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January 24, 2006

A News Vacuum?

The Boar have caused controversy again by running a story which the Union has called "misleading…alarmist…inaccurate". Their front page story was about a girl who – it says – was stabbed with a drug-laden needle during last week's Top Banana.

I have no idea whether the story is true or accurate, but I think it's safe to call it 'alarming', because as the article says, the Union is considered to be relatively safe.

But this has got me thinking about the quality of 'news' on campus. Not the quality of reporting, but the quality of the 'stories' that are there to be told.

I had an unscientific look at the news sections of newspapers at other universities. Exeter and York are similar universities in many ways, and their papers are also similar. But their news sections are up to double in size, and the stories covered are just as 'student-related' as the Boar's.

First, lets discount the possibility that this is a fault of journalism. I'm biased (RaW's News Editor), but I'm fairly sure that there are plenty of people chasing campus stories. There's the Boar, RaW and WTV all trying to find out what's going on, and doing a good job of reporting it.

Rather, I think there's a lack of stories to be reported. The argument that we're a campus Uni doesn't hold much water, as York's packed newspaper demonstrates, and I know it's not because student journalists are lazy.

So why are news stories on campus so sparse? Is it because the Warwick environment is uninspiring? Is it because we're wallowing in bureaucracy? Is it anything to do with class or background of students? Is it because the most controversial stories tend to be about one Union hack versus another?

I'd be interested to know what the news-makers and news-reporters think. Because I'm not sure why we have so many slow news days (or weeks!). It's great to research an issue and ask questions about whether that issue is relevant to students. But it would be good if something eventful happened a bit more often!

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