Is there anybody out there?: Many students unaware of campus media outlets
At the university, some of the most interesting and accessible services provided are the multiple student-run public media sources. These are not only free to access for students who wish to follow campus news and be entertained, but also organizations that any undergraduate can become a part of if they so choose.
Despite this, there is still the possibility that these rare college opportunities are falling on deaf ears. Here, we attempt to answer the question: Do most students actually know about these student media? And of those who do know, how many of them actually use them?
For the sake of answering these questions, I put my focus on three different media organizations that are kept up and run on campus in the same ways as any other university organization. These are WVUD, STN 49 and The Review, of course.
For those out of the loop, WVUD is the public radio station on campus, where students are invited to sign up and host their own shows to be heard across Newark. STN 49 is the university’s television station, where students can produce their own shows related to news, sports and more.
To gauge student awareness, I set out to ask random students around campus how familiar they were with these different media entities and how often they engage with them. The results were less than stellar.
Students were the most familiar with The Review, and those who were not quickly learned about it as they were being interviewed for The Review. The location of newspapers all across campus and the prominence of the offices in Perkins Student Center seemed to be the main contributing factor to this.
When it came to actually reading the paper, most students expressed that they had at least read something in the past, most commonly using the website as stories would occasionally appear in their social media feed.
WVUD was almost as well-understood as the newspaper, the large sign on the side of Perkins again being a main reason for this. Though it seemed that most students knew what the radio station was, most could not say they ever went out of their way to listen.
“I knew it existed because I lived on Academy for a while and the building was right there,” senior Dylan Leh says.
But Leh had no experience listening to WVUD before, and this was much of the same from other students asked around campus.
Students interviewed seemed to have the lowest awareness of STN 49. When asked for ideas on how to make them more interested in a university television station, students had a few interesting ones.
Sophomore Mariah Mallis suggests that STN 49 could give students “a rundown of what’s happening” to keep them informed, similar to WVUD.
Another common idea was to implement comedic programming, such as skits or sketch comedy.
However, such a show already exists. The Biweekly Show, premiering live every other Tuesday on STN 49, has been popular on the station for many years.
From all the interviews, there seems to be some disconnect when it comes to student awareness of university media. Whether this is the fault of the media outlets or the students is unknown, but both could probably do better.