Online and Independent - How Student E-zines Influence Trends in the Youth Market.

South Africa has found itself in the midst of a talented and creative generation known as the “millennials”. Fresh, innovative and charismatic, these 21st century young bloods scout the freshest trends and equip their arsenal with social media as the ultimate digital platform for market exposure - and it’s working.
In the wide basin of South Africa’s youthful creative prowess, the advent of the E-zine took online journalism in South Africa to the next level. Packaged into a downloadable PDF format, these E-zines are easily accessible to anyone connected to the internet. Impressive, especially when we see students spearheading publications of a remarkable industry standard and many worthy of a few Pulitzers. These independent student-based releases generally cover the latest in art, music and culture, although a couple have niched their way into their respective markets by zoning in on highly specific themes. The spectacle of design execution and highly engaging content radically brings in Facebook likes and shares, accumulates retweets and favourites on Twitter and gains a large number of “lump dump double taps” on Instagram.

Nonetheless, the coverage sparks a continuation of readership. Highlighting upcoming bands, DJ sets and events at local bars and clubs is a method of directly infiltrating generation Y’s lust for keeping up with the electro/indie scene. Exposing new acts and generating genuine Q & A’s reveal insights into the lives of artists, photographers and designers. These hot and flaring topics travel on the same routes that trends do - as photography exhibitions, music genres and design preferences keep on adapting themselves to suit the popularity and reach. These trending influences are quickly presented to the youth in a reader-friendly, multi-platform manner and help to spread the word of “what’s hot & not” into student communities - after all, pop culture, branding and trends are based on what the the younger markets decide to set!

Marketing student E-zines is a vital element of brand awareness and is a commentary on how putting a name to a face is necessary to any kind of media-based awareness. The frameworks of design, writing and multimedia are crafted to artisanal perfection and tada - we have a brand! The fact that a group of undergraduates can work together to bring out, facilitate and keep relevant a piece of consistent communication is a reflection of the talent that young South Africans - and we can all learn from their communal working efforts.
A couple of student hubs in South Africa can boast a claim of fame for showcasing a slice of their own independent media for the public to engage with. Specifically in Grahamstown, home to Rhodes University and the only city in South Africa where most of it’s residents are students, E-zines Archetype and Ja have taken the reign on the exposé urban culture, local music, social media, art, photography, student-based interests, co-branding initiatives and cultural synergy.
The Grahamstown hub is gateway for trending experimentation and the socio-cultural landscape delivers a unique and highly diversified appeal to connect and engage with the student market.

Interested in how mediums of communication can help to neutralise a point of view? Read how call-in radio stations are doing just that!
Contributed by Cameron Smith

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