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Much Needed Adaptations
[ Issue 158 Page 13 ] Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 21:05:10 Jae Hwan Jeong Staff Reporter jeong7331@kaist.ac.kr

How Do We Improve The KAIST Herald?

Taking a break from the usual debates on social issues, The KAIST Herald poses an introspective question designed to generate ideas on how we can harness a permanent readership base and better reach out to KAIST students.

The act of striving forward should encompass thoughts that are both in foresight as well as in hindsight. The proposed motion urges us to seriously think through how our publication can do better, and I believe it’s a process that requires comprehensive reflection. On a confessional level, there have admittedly been disorder during transitional phases and a lack of effort to establish a firm conduit for channeling visions. However, I hope to focus on inspecting other college publications, understanding what qualities successful newspapers share, and how such elements can be used to widen the readership base of The KAIST Herald.

The common denominator between publications such as The Daily Orange of Syracuse University or Yale Daily News is that the articles cover not only in-campus subject matters but also those of the entire region they are housed in. The papers become must-reads for not only the students but also residents that live near the campus, and this naturally makes the papers interchangeable with the local ones. Achieving such a scale may only be sustainable when backed by the regional committee, and infeasible for The KAIST Herald, but it does tell us that covering local issues may be more pertinent to the readers than the global affairs that are already being covered by multiple media institutions. At the end of the day, no one really devotes their time reading about an event from several different publications.

There are other clubs within our school that aim at informing the student body and seldom do we consider the overlaps between their accounts and those of ours. We have to remind ourselves that students won’t be willing to read from both sides unless one offers a level of nuance on top of the other one. Each and every article is an ideological microcosm of how the publication operates and the editing procedure should make sure that the topic being handled has a certain level of sui generis character — in other words, if a single article gives off an impression that the coverage is mundane, it is with that same character the readers will paint our entire publication. Readership is based on accumulated impression and we have to review the quality of what we present monthly for us to not lose hold of what we may have built.

A major element that is absent from The KAIST Herald is a reliable and functioning webpage. It is naive to expect students to grab hold of our papers no matter how accessible they are around the campus. It has to be admitted that the level of portability and viability that online articles have are unparalleled to printed ones. The KAIST Herald desperately needs an online page that is compatible with multiple platforms in order to effectively reach out to its readers. This is not to say that the Herald should solely focus on its digital counterpart, but rather, suggesting that there needs to be a solid online platform to support the printed papers.

We take pride in being the sole publication in KAIST that has the capacity to harness the readership of international students as well as Korean students. It is in its nature much more 21st century-esque and congruous with what our college strives to be. However, this sense of pride should not be the cause for us to think that we are the sole option for our fellow students. The apparent lack of competition should further encourage us to be what other successful college publications have amounted to. The adaptation to modern journalism has to take place, and it has to take place urgently.

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