Zimpapers, in partnership with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), recently held a media innovation challenge in Bulawayo to come up with a strategy for repositioning uMthunywa newspaper.
The partnership, which saw journalism and media studies students pitching ideas on how to reposition uMthunywa which falls under the Zimpapers stable, is part of the group's corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Winning teams walked away with cash prizes and shields sponsored by Zimpapers.
Group public relations and corporate affairs manager Ms Beatrice Tonhodzayi said the partnership came at a time when the media giant was seeking to engage in mutually beneficial partnerships with media training institutions.
"We are the biggest and the best when it comes to media business. Just look at where we are now; we are found across all the media platforms namely newspapers, radio, television and digital.
"It only makes sense that we do our part to invest in students studying journalism who may be our future employees at Zimpapers. By so doing, the media fraternity will not die as we continue supporting new players and young creative minds that are preparing to come into the industry.
"Journalists here at Zimpapers passed through these institutions; hence as a company we realised the importance of engaging universities to tap into the students' innovative ideas."
Ms Tonhodzayi applauded NUST for coming up with media innovation challenge.
"NUST has done well by coming up with such a brilliant initiative. It shows commitment and hard work.
"This will give students room to become creative in their studies and even after their studies, at the same time giving our organisation an opportunity to take advantage of the rich ideas and talents of journalism students in solving some of our needs as a media organisation," she said.
NUST strategic communications consultant and lecturer, Mr Thandolwenkosi Nkomo, said the competitions were part of the Media Economics module for second year students.
"I realised that there was need to impart and enhance innovation skills in my students so that they are able to meet the needs of media organisations in the country.
"Zimpapers, as the leading media organisation in the country, was an ideal partner on the strength of its reputation and broad base of media products. The competition will be held annually and we hope that we shall have an opportunity to work with all the Zimpapers brands.
"The group has provided floating shields to push us through the next few years and we are open to work with different partners to enable collaborative partnerships to enhance learning and development of media practices and industries," he said.
Mr Nkomo said the media innovation challenge was an opportunity for media organisations to take advantage of the skills and knowledge of journalism and media studies' students in solving media product research.
"The competition focused on uMthunywa newspaper and the students were tasked to draw up a brand repositioning strategy for the publication.
"We believe that we can reinstate the publication as one of the most popular and favoured media products in the southern region," he added.
Chairperson of the department of Journalism and Media Studies at NUST, Mr Thabani Mpofu, encouraged students and industry to work together to churn out proficient students.
UMthunywa editor Gugulethu Ncube said students had presented brilliant strategies that were likely to change the face of the publication going forward.