SCANiversary: Lizzie Houghton

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How long were you with SCAN, and what roles did you hold?

I was there 2008-2011. My first year I was News Editor, then Assistant Editor, and between my second and third years of University I ran for Editor, which at the time was a Full Time Officer role.

What changed at SCAN during your time?

It had just started to shift away from the tabloid style, the acronym actually changed to Student Comment And News my first year. When I became editor I started the interviews for section editors, trying to get people who weren’t already involved in SCAN into editor roles. People had been complaining that SCAN took itself too seriously, so as editor I introduced Carolynne – which was an actual pull out at the time. We chose the name from the magazine that had run in the 60’s to help it tie in with SCAN and Lancaster’s history. During my time there we also had a separate Investigations Team, which helped divide up the News section. It was the best of the best in terms of News writers, and they really pushed boundaries. We investigated security on campus, trying to break into University House. We ran a scandal on the Head of Security, with information we got from staff like Porters. We spent a lot of time cultivating sources in the local unions, staff, people whose stories weren’t easily told.

What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in SCAN, either during your time or after?

The transition from having a Full Time Officer role for editor to having a student editor has had tremendous impact. While it can help to separate Student Media from the Student’s Union, it has also limited the information and access SCAN can get. The jury is still out on if it’s a good thing in the long run. A big part of our democracy comes from the ability to speak back to power, which comes from the media as much as it does referendums, good democracy and good journalism are tied together.

What are some of your favourite SCAN memories?

Honestly looking back, just how fun it was. I had a group who was really close, who had come up through SCAN together and really had a vision for it. We loved being in SCAN, but we loved the idea of SCAN. Questioning FTOs, Vice Chancellors, trying to find stories that were interesting to students, you were never bored. Covering the fees protests in November, 2010 was incredible. We did a naked calendar as a fundraiser, which is still quite funny. The “Bar Wars” series we ran which was just so much fun with the headlines.

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