Student journalism is important, obviously… but that doesn’t excuse it being boring as sin
I’m not about to argue that student journalism is worthless or unimportant. For such a fragmented student community as ours, it’s in fact particularly important. In theory, at least, it allows students across the University to connect on issues important to us all (though perhaps only immediately relevant to one particular group). Unfortunately, just because student journalism is a worthwhile pursuit doesn’t mean that it’s not shit.
At some point along the line we all realise that we will not be students forever, and that binge-watching two seasons of Scandal in five days is probably not the kind of ‘experience’ that will get you hired. So, many of us look to journalism to provide us with CV points.
Much of the time this results in fucking boring writing. Yes, we want to hear what’s going on – but for the love of God can you at least try to make it fun? And I don’t mean by using shamefully poor puns such as ‘Hubbub at the Hub’ in an effort to garner a lone chuckle from a reader. (OxStu, I’m looking at you.)
I’ve heard the Cherwell and the OxStu described as ‘boring wannabe Times‘ and I could not agree more. We all know that Oxford is a tiny little incestuous bubble in which everyone knows everything about everyone. Much of the news in such publications is of no interest whatsoever to anyone outside that bubble, and in the grand scheme of things is irrelevant.
You are not writing for The Times, you are not a ground-breaking journalist, you are not about to win a Pulitzer for your report on the Union elections, so why don’t you sit down and remind yourself of your own unimportance. Have a little fun, indulge in a little satire, maybe with a cheeky side of controversy. Treat yourself.
Obviously the fun can be taken too far. I need do no more than point to the Tab to evidence that claim. It’s shit and no one reads it. Best Clubbers is the highlight, with hilarious drunk people and sometimes witty captions, but beyond that I don’t even know what they do. Should I even be including them in a comment on journalism?
As you can guess, I’m biased in saying this. But I think VERSA strikes a pretty happy medium. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we still publicise important issues that should be engaged with across the wider university community. We publish pointless shit that has no real-life relevance but that is enjoyable to both write and read. We might be disliked in some circles, but we’re prompting discussion and having fun while doing it.
If you’re inclined to agree with me and fancy joining a team that produces articles you won’t fall asleep reading, then you’re in luck – we’re recruiting and you can apply here. Or go back to a back-section in the CherStu. You could put it on LinkedIn.