Even as I whispered it, I knew the question was foolish and reckless: “Can we crack open the emergency wine now?”It’s been quite a draining week at this student paper, from monitoring the troubling patches of water that seem to be emerging on the floor of our lakeside office, to hauling together our final extra publication of the term in the Roses supplement. The fact is, concerns about the structural integrity of our office foundations aside, Nouse has it pretty good at York. We have great access to the University and sabb teams, and our funding allows us to print eight times every year.
In short, we know how lucky we are: other student media outlets are not doing as well. Take Bailrigg FM, Lancaster’s 50-year-old student radio station, which at the end of August, will lose their valuable FM license due to ‘budgetary re-evaluations’ by the university. The station that gave you broad-casting legends like James May and Magic’s Richard Allinson will now be forced online, following a consultative survey by Lancaster’sStudent Union.
Bailrigg’s members thrive off the valuable experience and hard skills they get from keeping a station on air 24/7. One supporter wrote on Change.org that they knew “countless others” who owe their media jobs to successes in student media beforehand. Another cited the “confidence and self-belief” that working at the station gave them. Perhaps most egregiously, Bailrigg isn’t the only student media society on the chopping block at Lancaster: the main student paper, SCAN, will soon be losing £1 750 from their annual budget.
These cuts have a tangible effect on how well student media can hold their unions and universities to account: whatever you think of the journalism we do here at Nouse, I think you'll agree that being able to house fewer viewpoints would not improve the quality of the paper you’re now reading. We rely on our substantial grants to print supplements, maintain our website, and fix our dated PCs, one of which is only slightly younger than the Minster itself. Student media justifies its cost.
Campus journalism deserves more than .a future as a glorified podcast outfit. No one else will cover crucial stories like ballooning rent prices, or mental health services that force genuine change at the University. Furthermore, as Roses draws ever closer, York’s sports teams will be facing Lancaster organizations that have had their funding substantially boosted in recent years. The idea that honing the skills of student journalists isn’t equally as important as teaching student athletes to yeet a rugby ball is pretty sad. Universities should be better than that.
I’m thankful that our Students’ Union respects the importance of keeping all ofYork’s student media outlets funded, even The Lemon Press. Long may that continue, until the Nouse office, like all great historical institutions should, slides proudly into the waters of campus lake.