The softer, fuzzier side of campus media

Here we are, right on the edge of the last winter and you can already sense there’s a new one creeping up ahead. It felt like summer was late to start this year anyway. Come to think of it, I can remember feeling like winter started early last year as well. Does it always feel that way? Whatever it is, there’s always an oppressive feeling that accompanies winter in this corner of the world. And now it’s starting to feel like summer is giving up on us. Winter’s just too big and strong.

So I bought a bunny.

If I’m to be a slave to our climate, I’m going to need to cage something more precious than myself. It’s not about spite or control. This desire is for responsibility — it’s for that certain satisfaction that comes from supporting something that needs you. For example, I bought nice puffy bedding yesterday and watched as the bunny stepped gingerly into his cage to explore the soft new linen. He made a few small hops and then ran in a circle. It was rewarding, until he pissed and shat all over the place.

At the same time that I try unsuccessfully to potty train this baby bunny, I prepare for the first issue of the Manitoban for the 2009-10 year. We are trying to prepare contests and events, train new staff, hire new staff (any graphic designers out there?), and generally settle in. With every challenge we learn a little more about the nature of campus media. And as time moves more and more quickly, I find my thoughts on campus media and young bunny life are mixing together in cute, fuzzy ways.

There are a few obvious links: bunny rabbits are relatively little critters like campus media is relatively small; bunnies are to their cages as campus media is to its community; we dress our bunnies’ cages and we are collectively responsible for creating the scenery that surrounds campus media. If these comparisons are stretching your imagination too far, then at least you can imagine this page soaking up urine in some critter’s litter box in the near future. But there’s more to it than that.

Naturally, I want my bunny to thrive; if I can create the right environment for him, he will one day become a happy, successful rabbit. Campus media provides this same milieu for budding designers, writers, broadcasters, and journalists.

Take the Manitoban as an example. In my short time with the paper I have seen staff move on from volunteer to editor and eventually start careers in journalism, communications, and design. The ability to function as a training ground is one of the most important and rewarding qualities that campus media has to offer.

As heartwarming as all of this sounds so far, it’s still potty training. As the baby bunny of the media world, it is to be expected that campus media will take a shit on the floor now and then. But, oh my goodness, you should see Champ — that’s my bunny — playing in his cage right now. He’s pulling his big floppy ears down with his tiny paws. It’s really just too cute. He honestly looks like a little stuffed animal. Yes you do, Champ! Hi bunny-bunny! Want a carrot?

Where was I? Oh yes, shitting ourselves. Yes, we do that sometimes.

People speak ill of media all the time, with good reason. For every good newspaper there are five bad ones. For every high quality magazine there are 10 bad ones. For every intelligent television program, there are 50 trashy ones. The difference with campus media is that, rather than tossing it aside, you can have an immediate individual impact on its quality. There are limitless volunteer opportunities; you can write emails that people will actually respond to; you can send a letter to the editor that will be printed; you can send artwork and become famous. You are not just an audience member; you own the cage.

Now that the year is starting for the Manitoban, we are looking for volunteers of all types. Stop by our office in University Centre to get all the info you could ever need about how to contribute to your paper. Don’t be scared. We are but tiny bunnies looking for carrots amongst the bustle of student life. Watch as we twitch our whiskers at you. Look, we can stand on our hind legs! Adorable, yes?

The point is: we want you to volunteer. We want your perspective to join our pages. If you don’t want to volunteer, write a letter. If you don’t want to write a letter, you can even write a comment on our website. We need an unlimited supply of your input to constantly munch on, or we’ll starve! You are our timothy hay.

Yes, I suppose you are our timothy hay and campus events and such are our condensed timothy hay nuggets. And volunteers are our apples and carrots — treats and stuff. Conferences are like when we wear harnesses and get to go outside and play. And I guess computers and dictionaries and all that are like our interactive rabbit toys. Champ doesn’t really ever play with his interactive rabbit toys though, so that doesn’t work. Well maybe other rabbits are different than Champ. Champ is pretty good though. Such soft fur he’s got.

If you’re interested in connecting with your campus media, send emails to, or stop by our office at 105 University Centre, across from Tim Hortons, behind the GoSA. We would like to thank you in advance for not biting our electrical cords.