semester of 2020. Under the trial plan, the DMC will act as the official media agency of the school. This includes reporting major issues regarding the school and fostering a cohesive university message. The DMC will also secure online accessibility to the news via card news, videos, and other SNS activities. With regards to this trial change, the editors agreed, that despite the changes, they wanted to preserve their own styles as they are a key part of their identities. Editorial Director Keum Yoo-jin of the Dandae Shimun said, “We want to keep our own article style, even if it's a little static, compared to card news or videos. It's a newspaper, so we can explain things in greater detail.” "I want to maintain our independent identity as the only English-language newspaper that targets foreign students," said Nam Yoon-kyung, Editor of the DKH. Park Eui-jin, Editor of DKBS said, "It is important to note that each media outlet has its own unique delivery methods and styles, and DKBS is more specialized in radio production rather than professional coverage." Finally, Lee Ga-hye, the editor of D-voice, said that each media outlet has their own identity and that the D-voice should be integrated in a way that does not weaken its representative role in video.
The second policy being trialed is an 'integrated reporting team'. The team will be responsible for providing information students about campus issues and covering key planning issues. For example, in the case of student council election-related issues, their role would be to interview the election candidates and inform Dankookians of the election schedule.
The third plan being trialed is the formation of a 'Content Production Team'. Their job is to produce content by taking advantage of the strengths of each media outlet. For instance, stories covering the opening ceremonies and anniversaries will be selected and assigned to competent personnel in each team with the information collected shared amongst them.
|▲ First card news topics produced by DMC (Photo from DMC card news team)|
The final plan being trialed is the formation of a 'Promotion Team. This team would be responsible for planning and managing various promotional projects, including recruitment campaigns for trainee reporters as well as posting news reports and hosting SNS events.
While the plans are ambitious, there are some concerns about their operability. Jeong Chan-woo, a reporter with the Dandae Shinmun and Kwon So-young, Head of the Culture Department at DKBS said, "It's a shame that we can't get immediate feedback because we're working on each program as a messenger." Lee Da-na, Head of Production at DKBS, said, "Due to a lack of communication between the teams, it is hard for us to know how things are progressing." Students have also weighed on how to solve the difficulties faced by the DMC. Park Eui-jin said, "Communication seems to be the most important issue. I think it’s important to further develop our communication channels, so everyone can have a chance to express their thoughts. When I ask about a situation, I think we should talk about it then, but also follow up, exchanging updates from time to time. This will result in more systematic joint coverage in the long run.
Plans for the integration of the DMC are currently being piloted. The integrated coverage is an opportunity to strengthen the capabilities of the DMC by getting closer to readers through a newly reorganized system. The key factors that support the existence of the media are the interest and love of the readers. To date, the DMC’s integration discussions have been active and the DKH hopes that it will be completed successfully, so that the DMC can be more accessible to readers and also adapt to the new realities of our current media era.
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