Apparently, the publication I write for has gone to shit. Crocked. Fucked – or as one charming keyboard warrior quipped, “Versa [sic] used to be quality, but this is just total bollocks”. Now, it’s merely a sad “manure-shovelling zine” populated by “internet bullies”.
If you believe the above comments, however, you probably believe interest rates were created to keep mankind in little boxes, or that college presidents are in fact all shape-shifting lizards.
We’re great because there’s virtually nothing in the way of editorial control (save for the all-important libel/spelling bits). If I wanted to, I could belt out a piece about why Lord Patten is right in his criticism of quotas, and how only those with more than £40k in their trust funds should be allowed an Oxford education. My editors would probably (and rightly) think I was chatting utter shit, but the point is I’d still be able to. Meanwhile, down at the OxStu, its editorial team have to keep every article vanilla so as not to incur the wrath of their OUSU-bankrollers. The beauty of VERSA then, is that it’s not some vehicle for those hankering after an ego massage. Who realistically wants to read a PPEist’s thoughts on the Israel-Palestine conflict anyway?
Yet VERSA isn’t afraid to get serious either. Okay, maybe we’re not talking our “Eight innocent Magdalen freshers got deaned after someone shat in their bathtub at a party” exposé. But our coverage of the NUS disaffiliation referendum? We’ve dealt with the issues surrounding the impending plebiscite, airing views from either sides of the argument. Neither though, has VERSA shied away from making its overall view known. We’re not ashamed to lay our cards on the table, hence why we lambasted the NUS as “incompetent, undemocratic, [and] hopelessly irrelevant”. And yes, you’re entitled to disagree with our judgement, but VERSA’s clarity is definitely better than the middle-of-the-road obfuscatory fudge that’s been consistently peddled by both the Cherwell and the OxStu. Aside from that, in our short 2 year existence, we’ve tackled everything: be it scandal at the Union, the rise and fall of RMF – and that’s not to mention the tragicomic goings on at the OULC.
These stories were all broken über quickly, which is the beauty of being a hack for a publication that’s solely on online entity. There’s no lapse in time between discovering a story and publication within the day, which means VERSA’s name has appeared in a range of national papers.
No-one in Oxford is safe from criticism – especially you, Wadham. I can’t think of any other student news source in Oxford whose targets are so fluid. One minute, we’re mocking the hedonistic excess of the Buller. The next, it’s the Bridge Sheeple. Contrary to popular belief, VERSA writers aren’t part of some right-wing conspiracy: the only vendetta we nurse is against the absurd – and it just so happens that a lot of it happens to occur at the People’s Republic of Wadham. We love you really though, comrades.