For the Love of Student Media: Essex Media Guild Butchered – Dan Leedham

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Essex Media Guild (their beloved LSU Media) is being butchered at the hands of unelected marketing staff.

At Loughborough we have an incredibly strong Media section, made up of four sub-sections each with their own identity and ability to output media: LSUTV, LCR (Radio), Lens (Photos), Label (Magazine/Online journalism). The section sits at the same organisation structural height as Sport, Societies, Rag & Action.

Despite pressure from the most recent rebrand, LSU Media has fought hard to maintain these output sub-sections and have been a much stronger, more student focused outfit because of it. Despite current imperfections in the main media website, content is driven by our amazing sections. This is of course down to an incredible LSU Exec and a testament to how much at LSU we can pressure our staff into doing what’s best for students.

It’s this that Essex unfortunately doesn’t have in such quantity. No consultation, no student leadership, no Union Development. A strong student media is vital to push the work of an SU forward.

A document the size of the BBC Charter could be written explaining the reasons Essex SU staff are making the wrong decision. Each of the three sections have had a pivotal role in students lives, at Essex and across the country.

SX:TV have been a guiding light in the student TV world for years, The Rabbit has broken incredible ground and Red Radio, one of the original student radio stations in the UK, along with the SRA are still one of the best ways into the industry. Having individual sections is vital for the future of student media at Essex.

As someone who’s been heavily involved with Student Media, part of the core team running the NaSTA Conference in 2014, representative for student media in professional organisations such as the Society of Motion Picture & TV Engineers, and acting as a representative at the International Broadcast Convention in 2014, I’ve seen my fair share of student media and have seen what works and how best to drive student media, especially Television. More crucially for the students, I’ve grown to understand how many in the industry see student media. Anyone at the future SX:TV, or ‘Albert’, are going to be loosing their best way into the Television industry.

All this is going to be lost at a great SU, all for the sake of overreaching full-time staff. When SU marketing staff playing too heavily a role in the decisions of how and what students do media, it is worse than University interference and banning/blocking of output, as it’s so much harder to combat. Such an incident sparked a rival paper at Loughborough called The Epinal and have seen desecrations of media outlets across the country. Let’s not let the same fait await our friends at Essex SU. These staff find it far too easy to push toward making everything a student service, rather than allowing students to take a lead in developing their Union, something the NUS is rightly working against. We’ve been in touch with the NUS and are awaiting their response.

Core members of the Essex Media Guild pushed for a united SX Media Group, with SX:TV SX:FM and SX:News, going even a step further than our LSU Media names. The Union took this idea and have butchered it. Support has been drawn from current and past members alike, those from other student media outlets and national organisations like NaSTA:

“don’t merge them all together and completely disregard the long and rich histories of the existing institutions.” (Chris Unwin, Alumni).

“The response felt like the SU wanted to use student media as a service to students and lost the core ethos of being an exciting experience for students.” (SX:TV)

Let’s stand in solidarity with our friends and colleges at Essex Media Guild. A petition, started by those loyal to Essex Media Guild has been started, and I implore anyone in support to sign: https://www.change.org/p/essex-students-union-stop-the-unfair-re-brand-of-the-essex-media-guild

We’ll see you at NaSTA 2016, SX:TV.

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About Author

This is Dan's 5th year involved with LSU Media. The LSUTV Station Manager 2014-15, Dan focused on live productions and restarted LSU Live, hosted multiple live sports matches, a General Election hustings debate and was on the core team for the most audacious TV multicast ever, Big BUCS Wednesday.

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