The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

The Mancunion 2012-2013: Highlights

A reminder of what we delivered in 2012-2013.

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Dear readers,

In this final post, I’d like to thank all those who contributed, read and supported The Mancunion last year. Here are our 2012-2013 highlights. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed editing it.

Sincerely,

Richard Crook

@RichardJRCrook

Improvements in numbers 2012/2013

– Over 1,500 Facebook likes gained.

– Over 1,000 Twitter followers gained.

– Over 100,000 hits gained.

News

This year, delivering bold and original news has been our top priority. Here is a collection of some of our best scoops:

– Two major exclusives on Islamic extremism. The first concentrated on exposing a society for vile homophobia. This article led to widespread criticism towards the Welfare Officer for her initial statement, which expressed deep concern over The Mancunion‘s methods. Amended statements followed and the society shut down after national outcry.

– The second piece focused on the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, who The Mancunion revealed were using a centralised Facebook page to organise workshops in UK universities including Manchester.

– Our series of articles on the RA/JCR system showed it up as not fit for purpose. Committee members received lavish perks and job offers from companies they sign up with, while other RAs claimed they felt pressured by unelected staff bar managers to work only with Social Junkies. The University initially dismissed our allegations, but a leaked presentation from uni higher-ups finally vindicated our reports. Reform is on its way.

– A new club promoting company duped Freshers and threatened Halls security.

– Embarrassing report for the university as departments inexplicably release ‘unanswerable’ exam questions.

– The shambles that was the Students’ Union’s M13 festival.

–  Exclusive on the ‘outrageous’ price hikes in halls costs, which even the Vice Chancellor admitted she would have “a hard time justifying.”

– Exposing a former Students’ Union Exec Officer for taking over TEN weeks holiday and receiving full pay with no punishment.

– A report on the ‘Army and Taliban’ themed clubnight, which was forced to cancel after sustained pressure from the University.

–  Exclusive on club reps stopping students on campus and secretly rating them for their looks and ‘banter.’ This was followed up with  articles on the consequences of Freshers’ Week events.

– Extensive coverage of Demo2012. First, a story on the backlash against Activities Officer Tommy Fish for linking society funding to the Demo. Then, we reported on the NUS President’s fears of a repeat of 2010 violence. Finally, a report of the event itself.

–  Heartwarming tale of a BOGLE runner who sacrificed victory to save a woman from a car crash.

– Series of exclusives on the resignation of an internationally renowned MMU lecturer, who felt “bullied” by the university and claimed his colleagues were “under attack.”

– Our incoming Diversity Officer Omar Aljuhani claiming he “feared for the career” of the student exposed for vile homophobia on campus.

– Delivering the latest on student elections and democracy. The Mancunion organised hustings and presented Live Blogs, delivered up-to-minute results for elections and assemblies and reported on the controversies surrounding iPads and disqualifications – branding the elections UMSUSHAMBLES.

– The latest on student campaigning. This included flashmobs, protests against pro-life campaigners and the outrage over course closures.

– Disclosing the high price to hold this year’s Reclaim the Night.

– The university’s controversial policy to charge students who take learning difficulties test.

– And who could forget our very own Andrew Williams crashing out of BBC’s Pointless in the first round…

 

Features

The Mancunion produced a Features section rich with interviews and in-depth reports. Here is just a handful…

– A baffling report – published against the threat of legal action – on the Korean church recruiting students in Manchester.

– A series of pieces on Syrian students being kept in the dark and facing an uncertain future. Read their story and the story of campaigners fighting for their justice.

Disturbing interview with Tacko Mbengue, a gay Senegalese student who was told to prove his sexuality or face deportation and likely persecution.

– An in-depth report into gambling on campus.

– Interviews with senior politicians including Education Minister David Willetts and Tom Watson, Labour’s attack dog for Rupert Murdoch.

 

Comment

Limiting the column inches we devoted to national issues, this year the Comment section took on more local and student-focused issues.

Our Yes/No debate covered issues such as  the use of iPads in elections or the alleged sexism in Spotted Facebook pages. Comment often provided valuable analysis for our big stories of the week and tackled issues that mattered to students, evident when looking at pieces on university privatisation or the value of a Phd. Of course, we stuck with My Political Hero, which has become an institution at The Mancunion.

 

Sport

This year we wanted to take a step back from national stories and devote our attention to Manchester’s fantastic sport teams. Purple and proud!

– Online: For the first time, we delivered Live Blogs on Varsity clashes, including Rugby Union, Rugby League, Ice Hockey and Football.

– In print: Interviews with captains and more focus on match reports than ever before. Formations, fixtures and league tables are now included each week.

 

The Mancunion Magazine

The sections that make up our Magazine pages – Music, Film, Food and Drink, Lifestyle, Arts, Theatre, Fashion and Beauty, Books, Games and Societies – worked tirelessly this year to deliver lively, entertaining and informative content week-in, week-out. Here’s why they deserve your vote.

Music: Managing the Music section in a city like Manchester is a dream for many and our editors and writers have enjoyed every minute of it.  Live reviews, venue guides, interviews every week and fun features such as 5 Songs in the Field of… makes this a section that has to get you voting.

Film: The film section reviewed all the latest released and provided a comprehensive guide to Oscar season. But they also shed light on Manchester’s silver screen scene. We treated readers to a Cornerhouse ‘Pick of the Week‘ feature, interviews with Manchester filmmakers and features on local film festivals.

Food and Drink: Whether it was telling us the best spots for Graduation celebrations, showcasing a huge array of unique and affordable recipes, or producing the no-copyright-intended ‘Come Have Dinner With Me,’ Food and Drink kept us thirsty for more content all year round (sorry…).

Lifestyle: The Lifestyle expansion meant all-new features, like the BNOC Interviews and a collection of articles on traveling and studying abroad as a student.  Of course, Lifestyle wouldn’t have been Lifestyle without its relationship advice, tales of  ’50 Shades of Fallowfield’ encounters and the institution that is the Blind Date.

Fashion and Beauty: A section that offered you fashion advice in the form of  ‘Craving and Saving’ and ‘Loving and Loathing’, profiles on Manchester boutiques and highlights of the best-dressed on Oxford Road with ‘Street Styles.’ Proving the diversity of the section, Fashion and Beauty also took on more serious features such as size zero modelling and ethical shopping.

Arts and Theatre: Students often say they wish they knew what was ‘going on’ in Manchester. The Arts and Theatre section left no cultural stone unturned, covering everything from exhibitionsstudent and professional productions and stand-up comedy. On top of that we treated you to regular interviews with university experts and those in the heart of Manchester’s Arts scene. Thanks to us you have no excuse for staying within the Oxford Road bubble!

Games: A new section this year, we brought you the latest in the gaming world with previews, reviews and features. Beyond that, we brought you all the latest student gaming news. Finally, we offered some trips down memory lane with our ‘Retro Corner.’

Books: Contrary to what Daily Mail commenters suggest, the youth of today still very much enjoy a good book. The Mancunion provided a space for students to share their passion. We published features on the local literary sceneinterviews with local novelists and an invitation to join our Book Club.

Societies: The Mancunion believes that societies can define your time at Manchester. We offer a space each week to showcase the best events, sports and activities on offer. While the Students’ Union Facebook page spammed your news feed with the latest Exec blog, we were telling you about Student Action and RAG, showcasing the success of the Harmony Gospel Choir and learning about Slacklining. If just a few students signed up to something because of us, it was worth it.