Here at the University of Leeds, we’re all used to picking up our weekly copy of the Leeds Student paper. But how many of you spend time browsing the website as well? The new Digital Associate Editor tells us his plans for next year’s web content…
Hi Gio, we hear you’ve been chosen as next year’s Digital Associate Editor for the Leeds Student, that’s a pretty impressive role! How did you manage to land that one?
Hey, originally I actually applied to be one of the news sub-editors and for that there was a journalism fact-checking exercise, story write-up and an interview. When all the candidates were whittled down to the final 4, the current editor (Lizzie Edmonds) and digital associate (Jack Dearlove) asked me if I’d want to do the digital role instead as I seemed like the perfect candidate for it. I was reluctant at first as I had my heart set on news but it turned out that my new role as digital associate would still have me heavily involved with news (particularly breaking news) but also allow me to develop online skills which are essential these days, and essentially run the whole Leeds Student website. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up! I do have big shoes to fill though as Jack’s done a great job this year!
What sort of things have you been doing for the newspaper this year?
I’ve been mainly involved with the tech section this year, and dabbled a bit in news as well.
What exactly is your new role going to entail when you take it up?
Digital associate editor basically means that I’m responsible for the website – keeping it online, editing articles, breaking last minute news, live blogging events, working on the ipad app, scheduling articles, promoting the website using the social media accounts and probably a whole lot more I’ve not even thought of.
I’m guessing such a role is likely to take up quite a large chunk of your time, how do you plan to balance this with your studies?
Well, I hate being stuck at home with nothing to do, so this role’s perfect for me. I’m quite good with time management, I’ll just make sure that I’ve done all my assignments a bit earlier so that I won’t have to worry about them when I’m in the LS office.
You’re studying Broadcast Journalism, but could you still see yourself having a career in print? Or is it all about online media these days?
A job in print would still be fantastic. Print is still a major way that people consume the news – with a paper in the morning. However, the transition to online is inevitable and happening as we speak, so a job in online is more both stable and I’d even say more interesting – one day I could be typing up an article, another getting an audio interview for the website… And the syndication between online and broadcast is very tight knit. So if I were given the option between print or online, I’d go for online.
Everyone’s talking about the decline of the print media, yet everyone reads the student paper! What with the print edition and such a successful website, do you think there’s any need to worry?
On a national level: not just yet, I still think newspapers have a good 10 years left in them, but eventually they WILL become niche products I think. As far as the student paper is concerned, the website is doing amazingly well, especially this year. Will the paper itself be phased out? I hope not, at least not anytime soon. It’s something that students can just grab on the way into the union, it can be read anywhere, no Internet connection required. The student market is used to paper: in lectures, leaflets, magazines. Plus there’s always that lovely feeling of satisfaction of just picking up a paper compared to clicking a link to a story.
Do you have any exciting plans for the web content next year?
I think it would be great to get more video and audio content on the website, I’ll be working hard to make this happen: Hopefully we’ll be able to partner with other societies on this, as well involving my fellow Broadcast Journalists in this as much as possible.
Finally, you’re obviously quite career-driven, so where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?
Ooh tough one. 5 years you say…I’d like to either be a section editor for a newspaper (I know!) or website. Or if I go into Broadcast, I’d like to be a correspondent in a particular field such as travel or technology. But who knows? I can only wait and see!
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