It’s been a good month for True Love magazine. The magazine’s latest ABC results show a three percent year-on-year growth. And now it has launched a website, for the first time, with a dedicated digital editor who is taking multimedia journalism to the readers.
“Our digital team will work hand in hand with the print team to provide a deep and interactive insight into the topics we cover, including showing how our teams go about sourcing South Africa’s most relevant stories, fashion and food features,” says editor Lerato Tshabalala. “The online medium is the perfect place to get conversations going, and we’re looking forward to chatting to our readers in real time to find out more about what the love the magazine, and what they would like to see in it in the future.”
TheMediaOnline asked digital editor, Nomfundo Makhubu, to explain the thinking behind the mgazine’s new multimedia offering.
An example, she says, would be her following fashion editor Palesa Mahlaba as she “sources items for fashion shoots, filming her top finds as she works through South Africa’s best kept retail secrets”, says Makhubu. Another is filming behind the scenes at parties and shows and events that True Love attends.
Is this the first time True Love has had its own dedicated website?What was the online presence prior to the website launch?
Yes, we had our social media pages running (Facebook and Twitter); they were running six months prior to our website being launched.
Who are some of the bloggers who’ll be featured on the site and why were they chosen?
We haven’t assigned any bloggers space on our website yet but we are definitely looking at introducing that feature in the near future. The blogs would have to be in line with the pillars of our website which are fashion, beauty and lifestyle.
Do you have a mobile app?
The website has also been optimised for mobile use, so readers can engage with it wherever they are.
Who is the digital team and how will they operate to bringing readers fresh content daily?
At the moment the digital team consists of just myself, Nomfundo Makhubu, digital editor. Luckily for us everything we need for web is found on the net, there’s always new content that we can upload news, tips and trends. I also get very nice content from our magazine, stuff that won’t make it into the issue and can be uploaded on the website.
How did you come to do this work?
I was asked by my former boss to manage the social media for the magazine, and I enjoyed it so much that I asked to get involved with the website. I got extensive training from the head of digital and ended up falling in love with digital media.
What skills do you need?
I picked up a manual for After Effects and Final Cut Pro and taught myself how to edit videos, this did not happen over night but it’s something I wanted to learn as I felt well edited videos were a lovely addition to a website. Picture editing is also a nice skill to have, you need to be able to operate web publishing software i.e. wordpress, CMS. Have very good editing skills and know how to make things concise.
Are you comfortable in front of and behind a camera?
I’m more comfortable behind the camera; it may not seem like it but I’m very shy, I love capturing moments.
Where did you learn your interview skills?
I owe a lot of it to my time at Vega The Brand Communications School, that’s where it all began, also my time at Move! And DRUM magazine helped tremendously, I feel there’s still so much more I want to learn.
Where do you see multimedia journalism going?
I see it taking a seat and making itself very comfortable, it’s here to stay and needs a lot of attention. Telecoms Market research released stats that there are currently 610 million mobile subscribers in Africa and estimated to be 735 million by the end of the year. More and more people are getting their news fix from the Web as opposed to the radio and newspaper like before.
We are moving beyond just staying in touch with the devices we operate everyday, we want the world at our fingertips. With smart phones you can take a video wherever you are and put it up on YouTube, you can take a picture and post it on FB or twitter instantly. Exclusivity is not so exclusive anymore, we don’t have to wait for the 7pm news anymore-social media; blogs and websites allow us to discuss and share the news as it breaks. David Dunkley Gyimah’s work really inspires he’s constantly pushing digital media boundaries. I think I’m in love with his brain.
Will you be using user-generated content?
Definitely, it’s something we feel very strongly about, as the site is something that is there to serve the user, we will however monitor content very closely so that the content is not offensive. We will be introducing a section where readers can send in their opinions on news, events or current affairs and have their words published on the site. We have started asking our audience to start sending through pictures of themselves for our web fashion features where they can feel part of the website.
What are the challenges of multimedia journalism?
Competing with social media, people can be distracted easily and become impatient. So one finds oneself having to make content (video, audio, text, images) concise and grabbing.
Years ago it was clear you were either a broadcast or print journalist. Now multimedia journalists find themselves not only writing a feature but supplementing it with video/audio content and then engage the audience by starting conversations on social media. Video and audio are becoming a regular experience and we need to learn how to promote it better. Knowing what is relevant is also a huge challenge and keeping abreast of the constantly changing trends.