Cue newspaper, which has informed and infuriated festival patrons for 30 years, has folded – not into an origami bird exactly but its pages are being folded up into an altered media form due to land soon on a screen near you.
A new digital journalism project, CueMedia, has been established to converge all the strengths of traditional media and to streamline their expenses. Drastic cuts in Cue’s traditional sources of funding compelled publisher Brian Garman to re-imagine how Cue might cover NAF in 2017 and beyond.
“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,” said Garman.
As a result, the 2017 festival will be the first since 1987 without the daily “Cue! Cue for you!” in paper form – and the first to benefit from comprehensive and converged coverage by the multiple mediums of its online presence.
The new project, which will feature some of the old print favourites like the fringe clips and other reviews, previews and commentary, will also integrate photography, video and audio, available 24 hours a day to readers with internet access.
Another feature will be the potential for audience feedback. “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,” Garman adds.
CueMedia will be managed by digital media lecturer Kayla Roux, previously editor of CueOnline. “I’m really excited to explore some of the new ways we can work with artists and festival-goers to enrich their festival experience,” she said.
Roux will be collaborating with arts editor Miles Keylock, an arts and culture journalist with two decades of experience writing and editing.
Said Keylock: “How can Cue media contribute to South Africa’s 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 a speculative critical poetics of the material reality of cultural production in 2017.”
CueMedia continues as a project of the university’s School of Journalism and Media Studies which aims to fulfil the dual mission of the original Cue: to offer “real world” editorial experience to journalism students and to serve South Africa’s arts and culture communities and audiences.