Entertainment Media is a fascinating subject. It’s very different from the brand of journalism created by our friends at The Chronicle. Many people would argue that it’s far more frivolous, that it doesn’t have the same social responsibility. That with all of the calamities and important stories going on there are better things to discuss than sports or music. I’ve often wondered, with so much work that needs to be done in our world, am I really choosing to make a difference by making entertainment?
I believe, though, that creating entertainment requires just as much social responsibility as journalism. It certainly has just as much social impact, if not more. And I realized this as I sought out my own reason for loving this industry so much. I used to say it was the intersection of art and technology that drove me to entertainment, and that’s still true. But in my time working at The Geekwave and attending this university, I’ve realized that’s not the whole story. The big “Why” for my love of entertainment is that entertainment spawns community.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to put this into words. A community surrounding entertainment is literally the definition of a fandom, something we know a lot about here at The Geekwave. It’s been a goal of K-UTE Radio and The Geekwave for as long as I’ve been around. It’s the goal of any entertainment creator; although they may use more sterile terms like “growing audience” or “encourage engagement”. But at its core, it’s something very personal that you’re creating: a community of people that are brought together over a common love. And it’s powerful. Reddit is full of stories of people coming to the aid of strangers in their fandom. People who are literally connected by the entertainment they enjoy.
In my four years participating in and leading K-UTE Radio and The Geekwave, I’ve seen amazing things happen. We got to reach out to local artists and give them venues to showcase their work. We’ve had local business owners champion our cause and help us make connections in the community. We’ve offered our skills to the University and other student groups to create great experiences on campus. We assisted with the first Crimson Gaming events, an organization that would pave the way for the U’s Varsity Esports. We were a sponsor and organizer for the charity event Respawn Ready. We’ve given people and organizations trying to make a difference a place where they could speak to the world. We started out as a loosely joined group of shows trying to build our own small communities. We became to two large teams of people working together to support and build the communities that were already there.
But there’s one community that we created that I think may be the most powerful: The Student Media Team. I will never forget the passionate students that found a home here. I’ll never forget watching nervous freshmen who thought radio might be fun become creators and leaders. I’ll never forget watching students of different backgrounds become friends and teammates over their desire to work hard and make something together. We have had students come in with a story to tell or a message to convey and we’ve given them a microphone and a podcast. We’ve had geeks who love to gush about their favorite things and we’ve taught them to put their passion on paper. We’ve built brands, we’ve built websites, we’ve built makeshift studios and publishing schedules and individual portfolios and leaders. But most of all, we’ve built a family.
I’ll consider myself a part of this family for the rest of my life, and I know that I’ll always be welcome back at University of Utah Student Media. Thank you to every person who made these four years the greatest experience of my life. And good luck to Gustavo Cordeiro, Geoff Sutyak, and Lee Neuschwander as they lead our Entertainment Media into the future.
Jarom “Solar” Norris has been the Executive Producer of The Geekwave since he started it three years ago. He also was the Station Manager for K-UTE Radio for the past two years. If you’d like to keep following Solar and his projects, check him out on Twitter or at his website http://jarom.solar