The media has played an important role in keeping us informed throughout the pandemic. Thanks to your kind donations to the Aberdeen Alumni Annual Fund, Scotland’s oldest student newspaper, The Gaudie, went from strength to strength. We hear from editors in chief, Anttoni James Numminen and Amy Smith.
We requested funding to ensure the continuity of Scotland’s oldest student newspaper, The Gaudie, in the midst of a global pandemic. This had a clear emphasis on moving to a strong online and multimedia presence. We also sought to enhance the journalistic experience The Gaudie Student Newspaper provides to the University community through reporting and highlighting of student voices, holding power to account and providing valuable experience and training to students. We also requested funding for certain supplies which would allow for a safe return to the office, however, due to unforeseen Covid developments, this has not yet been possible.
The funding received from the Development Trust and its donors was used for a highly important multi-tier initiative to upgrade and modernise The Gaudie’s online presence as well as to improve the quality of multimedia, on the ground reporting for which we are already well known.
This allowed us to finalise the vital upgrade of our website to a new platform, to purchase necessary editing tools to be used from home, enabling us to continue publishing in a newspaper format, as well as increasingly relevant online marketing resources for social media.
In addition, technical kit such as tripods and microphones went hand-in-hand with other upgrades and will allow us to provide even more professional looking reportage once we hopefully return to campus in September 2021. Safety is also an extremely high priority for us, from office work to in the field reporting, and as such, funding for Covid PPE for a planned safe return to The Gaudie’s on-campus office will also come in highly useful.
More specifically, we were able to increase the outreach of our social media pages from several hundred views a month to several thousand, in some cases multiple thousand views/clicks per article. The fully upgraded website has allowed us to create a far more streamlined experience as well as allowing us to post more than just text, such as large images, videos, imbedded external sites, tweets, and much more. The use of the editing programme has also enabled us to keep producing a regular, bi-weekly publication in newspaper format (online on Issuu), staying true to our roots of almost nine decades.
Social media has meant that we have not only been able to promote the newspaper and our articles far more widely, with considerable success, we have also been able to advertise the multiple events and podcasts to a large proportion of the University community. These have included an election husting, a panel discussion of the No Detriment Policy, multiple podcasts as well as Vox Pops and so on. Most recently, we have used the online marketing funding to promote to students the opportunity of contributing to The Gaudie’s graduation edition; this reached over 3,000 people in one day with numerous new students asking to contribute to that edition (edition published 5 July 2021).
Thanks to funding from the Development Trust and its donors, most of the initiatives outlined above were made possible, thus making sure that one of the University’s defining institutions was able to continue operating successfully.
We are particularly grateful for the continued support of our online and multimedia projects as this has allowed us to reach more students than ever before – both readers and contributors - but it has also helped promote The Gaudie and The University of Aberdeen on a national level. Thanks to this funding, The Gaudie was shortlisted for Best Website at the prestigious Student Publication Association’s national awards ceremony this year.
The Gaudie will also be able to finally purchase much needed technical equipment from tripods to LED ring lights and microphones, to enable more professional looking and sounding (multimedia) coverage, online and in print, once a return to our office is made possible.
The Gaudie would like to express its most sincere thanks to all the donors who kindly made this funding a reality.
Student media outlets across the country, including The Gaudie, are facing unprecedented economic and political challenges on various levels. Regardless of this, The Gaudie has continued to provide accurate, timely and award-winning coverage throughout and after the Covid-19 lockdowns and pandemic to the whole University of Aberdeen community (and even further). While providing valuable coverage of local news, international affairs, and multicultural artistic developments is one of our primary objectives, we also pride ourselves in acting as a platform for students to develop their skills and move into professional journalism. As such, we have provided a space for students to try out writing, editing, photography and many more transferable skills, all the while ensuring that The Gaudie continues to be a source of world-class journalists who go on to work for some of the most respected media outlets in the world.
This has only been possible thanks to the highly generous donations made by valued donors. Thank you – you should be proud of yourselves for supporting quality student journalism in a post-truth age!
If you would like to donate to the Aberdeen Alumni Fund and support projects like this, please click here.