It was this time last year that Jago Pearson and I began planting the seeds of The Epinal. I think it’s fair to say we have come a long way since then.
I also think it is very fair to say we had a number of critics. People who felt an independent student newspaper would be unnecessary, overly negative and out to cause trouble.
I like to think we have proven most people wrong with our simple mantra of praising the good, criticising the bad, and, on occasion, exposing the downright awful.
The Epinal continues to work hard to maintain good working relationships with Loughborough Students’ Union, Loughborough University and Loughborough Sport. However, attitudes in Loughborough, in particular towards the press, are still hesitant at best.
Not a single one of the three candidates running to be a 2012/13 Development Officer has made any contact with any member of The Epinal team. Surely a massively missed opportunity?
Similarly, The Epinal’s team is constantly forced into chasing things that, common sense would suggest, it is beneficial for us to know. For example, the Union wins awards but nothing appears on their website until days later, or announcements are placed online without an official (embargoed if necessary) press release.
The university has been more forthcoming. Jago, as Editor-in-chief, had reasonably regular meetings and correspondence with the Chief Operating Officer and the Public Relations office throughout the year. Yes, they always wanted more favourable coverage, and we always asserted our independence, but that’s the way things should be.
It is simple communications practice, beneficial for all parties, which Jago has highlighted previously.
Progress was made with elections when The Epinal and Label both received press releases from the VP Democracy and Communications Ali Cole regarding bans. Athletic Union clubs are also discovering the positive impact coverage on our site can have.
But on the whole, it is my belief that many are still missing the opportunities to get their news and opinions out to what is an ever increasing online readership.
That is not to say The Epinal will start publishing everything and anything. We will always pride ourselves on publishing only the very best news and sport.
Twelve months ago we knew attitudes would need changing and some have. Far more have not.
It is a massive shame that journalists are still regarded with such scepticism throughout Loughborough, unfairly so in my opinion.
I’ll be interested to see whether, with the annual turnover of committee positions throughout halls, clubs, societies, departments and indeed our own editorial team, things begin to develop.
I firmly believe The Epinal has had, and will continue to have, a hugely positive impact on Loughborough University. I look forward to seeing the developments the new team makes and would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported the publication in its first year.
Over and out.