SCAN needs an Independent editor

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Bailrigg FM and LA1:TV are expanding further than ever before into the daily lives of students, chronicling your experiences here at Lancaster, whether it’s the post-match interview during Roses or that embarrassing footage of you dancing the Gangnam Style on Sugar TV. Composed entirely of volunteers, they are the only truly student-run media outlets on campus. What sets us apart from SCAN is that it is edited by a paid Full-Time Officer of the Union.

We receive a great deal of assistance from the Student’s Union, especially from the Vice President for Media & Communications. However, the day to day running of our stations is undertaken by the Management structures. SCAN does have an editorial team of students, yet the physical job of editing the newspaper is taken by the Vice President. In comparison, the roles of Station Manager at both Bailrigg and LA1 are not becoming any less demanding, but remain un-paid, internally elected positions, and as the workload has increased, the solution has been to expand the management teams, something SCAN will have to adapt to.

Editing a newspaper is an incredibly time-consuming enterprise and should not be an executive responsibility of a Full Time Officer. The Officer for Activities does not give every team talk before every sports match. The Officer for Democracy doesn’t sit and count all of the votes. Available to them are full-time staff at LUSU or student officers who are fully capable of doing this job. So why should the Officer for Media be checking for spelling mistakes and adjusting the margins when we have perfectly capable student journalists who would benefit from this experience? The relationship Bailrigg and LA1 enjoy with our VP is healthy and constructive, and SCAN would be on the same level and receive the same assistance.

It is a positive step to ensuring that the role of VP M&C is not pigeon holed into requiring candidates to have had a close connection with SCAN, rather than the skills and variety of experiences that better suits them to the broader role of media, communications, and if the reforms go ahead, democracy.

SCAN should become independent, funded by LUSU yet self-regulating, in a similar model to LA1 and Bailrigg, with the flexibility to positively promote the Union and University without becoming a mouthpiece. We are communication tools for the students, not the Student’s Union. And if we can trust Bailrigg and LA1 with independence, why can’t we trust SCAN?

We hope that it will have many positive implications to bring greater balance to Student Media at the Union. While LA1 and Bailrigg are increasingly supporting each other in terms of events, projects and coverage, SCAN have been largely separate and it would be good to bring them back into this fold. No one media format is any more influential or important than the other and the role of the Vice President for Media & Communications, or whatever it becomes, is to preserve the importance of all three as the prime sources of news and entertainment on campus.

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