SCANiversary: David Watson

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

1996-1998, I ran for editor which was a Full Time Officer role at the time but came in second.

What was SCAN like while you were here?

These were pre-internet days, so it was completely paper-based. It was pretty chaotic – this is when it was pretty tabloid style. You never needed to come up with a headline, it would never be tabloid enough for Stuart, the editor at the time.

What are some of your favourite SCAN memories?

Standing for editor actually, it was a great experience. For hustings, all of us running knew each other and a lot of the comments throughout were very tongue in cheek, which must have left the audience thinking what is going on with these guys. My favourite story I ever wrote was one that actually won a SCAN Award for Best Sports Story which was a proud moment. A friend of mine, Stef, had attempted to try out for the football team and been barred on gender grounds. She was good enough to play for the men’s football team and wanted to. She was telling me about it one night and I thought, there’s a story in this. I ended up going all the way to the Football Association and finding the bit of Association regulation that specifically bars women over a certain age from playing organized football with men. I, of course, whipped up a controversy around it, which was great fun, and caused no end of trouble for the University Authorities, and got a great story as a result. Now as I said, Stuart loved tabloid headlines and this ended up with “Cartmel Soccer Sex Shocker”.

What has SCAN meant in terms of your career?

The biggest skill SCAN gave me and I think still gives writers is it makes you learn to write in another style. Instead of just the traditional academic style you develop other tools and that is so important in careers. We get graduate scheme workers who still write like it’s a paper they’re turning in, and when you’re handing a brief to the Prime Minister she doesn’t want a long, overcomplicated formal paper, she wants it to be concise and clear. You can use first person and opinion, and that switching around of writing styles is such an important thing SCAN teaches students.

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