Exclusive. Not something people can get to see and do every day. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
These were just some of the sentiments expressed by the 120 Diploma in Mass Communication (DMC) students and staff that embarked on an immersive journey at Changi Naval Base, as part of the annual Media Camp.
Held from October 2 to 3, the programme aims to provide first-year DMC students with a glimpse into the media industry through industry leader talks. They were also given the chance to work on realistic problem statements that not only allows them to apply what they learnt last semester in a fun manner, but also boost their portfolio for a career as media practitioners after graduation.
For this year’s rendition of Media Camp, students were challenged to craft a content package comprising digital content including a TikTok video that reaches out to polytechnic students, and elevating the perception of careers in the RSN among their peers. All within a tight 36-hour window.
While it seemed like a tall order, the students were not thrown into the deep end of the pool without support.
Ms Roan Ebrahim, Regional Business Director at MullenLowe Singapore – the communications agency supporting RSN – shared her tips on ideation and tackling the brief in the morning. She encouraged students to think out of the box, leverage trends and go with ideas that made them uncomfortable.
A second-year student leader was also attached to each hackathon team to facilitate brainstorming.
Shipped to Changi Naval Base
After the morning’s briefing, some students were then transported to Changi Naval Base, where they were given special permission to board the RSS Steadfast and witness the intricacies of naval operations first-hand. While onboard, they visited areas such as the ship’s living and dining quarters, as well as the Bridge overlooking the navigation systems and impressive guns.
They also toured the Combat Information Centre (CIC), where the main warfighting efforts take place. It was here that students were briefed on the frigate’s capabilities, weapons, and how the different team clusters within the CIC work together to achieve mission success.
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Alvin Tan, the head of Navy Recruitment Centre, met the DMC students later at the Navy Museum to share more about the roles and mission of the RSN. He also listed out the various vocations and benefits that RSN applicants could set their sights on post-graduation, among other insights that came in handy for the teams when piecing their content package together after the visit.
Letting the pitches set sail
Filled with creative zeal, teams devised innovative ideas almost immediately upon returning back to campus. These ideas ranged from collaborations with global giants like Nike, Lego and McDonalds, with some including some unconventional partnerships with brands like Crocs and Subway.
After much time spent ideating, the teams finalised their content packages and got the chance to pitch their solutions to the RSN clients and MullenLowe representatives.
The TikTok videos drew numerous laughs from the judges, who were impressed by everyone’s submissions but had to overcome the challenging task of picking the winners.
Four teams eventually emerged as winners, clinching the top prizes in the following categories: Best Overall Content Package, Best TikTok Video, Best Digital Content, and Best Partnership Idea.
On the students’ presentation LTC Tan said: “I could see the enthusiasm in all of you, the interest and the spark, and hope you all continue throughout your journey to show that same level of enthusiasm.”
Reflecting on this experience, Chua Renee Jasmine Gerolaga, a first-year DMC student, shared her takeaway: “I felt that it (the problem statement) was pretty relevant to the objectives of the camp. With limited resources given, it required us to delve deeper and hone our research and investigative skills to understand the client better. This was exactly what I was looking for.”
Media Camp 2023 not only fulfilled DMC’s mission of providing hands-on experience, but also highlighted the power of truth and creativity in the journalism and marketing fields. Ms Ebrahim from MullenLowe shared: “When it comes to journalism and marketing, the truth is a very powerful device. For journalism, it’s the core of what you write. For marketing, it’s the foundation of being more creative.”
The success of Media Camp and the collaboration between Republic Polytechnic and an industry partner like the RSN – which granted the exclusive visit to RSS Steadfast – demonstrates faculty’s dedication to experiential learning.
The programme also showcases the dynamic synergy between classroom learning and real-life application, ensuring that the following generation of media practitioners is prepared to navigate the uncharted waters of their chosen fields.