Editor's Note


The freedom to criticise the powerful should not be taken for granted

Article Image

Image by Luke Snell

By Ed Halford

As you become accustomed to the routine of waking up for 9am seminars, rushing back and forth to the library and then heading out to Salvation for a Wednesday club night, it is easy to forget that university life is very sheltered. We hardly ever come into contact with York’s locals, except for those occasions when you may briefly exchange a polite conversation while waiting for an overdue pint at a pub. As journalists at Nouse, we therefore make a conscious effort to find stories that may not have gained attention within the university’s orbit. Equally important is reporting on student-led events which have changed the discourse of national debate. The recent ‘Girls Night In’ movement is an ideal example of how students can use their voices to raise awareness about pressing issues and challenge those in positions of power.

In this latest print edition, Nouse has produced articles which don’t shy away from confronting the ‘big issues’ (apologies for the cliché) which face our generation. Journalism is by no means about being contentious for the sake of it, although it can require reporting on contentious events or opinions which divide a room. Despite Nouse’s articles not receiving similar readership to papers such as The Times or The Guardian, the luxury of being able to write critical articles and not having to worry about imprisonment is not a luxury afforded to all journalists across the world. In China and Turkey, to name a few of the worst offenders, journalists are forced to stray away from criticism of the government and only in the last year was reporter Zhang Zhan jailed for reporting on the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan. The opportunity to write critical articles of the government and powerful institutions is therefore a privilege which we should not take for granted.

Our news section has sought to deliver you stories which incorporate both local and national news stories. With COP26 coming to an end, Rebecca’s interview with SCOOP reveals ways we can alter our own spending habits so that they are more sustainable for the environment and our bank account balances. As cancel culture becomes more prolific on student campuses, Luke has interviewed the Free Speech Society, while in Muse Abi explores the dangers and nature of cancel culture.

The Comment section is as ever bustling with fresh perspectives and strong-willed opinions. A particular highlight for me was Valentina’s brave piece on fighting cancer in which she recalls having to make life-changing decisions without any family members present due to Covid-19. From our two renowned Comment Editors, Michael and Molli, you are treated to a witty rant about Tory sleaze (this made me want to run to the freezer like Boris) and if you are starting to grow weary of the standard club nights then Molli gives you her rundown of nights out at Bluebox and Chameleon.

As a former Politics Editor, my most frustrating moment during production week, aside from wishing for a campus sushi bar, was realising that I didn’t have the time to write for the politics section about Brexit. However, Molly has risen to the task of identifying why Franco-British relations are still beset by hostility.

Fortunately, this first term has been drastically different from last year. The feasibility for lots of different writers to venture into the office and try their hand at In Design software, while I pretend to know what I’m doing, is a sign that university life is starting to return to some resemblance of normality. Although one of the major advantages of the lockdowns was the plenty of time we had to think, or to contemplate starting something new. Amidst the essay deadlines and sports socials, it is important that we continue to set time aside for developing our own thinking. As the moustaches on students gradually become hairier this month, in keeping with the spirit of the Movember campaign let’s all try to lookout for friends that may be feeling down or left out but aren’t showing visible signs of their unhappiness.

Editor’s notes tend to include a lot of thank-yous and before you know it you have created the script for an actor’s BAFTA award acceptance speech so I’m going to be very brief. I would like to thank Lucy Cooper for all her good energy, for tolerating my jokes and for possessing the design skills I so severely lack. It seems that the all-Suffolk partnership is producing better results than Ipswich F.C.