*We do not apologise for the pun and full credit goes to Jono Hibberd.
By Dan Morrison and Sharlene Gandhi
A couple of months in, and everything seems to have gone just about to plan. We thought we would take this opportunity to thank you for your interest, engagement and encouragement so far, and let you know how we think it has gone and what we are planning for the near future.
We created Foreword because we feel somewhat unsatisfied by modern media. Not only are websites like The Tab dragging the reputation of student writing and journalism through the mud, but even mainstream media channels cannot help but lean towards sensationalism, favouring quantity of viewers/ readers over quality of content. For example, in late May, five students at Lancaster University were rushed to hospital after taking a mysterious drug known as ‘Spice’. The day after, Sky News and ITN, amongst others, rocked up on campus; needless to say, these media outlets had little regard for the privacy of the students who were in a critical condition, nor their friends, nor for the many final year students who were in the middle of their exams at this point in the year. But of course young people taking drugs was scandalous enough to increase ratings and revenues. The use of the people showed a fundamental lack of respect for them and their friends, used as a means to an end.
Back to Foreword, we are chuffed to buggery with all the FaceTube likes and nice things people have said to us. The likes and these conversations have helped us build a fairly round picture of what has and hasn’t worked so far. So thank you, particularly for pointing out what can be improved.
The willingness of you lot to show us what and how to improve has, in its own paradoxical way, been one of the most positive aspects. We reckon the world would be better if everyone talked openly and honestly, something we are trying to encourage with the monologues, for example. Criticism should always be encouraged, so I am glad the people feel comfortable enough to tell us when something isn’t working.
The anonymous monologues seem to have gone down pretty well, both from the writer’s and reader’s perspective- we have struggled to keep up with the level of monologues we have received. The aim of them is to open up on some difficult times and topics whilst growing, so the holders of such experiences can explain and help the ignorant understand, as well giving the writers an outlet for expression. As part of the ignorant, we are beginning to understand more. The overwhelming majority of monologue contributors appreciate the anonymity, so we think this has worked well. Given our conversations with people more qualified than ourselves to speak, the anonymity will remain.
We took a brief break over exams but have a long summer of Foreword-ing ahead of us, with plans to secure funding. We also have some unmentionable long-term dreams for Foreword too, but we’ll be taking one step at a time. Above all, we would like people to engage and contribute, whether that is by writing an article or a series of articles, sending us an anonymous monologue, or producing something more creative for our Mirth section. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.
Thank you to all those who have contributed, shared, tweeted and retweeted Foreword’s content for the last month and a bit. We’re not done spamming your News Feeds just yet.
We are also more than happy to receive feedback on the website; you can contact either one of us through Facebook, Twitter (@5050Morrison or @Sharlene_Gandhi), email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com), or a good, old-fashioned letter (except we don’t have an address…).