I would first of all like to congratulate you and your team for a solid rede-sign of The Saint and the inclusion of this section. In 2019, it should be an uncontroversial statement that the media, this paper included, has recently taken criticism and had their legitimacy questioned by various parties. This is partially a response to the growing shift from print to digital, and the attempt to maintain audiences amid fiercer competition to attract people growing increasingly dependent on digital media. This allows media platforms to achieve instant global connections by transcending the local. However, the transition from local to global comes with its problems, and this takes the form of competing against questionable reporting practices, half-truths, speculation, and everyone’s favourite – fake news.
With this climate in mind, the battle to find a forum for student views, news, and entertainment becomes fractured by the oftentimes limited local forums that are open to student engagement and allow them to express their views – whether they don’t believe the ‘right’ forum exists, believe that what is available is at best not for them, fear the backlash of their opinions, or perceive student publications as a problematic rotating group of elite students that control their respective forum and risk exposing it to their perceived bias or insular thinking. The risk, then, is of people abandoning these student forums for more informal ones.
These often juxtapose anonymous individuals’ statements against the public views of published commentators in student newspapers; continuing the debate but lacking the accountability of the latter commentators.
This process has transcended fake profiles in comment sections: to the shady days of Spillit.me and Ask.fm; the rise and fall of Yik-Yak; and the transition to the now infamous Facebook pages with Google Docs – now in multiple iterations due to the anonymous administrators graduating. The pages act as a time capsule for ‘sh*t-posting’ students, and the ever-present blend of sarcasm, wit, edge, drama, and depression. While most of it is harmless, and much of it funny, the constant stream of posts suggests ignoble catharsis that shouldn’t be taken seriously.
However, a problem may arise when posts are read out of context and confirm the biases that many will hold about students in general, and particularly St Andrews students. Which, besides giving everyone a good laugh and opportunity to joke about Oxbridge, Dundee, or the ‘other’ one, still reflects badly upon us and makes us look childish on one hand, and apathetic to ‘real’ problems on the other.
More importantly, however, is the fact that anonymity fragments student discourse and limits any practical debate about important factors affecting students living here by promoting a ‘shout into the void’ approach that relies on achieving enough comments to stick around and be seen before disappearing to an avalanche of BOP suggestions and their critics.
There are more effective forums of change than these Facebook pages, and I’d like to see more people using them. Hopefully, the existence of this section improves the situation.
Why change the colour of the paper?
The Saint is blue. It works. And it has worked. It does not need to change. Why make it red?
The colour of St Andrews’ gowns perhaps, but you might as well choose green, the colour of golf courses…
If you want to change something, go back to charging 50p for the paper.
It’s not as if there is any competition after all.
On another note, the addition of a Letters to the Editor page is much appreciated.
It saves the effort of writing an opinion article to critique the opinions of the editorials.