Whenever I saw The Dongguk Post piled on the corners of several campus buildings, I thought "Oh, it's good that we have an English campus magazine." But this thought of mine didn't lead me to pick any up and read. I always felt that I was too busy to read the magazine. This may be more or less the same with many of the students on campus.
When I was asked to write a "Monitoring" column, I opened the last issue and read through the pages. This magazine was better than I expected considering that it was made by amateur college students. Most topics of the articles were interesting and the layout was also good to see with several related photos and graphics. While I was browsing through the magazine, it suddenly hit me that, "This could be used as a reading material for our students who wanted to improve their English." I've known that we've had this kind of English magazine at Dongguk University for a while, but I've never thought of recommending this magazine to the students of my English classes. This made me think that it is more urgent to find ways of getting more readers rather than to find any journalistic problems in the magazine. It's also beyond my capacity because I don't have a good critical eye on journalism.
What should we do to attract more readers? How can we make the Post become a familiar part of the students' campus life? I'm sure that most students have the desire to improve their English skills, but there are very few who read the Post as one way of getting used to English. I think we need more efforts from inside and outside the magazine to increase the readers.
To make the Post more attractive, it might help to add more entertaining elements and articles containing students' direct interests. The topics of the last issue were quite interesting but most of them were too heavy and serious. I couldn't find any stuff for entertainment except a puzzle and a cartoon on the last page. The only article which reflected students' own interests was the cover story, "On-line learning." Another example found from a different issue was about the dormitory problem. Such topics reflecting students' urgent interests will surely help expand the range of the readers.
In my opinion, the effort from outside the magazine is more important than those matters inside the magazine. However good a magazine may be, it would be meaningless if it is not read among the students who are supposed to be the main readers. You can come up with some ideas for catching students' eyes with a little effort. For example, you may post a separate advertising paper when there's a special event like English Essay Contest. If it's a rare occasion, you may create other occasions to advertise, like awarding prizes for finding errors from the Post. Or you could visit the teachers of English courses to ask to introduce the Post as a way of getting them to improve their English. I believe reading a lot of English papers or magazines is one of the best ways to strengthen your English ability. I hope the Dongguk Post will play a significant role in enhancing the general students' English ability on this campus.
Hwang Young-suk firstname.lastname@example.org
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