Affronted by the Front Page

In response to the last edition's front page


Cecilia Wallbäck | Tue, 20 Nov 2018


We are stuck with a paper that can’t be bothered with anything but poor journalism and lazy fact-checking

The Gaudie is praised for being the oldest student newspaper in Scotland so one would expect that kind of reputation to be protected and honoured. Instead, it seems we are stuck with a paper that can’t be bothered with anything but poor journalism, lazy fact-checking, and an embarrassingly biased reporting. Examples of these can be found in the most recent issue of the Gaudie, published on 31.10.18.

Exhibit A: ‘’BeCyCle Pulls the Brakes on ‘Omnishambles’ Abergreen Project.’’ Firstly, the paper misquotes the amount of money awarded to the AberGreen project - it was in fact £163,153, not £158,854.08. Furthermore, there is no gagging clause in the AberGreen staff contracts. In fact, none of the AUSAs have one, rather staff are prevented from revealing confidential information - including survey responses and staff wages – but not prevented form constructively criticising the projects.

The £5000 ‘’earmarked’’ for beCyCle’s workshop refurbishment was part of a preliminary application that was ultimately reviewed by the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF). It was not – as the article claims - stolen from the beCyCle group due to “a lack of foresight over AberGreen employee’s pension contributions” or “the unexpected cost levied by the University for renting an office, tables, chairs and computers from the University.”

Second, the small deposit referenced in the article is between £40-70, a sum I personally would decidedly not classify as ‘’small.” The article is riddled with small clerical errors: Lily Nagy, the Project Manager of AberGreen, but was referred to as a ‘’spokesperson’’ and Joseph Huttich is co-President of Shared Planet along with Lina Brammetz, not President as the article states.

Exhibit B:  ‘’Slow Start for Student Council.’’ This article attempts to rid Student Council of some of its mysticism – which is undoubtedly a worthy pursuit, but it just goes about it in entirely the wrong way.  I want the Student Council to be transparent and that all students are aware they are welcome to attend I want every student to realise they can be part of the decision-making. This article seems to want none of that.

It makes a mountain out of a molehill, desperately trying to fill a page when there is nothing to report.

Yet again, the article gets even the smallest of details wrong: Anttoni Numminen, quoted in the article, is a member of the Communities Committee, not the Welfare Committee.

It’s also worth noting that there are 72 members on the Student Council and perhaps I am asking too much but I am sure they could have found more than one source to go on the record.

With several Editors and regular writers for The Gaudie on Student Council, I can’t help but be suspicious of the anonymous ‘’member of council’’. This wouldn’t be the first time a writer for The Gaudie asked their colleague for a quote. Any student on The Gaudie has the right to an opinion, but if it was representation they were looking for then maybe they should look a bit further than inside their own office doors. Or maybe more aptly put, further than inside The Gaudie’s own pages.

The picture accompanying the article portraying a scarcely populated Student Council meeting was, in fact, taken during recess. Nowhere in the article is the context of the picture explained, but the implications are obvious.

Stop trying to dramatize a toilet break.

These two were only in the latest issue, and about topics, I know about enough to recognize when I am being served dodgy information. If The Gaudie would put in half the effort in their articles as I did writing this opine, The Gaudie could be the great piece of journalistic writing it is meant to be. 

My tip? Fact-check, learn the difference between a ‘news article’ and an ‘opine’, be balanced, and stop playing around with alt-facts. I’m sorry the world isn’t as dramatic as you wish it were, but please get over whatever petty grudge you seem to have against AUSA and engage in proper journalism. That’s why you’re here. 

 

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