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Despite being fairly young, our university can boast of a great heritage, an excellent academic standard, which has allowed us to climb up the league tables, and an active and engaged community of students from various backgrounds. One pillar of this community – SCAN turns 50 this year. Established only three years after the university itself, SCAN has been a part of the student life ever since.
The paper’s history as originally a part of the Student Union, and its subsequent distancing from it for the sake of independence and integrity shows the road of dedicated individuals, committed to bringing forward a publication which can proudly claim a professional standard of writing. With its many sections, open to each student who is eager to share their voice, SCAN is a staple in campus life, be it in print, or online.
Last year, during the Lancaster University Media Summit, hosted by LUSU, members of the SCAN team had the unique opportunity to be addressed by Lancaster alumni, Niall Couper – the head of media at Amnesty International, demonstrating only part of what can be achieved after leaving the halls of the university. He spoke fondly of his time writing for SCAN, and the thrill of breaking an interesting story, and the importance of ethical journalism and journalistic values.
There is a lot to say about the importance of this anniversary. SCAN has made waves as an example of student journalism in the UK, having won multiple awards, and having broken stories that have received national coverage. It’s a paper that often features head-to head articles on the same page, giving a voice to all parts of the student body, displaying the many layers of Lancaster students, and bringing forward the kind of content that anyone might find interesting. For years, SCAN has been evolving, and catching up with new practices, new ideas, new ways to be more far reaching, more accessible, more diverse.
There might be students tempted to dismiss SCAN as something you’d do to pad your CV out, writing a few articles here and there, but the truth is, each and every student who has contributed to SCAN has contributed to part of this university’s history. By adding a title that they’re interested in, and putting their name behind it, they’ve put their name behind the idea that each opinion is valid, and that every voice matters, that there is no wrong way to be an independent critical thinker, and that there is a long line of students who have dedicated time and energy to build this paper into what it is today, and to give us this opportunity.
All of us who write for SCAN now, have the right to be immensely proud that we participate in that heritage, and are a part of a platform that gives Lancaster students a voice. We are paving the way for new stories, new students, new ideas, who join after us to have the same opportunity to make themselves heard, and we are part of a bright array of SCAN contributors who have left a lasting imprint on the paper, and the university community.