The Student interviewed new Editors in Chief, Manvir Dobb and Craig Buchan, to talk about their exciting entry into The Student and their plans to re-engage the University with the newspaper.
What is your background at The Student and when did you first start writing?
Craig: I’ve wanted to be a journalist for a while, since I was at school, so I started writing for the News and Music sections of the paper quite quickly after starting university. I then applied to be News Editor at the end of first year and I’ve been in that role since September.
Manvir: Journalism has also been a dream of mine since secondary school. I started with Culture, dabbled in News and Lifestyle then turned to Features before becoming an editor this year.
Manvir, what does it mean to you to follow in Dhruti’s footsteps as a woman of colour in the Editor in Chief position?
Manvir: It feels great to be the second woman of colour in this position and Dhruti has really inspired me to lead from her example. I think it’s especially exciting for us to have two women of colour in a row because that just goes to show how quickly the newspaper is changing.
What are you new ideas and initiatives for the newspaper? What are your ambitions for increasing inclusivity and diversity?
Manvir: Our Manifesto is called the Re-engagement Revolution, so one of our main aims is to increase readership and by doing so hopefully increase the number of people who write for The Student. We would like the newspaper to be viewed as more of an egalitarian, open space rather than a hierarchical institution.
Craig: There are so many copies of The Student that get thrown away each week and it’s heartbreaking. We have so many talented editors and writers who put lots of time, hard work and effort into the paper so it’s tragic that the newspaper isn’t getting the reception it deserves. It will be a cultural change so it may take a while to achieve these goals, but we hope that we can be the Editors in Chief who set the ball rolling.
How are you planning to improve writers’ meetings?
Craig: Seeing how quickly the attendance has gone down at writers’ meetings throughout the year, something is clearly not working. A lot of writers don’t see them as worthwhile since we post the pitches online. So we’re gonna work hard with the rest of the editorial team to change these meetings as we’re keen to get their input.
Manvir: Yes, we can’t just dictate. We want to start including everyone who is involved as part of a community, so after yesterday’s writers’ meeting we went out for coffee as a group and it was a really nice way to re-engage. How are you going to manage the workload for your degree and for The Student?
Craig: My plan is to ignore my degree then drop out at the end of the year.
Manvir: We’re both in second year so technically our degrees don’t count yet!
Craig: It’s a balance and we know it will be hard work, but that’s why we have shorter terms for Editors in Chief and we’re also lucky to have the Christmas holidays so we’ll get as much done as we can then.
Manvir: It just comes naturally because you have to be able to organise the rest of your life around the schedule for the newspaper as an Editor in Chief.
What have you learned and what will you take forward from Sam and Dhruti’s time as Editors in Chief?
Manvir: They’re inspirational to us. We are indebted to them for making our transition into the role so much easier.
Craig: Sam and Dhruti have done so much for this newspaper. Since taking up the position, they’ve introduced a Voices editor, implemented our new editing software Scribus and made countless other important contributions. We’ve now got to do it justice and build on what they’ve done. They’ve given their lives to it and I’m really not looking forward to following them.
What skills do you think you both bring to the table as Editors in Chief and how do you work well together?
Craig: We both became editors in September, and we also knew each other from first year because we both study History so we had a set dynamic that makes us a good team.
Manvir: We didn’t want to run independently but instead wanted to be Editors in Chief as a pair. I’d say I am good at organisation, while Craig contributes his tech skills.
Craig: Have you tried turning it off and on again?
What would be your advice to younger writers who aspire to be more involved with The Studentand what do you hope to pass on as role models?
Manvir: Write for us. Take one of our pitches or come to us with your own. The newspaper can appear daunting but we are such a warm and supportive community on the inside.
Craig: We’re always looking for new writers. All the section editors are friendly, helpful and equally keen to get as many writers involved as possible. Student journalism is the way to go if you want to write: there is really nothing stopping you.
Who is the most likely to leave an assignment until the night before?
Craig: That’s definitely me.
Who is most likely to correct your grammar?
Manvir: Me, Craig can’t spell.
Who would make the best politician?
Both point to each other.
Which section is better: news or features?
Manvir: Features of course. I’m sure Craig agrees with me.
Who is the most controversial as a writer?
Manvir: For both News and Features, you have to be quite neutral. I might have given my opinion a bit more than you.
Craig: I guess we’ll find out soon as we start writing editorials.
Who is the most likely to go out the night before an exam?
Craig: I’ve been clubbing twice this year.
Manvir: Me too.
Craig: I guess we’re both just really sad.
Who would go the furthest to get a juicy story?
Manvir: Craig has been doing that already. News is more investigative by nature, but we’re both historians so we’re used to that.
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Illustrations: Manvir Dobb