Samuel Pearson

Wessex Scene Editor

Key Points

  • Successful record managing live, print, and online coverage
  • Will partner with LGBTQ+, Neurodiversity and Disability societies
  • Publicise the service Wessex Scene provides
  • Back student journalists to ask hard questions
  • Lobby for greater student input into who leads Wessex Scene

As Wessex Scene’s Politics Editor for this academic year, I have a proven track record of success, not just in editing and writing for print and website, but also planning and managing live news coverage. I am proud to have pitched, planned and lead Wessex Scene’s live coverage of the US 2020 Presidential Election, which combined the strength of our writers with the voices of those on the ground.

This is very much how I want to run Wessex Scene. I firmly believe that we should have an unshakeable commitment to giving people of all backgrounds and walks of life the chance to tell their stories. To this end, I would look to partner with on-campus societies, such as Femsoc, the LGBTQ+ Society, and the Neurodiversity and Disability Society.

Inclusivity may increasingly sound like a buzzword. But student media should be, as Wessex Scene has been, highlighting and publicising a diverse range of voices in order to do its job effectively. I strongly believe we should continue trying to improve on this.

However, to talk about representation – in particular, the need to hold student representatives at SUSU to account, as I plan to do. This year has seen student media downgraded. Instead of Media Heads being elected at the same time as the sabbatical officers, in the Spring Elections, we are instead now part of separate, secondary elections. If our elections are deemed less important, less people will vote, shrinking an already small turnout. Less people voting means student input into their media is diluted. On top of this, Wessex Scene has had its budget cut substantially in the past year, threatening our ability to publicise student voices. Doing this is a mistake, which cheapens the worth of a great asset to student life. If I am elected as editor, I promise to lobby for increased funding for student media and for the return of the election for Wessex Scene Editor to the Spring Elections, working with our partners both at SUSU and the Student Publication Association.

Nor is this just a matter of pride, or publicity for student media. The decision to restructure the elections came from unelected staff on the SUSU representation team, and it’s not clear at the moment who decided to cut Wessex Scene’s budget. That worries me. If elected, I promise to fight for Wessex Scene, and hold SUSU to account at every opportunity. I will do this by promoting what Wessex Scene can and has done for its members, and encourage our journalists to be inquiring, to ask brave questions and back them whenever they need it.