Far too many people think that student newspapers are substandard rags full of inaccurate stories and out-of-date gossip. As the editor of Liverpool's newest student publication I want to challenge that image.
To create Liverpool Student, four publications have been scrapped including the 63-year-old Liverpool Gazette and Sphinx magazine, which after 103 years of existence had become an integral part of Liverpool's Guild of Students. Shout magazine has also been swallowed up, even though it recently won a Guardian/NUS design award.
Years of planning by the student unions of Liverpool University, Liverpool Hope University College and Liverpool John Moores University have culminated in a blueprint for a superpaper. We plan to take on the current market leader in the world of student newspapers, Leeds Student, as well as compete with Manchester's Student Direct and the London Student - both city-wide publications with high print runs. We're hoping for a circulation of 12,000-15,000.
The merger will not only increase our advertising revenue, it will also reduce the competition for big stories between Liverpool's publications. There was always a lot of duplication of material - once, three student papers ran the same interview with Liverpool pop band Space in the same week.
The paper will not be dominated by any one university. I graduated last year from Liverpool University, where I edited the
Liverpool Gazette, but there are satellite
editors at the other universities who will work alongside a full complement of section editors. Although that sounds like an awful lot of editors, we thought if we gave
everyone a title we would get more work
out of them. When the paper is up and
running, we hope to have between 50 and 100 writers.
We're going to start off quite small - 24 pages. By learning from the mistakes we have seen other student papers make, we hope that the newspaper will soon be self-
sufficient as well as award-winning.
With poor resources and no full-time
staff, student publications are often a
permanent struggle for everyone involved - I know from experience. But I am confident that in a few years the Liverpool Student will be the benchmark for success in student media.