Banwar Jesticles (kankurette) wrote in swp_watch,
Banwar Jesticles

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Manchester's student paper is in trouble.

You may recall I whinged on here a few months back about the I-Soc / SWSS slate taking over our Union. Well, one of my fears was confirmed - the Student Direct editor has abused his position already.
The newspaper has been transformed into a propaganda machine for the Islamic Society and Socialist Worker's Society. Almost each story, news or opinion, is geared to a heavily left-wing agenda, with no attempt at balanced reporting or balanced coverage of student views. The editor has not been available in the office at all for the first three weeks, leaving his editorial team to put the entire paper together while he hangs out smoking with his chums. This absence has led to massive revenue losses on advertising, and put enormous strain on everyone trying to produce the newspaper. On the rare occasions he is in the office he is surrounded by bodyguards who refuse to let anyone speak directly to him, and most recently he sacked two of the strongest members of the editorial team via text message for simply expressing political views he disagreed with, and replaced them with his (untrained) friends. The letters to the editor page is a joke, printing entirely positive letters from his pals and refusing to print any of the (scores) of complaints the first issue sparked. Quite simply, Student Direct has turned into a totalitarian state, where dissent is remedied with instant dismissal and only a fringe minority of views are permitted airing. The atmosphere in the office is terrifyingly intimidating, and it is clear from reading the paper that it has not been checked once by the editor (glaring headline typos, repeated stories on the same page), a fact testified by the editorial team. Quite frankly Student Direct is an utter disgrace, and a laughing stock of a publication that anyone associated with the university should be ashamed to call their own.
Further to that, many of the most popular parts of the paper, such as the sex column, crossword, tv listings have all been cut, the former due to the political/religious beliefs of the editor and his backers, and the latter due to the effort required to produce these sections, and the fact that he skipped his training session over the summer regarding drawing up tv listings.

The TV listings are back, however, the music section has been dropped. After Ben and James were sacked, other members of the team walked out in protest, and the paper is basically being written for by Sajid's cronies and various freshers. More seriously, it was recently discovered by lettersfade that Sajid had been plagiarising letters and articles from other sources and claiming them as his own, or as having been written by Manchester students. As the students here will know, plagiarism is a very serious offence and can get your arse booted out of uni if you're found nicking other people's work. The Save Student Direct group on Facebook, on which all of this was posted, has been gaining attention in local papers, as well as Gair Rhydd (the notorious Cardiff paper, which Sajid totally slagged off in his first column over the cartoon debacle).
We are considering taking this to a general meeting, but we're undecided as to whether Sajid should be made to resign, or just called out and ordered to do his damned job. Also, one thing that worries me is that one article about this ended up at the notoriously right-wing and anti-Muslim Frontpage magazine, with lots of comments from readers about how the evil jihadists are taking over the UK and so forth, and the last thing anyone - especially the Jewish Society - wants is this becoming a religious issue.
I'm not pissed off because he's a Muslim and I'm a Jew. I'm pissed off because he's the editor of a paper that used to be good, and he's turning it into wank.
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