End of era as Cue forgoes print version

For the first time in 30 years National Arts Festival-goers will have to make do without a printed Cue newspaper.

The publication goes digital, transformed into a new journalism project called CueMedia.

The change is an attempt to bring together the strengths of traditional media and streamline expenses.

Cue was pioneered by the late editor of the Daily Dispatch, Gavin Stewart, who was at the time head of the Rhodes journalism and media studies department.

According to a statement released by the festival’s Fringe Office, the new project will feature some of the old print favourites, like fringe clips and other reviews.

Readers will also be able to access previews, commentary, photography, video and audio, all available 24 hours a day.

The new format will now also allow for audience feedback.

According to publisher Brian Garman, the change is due to drastic funding cuts from Cue’s traditional funding sources, which forced him to look at new ways to cover the National Arts Festival (NAF) from this year onwards.

“It is very sad that after 30 years we have had to close what has often been called the longest running show at the festival.

“Funding constraints have meant that we can no longer afford to print the paper, but like many other newspapers that have faced this problem we are going ahead with Cue – just in digital form,” Garman said.

“One of the most thrilling prospects of interactive digital media is its potential for the audiences to interact with the content and give their own opinions.”

CueMedia will be managed by digital media lecturer Kayla Roux, previously editor of CueOnline.

She will be collaborating with arts editor Miles Keylock, an arts and culture journalist with two decades of experience writing and editing.

“I’m really excited to explore some of the new ways we can work with artists and festival-goers to enrich their festival experience,” Roux said, with Keylock exploring ways in which CueMedia can contribute to the national discourse on race, class or gender in a significant way.

“For starters, by taking an ideological position. By embracing the emancipatory possibilities of the discourse of arts and culture critique itself. By challenging the digital age of anxiety’s celebration of mediocrity with speculative critical poetics of the material reality of cultural production in 2017.”

CueMedia will remain as a project in the university’s school of journalism and media studies, which aims to fulfil the dual mission of the original Cue: offering “real world” editorial experience to journalism students and to serve arts and culture communities. — zisandan@dispatch.co.za

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