Red-tops, broadsheets

Nouse would be a lot less fun without its cheeky little brother

Vision and Nouse, as many people on campus may be aware, are bitter rivals. Nouse call Vision a contemptible tabloid, Vision pun our name into NoUse. Nouse call Vision insensitive and clumsy, they call us boring hypocrites. Nouse call Vision’s layout slapdash, they call ours staid. In almost everything we do, every story we cover, the newspapers at York oppose one another. The relationship between us is, necessarily, a complex and ambiguous one.

The Immigration Shambles / Are We a Racist University dialogue is a perfect case in point: the same issue, that of the experience of foreign students at York, addressed from two almost polar-opposite angles. Both front pages, too, faced a firestorm of criticism from the student body as a whole and sparked off a wide-ranging debate.

This is a small campus; both papers write in different ways, but necessarily about the same facts. News is news is news, after all. There is a certain brotherliness in the relationship between the newspapers. Serious sibling rivalry, certainly; no relationship between brothers is ever cordial, but brothers we are nonetheless. Nouse and Vision are neighbours in more than just the geographical fact that we share a corridor, and we are brethren in more than that we are both chips off the Uni Media block.

Within the two editorial teams, competition is the name of the game. We must get that story before Vision; what are they doing in the office at this time? All is intrigue, all is striving to keep a valuable gem of information secret, all for the imagined look on the rivals’ faces when either paper gets the scoop.

But to the University as a whole, both campus papers are, to a lesser or greater extent, one and the same. While (and it’s a great sign) occasionally we will meet someone who has a preference one way or another, for the most part, we will be digested, discussed, discarded and swiftly disregarded – until, three weeks later, we come out again.

YUSU and the University management, similarly, must see both papers as equal nuisances. Nouse are like dogs with a Fruit of the Loom bone and Vision have always had a great nose for a dodgy expense account. The objectives of the campus newspapers must always be more in line with each other than those of YUSU, or the situation has come to a pretty pass.

This interdependence goes some way to explaining why such tension followed Vision’s breaking of the sacred print dates over Roses. Printing little spoiler pages and handing them out just before the other paper comes out, not to mention lying about it to our faces, is more than just a childish misinterpretation of the meaning of healthy rivalry. It goes directly against the grain of the basis of rules and respect in which we both operate, and that is why it stung the way it did, why it touched such a nerve. Suddenly, as YUSU floundered ineffectually upon the media charter, the rules had changed.

But the world of journalism is changing. The printed word is slowly giving way to instantaneous ease of the internet, and broadsheets are printing tabloid or Berliner size to make them easier to read on the morning commute. Putting a story on our website is just as much a rejection of the solid rules of the old world as Vision’s spoilers, though not nearly as dramatic. The fact that a respectable new campus media, The Yorker, exists in an entirely online form shows that the internet is not simply an alternative media, it may well soon be the primary one.

In a sense, then, this broadsheet edition is a retrograde step. It is, of course, a design exercise, a gimmick of sorts, but we also intend it to be an appreciative tribute. It is a nod back to an age where a fresh newsaper was not just a swift, sharp word injection but an event, a powerful journalistic statement. I hope that it is also taken, in some incidental sense, as a peace offering.

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