By Donell Edwards, Founder & Publisher, The College World Reporter
In December 2008, The College World Reporter (CWR) student empowerment magazine was born from the idea to provide a newsletter with information for a small group of students at a local technical college.
As founder of The CWR, I immediately recognized the much greater opportunity to develop the newsletter into an empowerment magazine to help prepare college and university students to successfully make the transition from college into the various careers of their choice. That is still the primary mission of The CWR.
Using digital media has made this all possible. It would have been too cost prohibitive for me to use any other media platform and achieve our goals. I wanted to offer the publication at no cost to subscribers, because The CWR was not developed as a commercial enterprise, but to empower students, and digital media has been the solution for us.
Since we have no source of revenue there are no advertisers, sponsors, foundations, government agencies, or benefactors of any kind providing funding. All of the expenses incurred are my responsibility, and I gladly volunteer my time and resources. However, still, without digital media it would not be possible for The CWR to exist.
I also want to acknowledge the wonderful support and outstanding contributions of our team of approximately 20 writers from various professional disciplines, who so graciously volunteer their time and freely offer their advice each month for our readers. A session with many of these experts as a client to receive the counsel and advice readers receive for free in The CWR would cost hundreds of dollars. However, due to the fact that these incredible individuals share the same passion as I do to empower students, they willingly contribute their time, knowledge, and benefits of their experience in their columns each month.
In addition to being cost effective, another advantage of digital media is in distribution. It is very costly to send materials through the mail or by other means, and these are in addition to the cost of printing and packing. If vendors are used to sell through various stores or retail outlets they must be paid. This all becomes a very, very expensive enterprise. On the other hand, delivery of digital media is done over the Internet for almost nothing, it is immediate and eliminates many of the disadvantages of distribution by mail or other means.
A sometimes overlooked advantage of digital media is the physical space required to store print publications. My daughter is in fashion design school and subscribes to a number of print publications and does not have enough room for all of these magazines that she uses in her studies. However, using an iPad eliminates that problem. So, storage of digital media publications is simple and does not require the physical space of print publications.
I would like to make it clear that this article is not an indictment against print media, which is still very popular with many readers, including some who read digital media. This article is my endorsement of digital media as a viable source for anyone interested in starting their own publication and is intended to be a revelation of the many, many advantages of using digital media.
It should also be noted that as The CWR evolves we will be utilizing a more sophisticated form of digital media that simulates for the reader the experience of reading a print magazine. We plan to launch our new digital version in early 2012, but you can take a look at the prototype at this link, http://cwrmag.wordpress.com.
Another great feature of digital media is the opportunity to have immediate access to a global audience with global distribution. At The CWR we are developing an international corps of reporters, many of whom are students from Brazil, China, Nigeria, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, and other countries. Through these international reporters readers in America learn about their cultures and people, and the further work of The CWR in bringing people of different cultures in America and from around the world together is accomplished.
A powerful tool made possible through digital media, especially for students and researchers, is the ability to include links to sources and similar articles, which allows readers to cross-reference and validate what they are reading and conduct research quickly and with much less effort and investment of time than using traditional sources.
There is also much greater flexibility with digital media which allows the use of embedded video to bring stories to life, and utilizing social media networking sources like Facebook and Twitter significantly expands the reach of small publications to a greater audience.
One of the limitations of The CWR, which has absolutely nothing to do with digital media, is the fact that we chose to be a non-commercial publication, which does not allow us to market and promote our work the way that we should in order to help empower more students. So we take this opportunity to ask everyone reading this article to visit our website at http://www.CWRMagOnline.com and evaluate our work, and we hope that you will see the value to students and anyone else who is interested in the welfare of students. Then we ask that you spread the word about the work that we are doing and encourage students, parents, educators, and anyone interested in student empowerment to get a FREE subscription to The CWR at http://tinyurl.com/SubscribeToCWR.
Digital media is an incredibly remarkable method of disseminating news and information because of its enormous reach and immediacy, cost effectiveness, many distribution advantages, almost unlimited tools and resources, and simplicity.