A student will launch a new weekly university e-paper in the New Year, in memory of her uncle, a former editor for The Sunday Times.
Elizabeth May, a third year English, film and TV student at Brunel University London, said her inspiration to pursue a career in journalism stems from David May, a journalist who died in October 2019.
He had a 40-year career reporting for Time Out, significantly covering events around the IRA, and went on to hold roles at BBC and Channel 4.
Copyright: John May
"As soon as he passed away, I promised him I would start a newspaper," Elizabeth May told Journalism.co.uk.
"It will mean such a big deal to myself and my family to carry on his legacy.
"He had an aura that made you feel calm in a stressful situation - like with my university applications. As a journalist, he stood for going above and beyond to cover the story."
The title of Elizabeth May’s new student newspaper has published a poll to decide on the name of its new title. It will become a weekly e-paper as of January 2020 on a new website, after half a year's worth of work getting minimum signatures and paperwork completed.
It will run alongside a quarterly print newspaper compiling summary and stand-out pieces throughout the term period.
It will replace Brunel’s previous student newspaper, Le Nurb, which ceased operations in April 2018 when its founding members graduated and there was not enough interest within the student ranks to take its place. It is now currently a society with no active members, the university confirmed.
Fresh plans for a student newspaper
How will she ensure she does not meet the same fate as Le Nurb? She is planning a range of new editorial and multimedia sections specific to Brunel University to rekindle interest amongst the student body.
As well as typical local news beats in London, a 'What's On' section and sports coverage, she intends to introduce a student opinion section called 'On the contrary'. It will offer up a typically divided topic of debate, gauge student views and present it on a page split down the middle.
More significantly, she wants to introduce a weekly podcast in which editors will talk about key stories, as well as featuring guest and specialist interviews on campus. In the works too is a podcast segment called 'What would you do if...' which poses a scenario featuring in the news that week to students, and asks them what they would do in that situation.
"Student newspapers shouldn't be too formal," she explained.
"This might get people to pay attention to the news a bit more if you are asking them directly about adversity, for example."
Elizabeth May will act as co-editor-in-chief and the paper will be recruiting for up to five section editors, along with three reporters to work on each each section, totalling up to 15 reporters.
The Brunel student's union will take on the costs of the print run, but otherwise being an e-paper means that running costs are kept to a minimum.
As she has found that graduate job schemes require a minimum amount of published works, this gives aspiring journalists another platform, besides the journalism course website, to increase their byline count.
"I want students like myself to have the opportunity to publish work themselves, and the opportunity to have the best possible career in the future."
Free daily newsletter
- Tip: Adapting university lessons to video conferences
- Five tips for freelance journalists to cope with coronavirus cancellations
- Tip: Staying positive in the journalism job hunt
- Five tips for journalists to thrive in self-employment
- Jesse Thorn, voice of Bullseye and The Turnaround, on what makes a successful podcast host