HYPE Goes Digital!
HYPE is merging with npTribune and shifting to the online landscape. To commemorate this milestone, past HYPE editors and key figures share their thoughts on HYPE’s 25 year-long journey.
TAN YAN HUI
July 7, 2020
“HYPE magazine is going digital,” was what we were told. The gravity of these words didn’t fully hit us until we realised we had to build the foundations of HYPE’s new online home from the ground up: domain name, website layout, article designs and everything in between. And it needed to be special; this was a 25-year-old publication we were handling. With such a crucial task in mind, we rolled up our sleeves and cracked on with it to produce an all-new, revamped HYPE magazine jam-packed with new features!
Our most notable change was HYPE’s merger with npTribune. All campus news is now housed under one roof along with lifestyle and entertainment stories. npTribune is now one of five sections, alongside our People, Places, Perspectives and Lifestyle sections. So best believe we have got everything infotainment covered!
Just like how voices online are much louder than in person, we at HYPE want to be more than just the voice of youth, we want to hear YOUR voices. That’s why we’ve brought back the Aunt Agony section from the magazines of yesteryear! From emotional dilemmas to stories of heartbreak, and even your take on social issues, now you can send in your questions and we at HYPE will discuss them with you along with an expert opinion on the subject matter. We’re calling this segment HYPEline! (Get it? Helpline? HYPEline?)
And as if one pun wasn’t enough, our monthly features, just like the one you’re reading now, will be known as HYPElight. (Highlight? HYPElight? You get the gist.) The HYPElight allows the publication to shed light on a central theme by encapsulating the essence of it. Given the volatility of the pandemic-ridden world we live in, along with the massive changes to HYPE, we thought it was only fitting for our first theme to be ‘Metamorphosis’: an abrupt change in life brought about by a force of nature.
“People think it’s easy to publish online. Well, it is and it’s also absolutely not,” said Mr Robin Yee, a senior advisor and lecturer at the School of Film and Media Studies (FMS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP).
Ms Jacqueline Tan, the director of FMS, felt that “it was a natural progression”. “We are talking about being environmentally friendly and conserving resources, printing anything on paper is really not utilising our resources well since there is an online platform available to us,” she said.
Mr Desmond Kon, 49, an ex-associate lecturer at FMS, poet and author, added on to Ms Tan’s point. “Edits can be made right through. Publication can be rapid-quick. The reach is much greater and farther than any print version could ever dream of. And it’s an eco-friendly choice to boot.”
Ng Jing Zhi, 23, the editor for HYPE Issue #43 shared the same sentiment. “One good thing about going online is [future HYPE teams] don’t have to be concerned about finding stories that are relevant half a year from when you start writing it.”
Ng Jing Zhi, 23, was the editor for HYPE Issue #43. Photo courtesy of Ng Jing Zhi.
Adelena Oh, 23, the deputy editor for HYPE Issue #43, agreed with Jing Zhi. “It just seems like a wiser and more efficient road to go so I’m all for HYPE online,” she said.
The switch to online was not always a bed of roses. Many aspects of print publication had to be left behind and in its place, new challenges arose.
“There are also challenging aspects of moving online which print professionals would have to deal with, which is the digital strategy of content,” said Douglas Yong, 26, the deputy editor for HYPE Issue #38.
“When you move online, you have to look at Search Engine Optimization (SEO), how you structure your article [and] what are some of the keywords that you should use in your article,” he elaborated.
Mr Paul Ramani, 61, the former advisor for the npTribune team, felt that the experience of working for a publication will be very different for future batches of students.
“All [marketing, advertising and way of writing] will have to change once it goes online, your way of sharing and your way of projecting will also be very different,” the veteran journalist said.
“That’s not to say that one medium is better than the other. You’ve got to be where your audience is — and for a magazine like HYPE, which is produced by Gen Z-ers for Gen Z-ers, it makes more sense for it to be online.” said Sophie Hong, 28, the art editor for HYPE issue #31.
Sophie Hong, 28, was the art editor for HYPE issue #31. Photo courtesy of Sophie Hong.
Despite the advantages of moving online, some elements of the physical copy will definitely be missed.
Jian Yang Ng, 30, the deputy editor for HYPE Issue #31, said: “I think it will be the lush double-page layouts, I mean it’s just something that you can’t fully replicate in the digital medium. Digital definitely affords its own avenues for creativity when it comes to laying out your content.”
“But there’s just something about seeing a double pager feature in a hard copy that just does it for me, which again is something we will see less and less of moving forward,” said Jian Yang, currently a corporate communications manager at DHL Asia Pacific and EEMEA, who uses his editorial skills from HYPE in his current job.
Sophie also agreed that there is something the online version would not be able to replicate.
“This is not so much for the reader but for the editor — nothing beats the feeling of holding the finished product, the culmination of months of blood, sweat and tears in your hands.“ said Sophie, the former editor at CLEO who was in charge of revamping their physical magazine and oversaw the transition when CLEO went fully-digital.
One of the major challenges the HYPE team faced was redesigning the physical magazine to fit the digital landscape. To solve that problem, we collaborated with Designers Of Tomorrow (DOT), a co-curricular activity from the School of Design and Environment in NP.
On seeing the early prototypes of HYPE, Ms Anita Kuan, the former director of FMS, now deputy principal at Temasek Polytechnic, said: “The design of the title is definitely very contemporary, and the ellipses are a nice touch. I like the fact that it’s been created in collaboration with the Design School, partnerships [are] an integral part of innovation.”
Mr Kon shared her enthusiasm: “Love the clean lines. Very open space that allows design versatility, able to house both serious and light stories. Great promise! Excellent showing!”
Ms Tan showed particular interest in the new HYPE logo. “I like the cutesy pastel colours. It reminded me of the 80s [which was] the period that I grew up in. It is like a look back to the 80s with this colour scheme [and it] is striking enough to define HYPE.”
In summing up her thoughts on HYPE’s journey and its future, Ms Tan aptly said: “It’s a look back, but also a look forward.”