Founder and Editor of Unified’s website, Lorna Van Baar, looks back on the process from October till now before handing over to the new team.
After studying Multimedia Journalism at university for a year I decided it was about time to get some experience in the media field and thought what better way to do so than by getting involved in student media.
I had already tried the radio side of things in first year by having a show on CSR called The Festival Show which was fun but I felt it was time to try my hand at something else. So, I showed an interest in Unified, which, at the time, was supposedly a magazine by students for students.
I applied to be the features editor as, at the time, that was more to my liking than any of the other roles on offer but I was asked to be the editor-in-chief instead.
I was a bit reluctant at the time as I was worried about the workload but I decided to accept the opportunity.
After accepting the role, the only problem was that Unified Magazine didn’t actually exist. It had been done before in previous academic years but nothing had been carried on, no ground rules or budget was laid out and I was, quite frankly, confused with what I was supposed to do with it.
I organised meetings week in, week out at the library for two or three people to turn up each time. It’s fair to say we got absolutely nowhere.
Towards the end of second term it became clear that nothing was going to work with the small team and lack of interest and budget for the mag, so I took the editorial decision to turn it into a website.
With a bit of help from the union and lots of playing around on WordPress over summer last year, I finally managed to put a website together.
The problem that followed was a team, or should I say a lack of one. It was impossible to make Unified a success as a one man band so I had to try and get others on board.
Sitting inside during my holiday to Gozo I decided on roles that were going to be available and figured out what each roll would entail.
There was only one other person who stuck around throughout the process and believed in what I was trying to do so, when freshers fayre came in September 2016, he helped me hold a stall to try and get people interested.
We managed a lot of sign ups that day and by October 17th not only did we have a social media manager, PR manager and editor for News, Features, Entertainment, Culture and Sport, we had enough content, written by other contributors, to launch the website for everyone to see!
It’s fair to say that the hard work did not stop there, but throughout the year until this point, the various hiccups have not resulted in failure or abandoning the project, they have simply been motivation to keep going and make Unified the best it can be.
The highlight of my time as editor-in-chief has to be back in March at the Student Activity Awards. I was truly humbled to have won the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Media’ after not even knowing I was nominated for it in the first place, and was also happy to secure second place for Unified as Society of the Year. It felt so good for the team and my efforts to be recognised and appreciated.
The website is still thriving and since launching on October 17th 2016 until May 5th 2017 I am pleased to announce that Unified has secured 49,321 views.
I am ecstatic with how well it has gone and have no doubt that it will continue to grow in the next academic year.
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped me get Unified to where it is today including all of those who have contributed this academic year.
A special thanks to my course leader, Jonny Greatrex, who believed in me and the idea from day one and helped to make our varsity coverage a huge success, and last but not least, thank you to my wonderful editors Dylan Stallard, Sarah Mayhew, Claisse Opulencia, James Love and Thomas Crawshaw.
I wish everyone the best of luck in the future and can’t wait to look back at Unified in 5 years time to see it even bigger and better than ever.
This is me, officially signing over and out.