A petition launched by angry students at the University of Sheffield against plans to close the office of their newspaper has attracted more than 1,000 signatures.
Hundreds of students are concerned at plan bu the University’s Student’s Union to shut the office of Forge press as part of a larger reorganisation.
The fortnightly student newspaper shares a small office, called the media hub, with Forge TV and Forge Radio but under the plans it will now be housed in one smaller part of the student’s union.
But those involved in the newspaper feel the office will be too small for them to operate in.
Editor Polly Winn said: “It’s ridiculous as we can’t function in such a small room. The support we’ve had has been keeping us goin, and we set up the petition to show how much suport is behind us. People overlook how much impact we have on the university. We hold the union to account and we also publicise important events the like the students union elections and Varsity.
Sheffield University alumni are getting behind the campaign, which Miss Winn said was ‘really inspiring’
It’s amazing to see the lasting impact student media has and how important it is to people. It is good to know that when our own union doesn’t support us, someone else will.”
Caroline Brocklebank, a former assistant station manager at Forge Radio commented on the online petition referring to the Student’s Union saying: “You were voted the best students union in the country because of the brilliant things you have on offer for students, not office space for staff. Remember Forge Media is one of the most popular societies – don’t ruin everyone’s hard work by overcrowding.”
Former station manager James Kenny also commented saying:
“This is a decision being made by people who, quite frankly, I’m surprised even know what the Media Hub is, let alone have ever stepped foot in it. Now as an alumni I can’t think of anything that could be more disrespectful to the Lady Kathleen Rogers too, whose Alumni Grant was used to fund the Media Hub, not a set of offices.”
Forge press has a projected readership of 15,000–20,000 and is an award winning student newspaper, with its reporters regularly nominated for the Guardian Student media Awards.
Mary Ann Hobbs a former mentor at Forge Media and the host of BBC 6 Music Weekend Breakfast shows said:
“I was a mentor for a year to Forge students who have gone on to work on national broadsheets and magazines, in book publishing and at the BBC. Forge was an invaluable resource for learning real practical media skills in print journalism, radio, tv and online. Please don’t close it.”
In response to the petition president of the student’s union Christy McMorrow said:“The recent Sheffield Students’ Union restructure has led to a number of changes to the team’s staff work in and in the areas of student activity we support. In the cost-saving process, we have successfully increased the resource we give to all of our student activity. This has resulted in an increased demand for front facing space.
“I can absolutely assure you that it is in no way our intention to have a negative impact on the student media teams’ ability to produce high quality output. Indeed the reverse, our aspiration is to invest our resources more firmly in supporting them and all our other student led activity.
“One of the challenges is how to increase resource for the others without damaging the capacity of anyone. It is important to note that at no point has a final decision on the proposal for these spaces been made, nor was it agreed upon by the previous officer team.”