The ‘Big Three’ media is a flawed concept

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One day, it was decided that the role of SCAN Editor should be tacked on to the remit of the LUSU Vice President (Media and Communications).

And so was born the ‘Big Media Three’ – SCAN, LA1 TV and Bailrigg FM. Each has its own unique character, and the work of Bailrigg FM and LA1 TV has skyrocketed in terms of their capabilities and quality of output.

SCAN, as a result, has begun to stick out like a sore thumb. If the heads of LA1 TV and Bailrigg FM are students, then why does the SCAN Editor get to be a paid officer of the union? There needs to be ‘Equality Between Medias’, right?

Well, the affirmative comes on the basis that you think equality means making things a mirror image of one another.

Bailrigg FM and LA1 TV can afford to be – with Bailrigg FM, excluding event planning, you have all the equipment and all you need is for people to show up for the broadcasted content to be coherent. With SCAN, if the editor isn’t in the office and constantly on call, accountable for every article and deadline, then we have a problem.

It was argued, at Union Council, that a VP Activities needn’t watch every single sporting team they oversee, ergo, the Media and Comms head needn’t spend their time trawling through every sentence in SCAN.

Suggesting a management structure on the basis that it works elsewhere is stuffing square pegs into round holes, and I would respectfully posit that there are subtle differences between editing a forty page bi-weekly newspaper and managing campus clubs and societies.

Not coaching every sports team on campus doesn’t put the department at risk of inconsistency, inaccuracy, overall coherence or lack of individual judgement. Or getting sued.

There is also the silly emphasis on ‘increasing SCAN’s independence’, a flawed concept on many levels. If someone is elected to run the newspaper of the students’ union, then that editor is accountable to LUSU. Any semblance of independence is superficial if the plug can be pulled by LUSU at any point.

Even so, LUSU needs to ask itself if its best interests lie in pretending one of its most powerful assets is independent. SCAN, when used well, strikes the balance between remaining critical of its union whilst also promoting its campaigns and initiatives. If an ‘independent’ editor exercises their editorial right to tell LUSU to sod off, then what is the union left with? ‘Squeak’?

All of this boils down to a Vice President having more time to focus on communications and ‘The Big Three’, but maybe SCAN has no place in this conglomorate.

Maybe our print media shouldn’t be categorised in the same way our broadcast media is. Primarily, Bailrigg FM and LA1 TV need creative minded, interesting individuals, and they are deployed wonderfully well. While interesting and creative writers are ideal for Carolynne, our pull-out magazine, SCAN is currently desperately short of student journalists, with a knowledge of university politics and the wherewithal to be left alone with a major story. In our last issue, we published 13 news articles. 11 of them were written by members of the editorial collective. Bailrigg FM and LA1 TV do not suffer from being marketed the way they are, but SCAN, in my humble opinion, does.

And maybe, just maybe, the role of SCAN editor wouldn’t be far better suited elsewhere in our full time officer structure…

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