‘Interaction with college officials or student bodies can also be helpful. Internet can be used as a general tool, but relying cent percent on it isn’t an intelligent decision”
The massive upsurge in digital mediums for dissemination of campus news and information has caught the attention of many students. Student-run portals and media houses are integral to this since their core functioning caters to the needs of students, providing instant access to campus events and information.
Every year, many students suffer due to lack of information from official sources. During admission season, many queries by applicants are not answered satisfactorily by helplines within a stipulated timeframe.
Bachelor of journalism and mass communication student at Kamala Nehru College Kaveri Arora said: “The helpdesk and the enquiry service run by the official body of Delhi University is prone to technical glitches and is too slow. Moreover, with the huge number of students on campus, it is practically impossible to pay personal attention to all the queries. Hence, a dire need for such avenues emerges, as they report about all University happenings and address all kinds of doubts that students have.”
Jaskirat Singh, a management student at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, launched a mobile application — DU360 — three weeks ago after he felt that students needed access to truckloads of information, which is being generated every minute, but the medium has to be instantaneous. Hence, he found it best to develop an app which is reasonably small in size, but efficiently disseminates information on a large scale.
“ With the use of smartphones on a rise, creating an app, which will get downloaded and loyal users, is the key. My app received over 100 downloads in a week and 13,000 likes in a span of two weeks on its social media page.”
In the last two years, many small organisations with a humongous subscriber base have been brought to the mainstream, making the information pot expansive. While abundance of sources means greater amount of information for the ‘info seekers’, it also increases the possibility of false and unauthentic data being circulated, which can greatly affect the choices and decisions of those relying on it. Many websites and applications are money-minting machines and might not care for authenticity or quality of information, just for large scale delivery.
University Express (UE) is Delhi University’s prominent youth media network which talks about the latest happenings, news, information and gossip, connecting as many as 1.5 lakh visitors a month, through their columns online and in print.
“UE serves thousands of students when it comes to providing information and addressing doubts. Whatever news or a report is published, the credibility is checked and the source verified. Only then it is made available to the public”, said UE Editor Suhani Arora, who currently heads a mighty team of 78.
Besides DU’s official website, their sources for reference are big established dailies and the feedback/comments/views from students and teachers to establish trust among the consumers.
DU Beat, another popular student-run newspaper with an interface of 60 students across campus, provides comprehensive news and event coverage through a weekly issue in print and an online presence that boasts of as many as 90,000 followers and half a million visitors.
DU Beat director Dhaval Gupta said: “Besides providing campus-related information, we provide subscribers the option of reading all kinds of articles. Our selection process is strenuous, with screenings and training sessions with veterans in the field.”
However, engineering student and active blogger Yamini isn’t grumbling too much as long as it brings forth authentic information and instantaneous updates on the go.
“I rely on applications and websites for their spontaneity and easy access. But it is difficult to ensure credibility because of the ease with which such applications and websites pop up on the Internet.”
She added that interaction with college officials or student bodies can also be helpful. Internet can be used as a general tool, but relying cent percent on it isn’t an intelligent decision.
On the flipside, many students believe that it is a very fast emerging and lucrative market. While the plethora of virtual fora increase competition, they also deliver innovative content to consumers at the same time. It is giving birth to entrepreneurs, writers, marketers, designers and artists, since every student today is an opportunity seeker who is interning at professional platforms to attain the practical knowledge and exposure the education system fails to provide. Even before they actually begin to work as full-time professionals, the students, through these platforms, attain adequate experience in order to carve a niche for themselves in the future.