Name: Sophie Tann
Home town: Thames
Uni: Oxford Brookes
Degree: Publishing Media
What is the purpose of your student newspaper?
Founded in 2007, the initial purpose of the newspaper was to provide a platform for students who wanted to explore or utilise their journalistic skills; something which is still inextricably linked to the newspaper’s main objectives. However, in recent years we’ve wanted to enable students from other disciplines to put their skills, whether it be marketing, graphic design or photography, into practice as well.
How can people get involved?
New journalists and in-house roles are always appreciated, so whichever way in which you want to contribute or become involved, we’ll try and accommodate it. Go to the Observer’s website or Facebook page to find out more.
What are the benefits of writing for you student newspaper?
One of the major advantages is the opportunity to transfer any skills that you’ve cultivated whilst working for the paper, to the workplace you find yourself in after university. More crucially, I think it can really help to get your foot in the door and work in your favour during the interview process.
On a more personal level, it allows you to write about what you’re passionate about and test your journalistic integrity.
How much does it cost to become a member?
What kind of commitment do you have to give as a student writer or member of editorial?
It does take a lot of commitment; something the previous editor did specify during the interview stages. Furthermore, it’s been the tradition to hand over the role to third-year students, who arguably have the biggest amount of work prioritising to do.
How do you find juggling your uni work and social life, with being Editor? How much of your time does it take?
It can be a long working day at times, but the overwhelming majority of my friends also have to legitimately juggle their part-time work alongside their studies. After I found that I’d been offered the role, I exploited the summer months that I had off from university as much as possible, to ensure things were ready to be picked up at the start of the new academic year.
Give us an overview of the content you publish.
The content we publish reflects the editorial format and content of any national newspaper; albeit on a smaller scale. We report on politics, culture, sport and any campus news of particular relevance to Oxford Brookes’ students.
Do many members go onto careers in journalism? Any famous journalists?
Yes, quite a few of our journalists have acquired careers in the industry after their studies. One of our current journalists regularly writes for The Huffington Post and is both actively and successfully involved with political reporting. We’ve also had a lot of students who have acquired freelance work, such as music and gig reviews based on their work with the newspaper.
What is the best thing about being a member of a student newspaper?
I think the newspaper means different things to its members. Some see their involvement purely as a complimentary addition to their CVs for the job they’re hoping to secure after university, whilst others have something quite specific to say. Regardless, both of these motives show ambition and drive, and I think those are really good personal attributes to find out about yourself.
What’s your readership?
We have no known figure for our readership. The newspaper is distributed around the main campuses at the university and is free; consequently we like to think the pass-on-readership of the paper is fairly high.