This Christmas I was wishing for many things. Whilst I got all my material wants satisfied in the form of a lovely Justin Bieber Calendar, there are issues still yet to be resolved that should have been sorted before the new year. What are they, you ask? Well, let me go into detail on just one of them;
We, the students, pay for this paper to be printed, yet we also have no say in how it is run. This means we have no say when vendettas break out between the news and features staff, when its output seems overtly political and when there seems to be more advertising than actual content. This is bad news for us all and the Waterfront, as it currently stands, needs to be changed.
I think a better way to save money, but also provide Swansea’s students with good news and features, is to move towards an entirely online method of delivery. It works for the Siren, so why not the Waterfront? We shouldn’t be wasting our time and money on a printed version that mostly no one reads. Perhaps a weekly newsletter sent via email would be appropriate, or a free WordPress account would even do.
With the AU merging with the Students Union out of financial difficulty it makes no sense for the Waterfront to be left unnoticed. Let’s be clear, the paper is not value for money. The Waterfront should also be transparent with its expenditure. How much do the advertisers pay us? How much is the Students Union subsidy paid to them come to? What wages are the editors paid? All these questions need to be answered for there to be adequate transparency in the paper.
We can further see failures in the paper when its news team, who just happen to be mostly Tory party supporters, print vile and disgusting remarks without any check or balance. It is poor writing, to which I have seen English students rip it apart with a red pen, but it also makes many suspect that those who write for it are injecting a political influence that no student paper should have. I want impartial news that applies suitable checks and balances to the issues it reports, not an ideological machine that prints more corporate adverts than anything remotely informative.
The falling of standard in the Waterfront also highlights the poor leadership of our Student President, who has failed to get to grips with the issue. Our president should be at the helm on a path to reforming and maintaining all parts of our SU, but curiously he appears markedly absent. In a rather clichéd manner, my thoughts of the SU President’s term of office resemble that of what Tony Blair once described of John Major’s leadership as ‘weak, weak, weak’.
So this Christmas, the writing is on the wall. The Waterfront should go through a significant overhaul and the President should up his game. This Union should not have to continue with a weak student newspaper and its members should not have to put up with poor standards, whilst having to continue footing the bill. I believe the SU should be doing more to strengthen the Waterfront as an institution instead of writing a blank check and seeing the money squandered by card carrying politicos and subpar editing staff.