During my time at university I founded Sheffield Hallam’s student newspaper. I completed four issues and set up the website in 6 months, and solidified HNews as the core of Hallam’s student media.

Check out the website: http://hubsmedia.co.uk/

Issue 4 – The one I am most proud of.

Everything I do with this paper is a learning process. How to get people to do work on time, how to handle printing, how to get people on your side, how to convince someone, how to chair a meeting, how to be a leader. All of the previous issues were plagued with problems that I simply had to figure out ways to deal with. 

This time, with the help of the feedback, I took an entirely different approach. I built a team, not just a group of people interested in writing, but an actual team who shared the responsibility of the papers production with me. I took power away from myself and gave it to others. And it worked.

This paper, although still limited by budget constraints and so unable to be printed in colour, is the best one we have made so far. I took on the design advice from multiple different sources, I specifically sent people to cover events, I encouraged students to go out and find their own stories – which was very successful – and I overall improved every aspect of the paper.

The final product looks very different from the previous editions, but this is because of all of the work I did behind the scenes, all of the lessons I learnt, all of the structures I had built; it all culminated in a professional production process, something I am very proud of.

Issue 3 – Finally, some professional feedback!

This issue was plagued with problems. What started as an enthusiastic begingging quickly died out. Students don’t do voluntary work experience lighlty. Furthermore I was also extremely busy and the 20+ hours a week I was putting into the paper was extremely taxing; especially as a lot of it was behind the scenes finance meetings, budget planning, structure building, and general arguing. 

However, something good did happen with this issue. I attracted the attention of a few professional journalists. One of them was a lecturer at Hallam and with the others – all worked at local stations – they sat me down and gave me feedback on everything I’d done so far and how I should move forward. 

The meeting with several journalists also helped me to further my contacts, I now had a network established at every major nightclub, several restaurants, and multiple political parties. 

We were on the up, but there was still work to do and still so so much more to learn.

Issue 2 – The colour drive

This issue was really where things started to take off. I had to develop structures of leadership, designate roles and overall create a team. Everything up until this point had been me doing 90% of the work, with other people providing articles. Now I had deputy editors and specialise section teams. This is why I chose to do the second issue as a full colour print due to the huge amount of interest the first issue had created, I wanted to show all of the interested new people what we could produce whilst also creating a document that I could take the university and then request more funding. 

However, this issue was not without problems, with every step forward I took there was new mistakes that I could make. My knowledge of newspaper design was limited, everything I did was without guidance, looking back at the front page now I see so many mistakes. But that is why I started this, this is what university is for, learning. 

This issue was a success, the union finally gave me their full support and they gave me permission to build a website and keep on expanding. This issue also led the university to put forward funding to pay for a media suite, something Sheffield Hallam had been sorely lacking.

Issue 1 – The controversial relaunch

The first issue of the 2016/2017 academic year had to stand out. It just had to. I knew I had to cater to an audience and appeal to as many people as possible. It was pretty easy to guess the political leaning of the study body in a left-wing northern city studying at a poly. Nothing unites students more than railing against the government, and a love of swearing.

This issue marked a major change in the way I managed the paper. I was no longer the main writer, I was the editor. I collected articles, listened to the ideas of my writers, and generally lead a team. 2000 copies of this issue was printed and they were all taken. However, I was frustrated by my budgetary restrictions. I thought I could do a lot with £1000, I couldn’t, I could barely afford the most basic printing, and so black and white had to do. 

After the summer and getting started again.

Issue 3 was the last issue of HNews I produced during the 2015/2016 academic year. Over the summer I worked with the university to prepare for a proper launch, thus far everything that I produced had been a solo project, a few other people had helped me out, but it was mostly me. The university wanted me to produce a 12 page paper ever two weeks. So, I had to recruit, I hosted a stall at the fresher fair, I sent emails around to all of the head of departments trying to find people who’d be interested, I got the union to produce adverts for me. All of this recruiting resulted in about 20 people turning up to the first official HNews content meeting.​​ It was great to see my little project growing. 

By early October 2016 we I was ready to launch, the union gave me £1000 to do with as I pleased, I started setting up contacts across the city, and I kept on recruiting. What had started as an experiment into journalism was beginning to look a lot like starting a business, at least that was how it felt anyway.

Issue 3 – getting my head around InDeisgn.

The first two issues were done entirely by me, designed on publisher and were in black and white. By the time of my final issue which came out on the 24/04/2016 I’d gathered enough support from students and the union to move from main writer to editor, although half of the articles are still written by me.  This issue was also produced on real newsprint paper to give the piece a proper newspaper feel. 

The main problems I faced with this issue was progressing from Publisher to the much more complicated InDeisgn, as I was now on a deadline that was no longer set by myself I taught myself the ins and outs of InDesign and produced all four pages in a single 20 hour long session one cold Sunday.  

Since producing this issue I’ve played around with InDesign creating potential different designs for HNews and further enhancing my skills with the software. 

A whole array of different articles

Nearly everything on the central broadsheet was written by me. The central premise of my newspaper is: Hallam news, Sheffield news, Student news – in that order. 

For this section, I conducted an interview with the unions education officer discussing the NUS and attended a Junior Doctors rally outside of a local hospital. 

Featured articles

The cover and back page were dedicated to the 2016 Varisty, in which the University of Sheffield won for the third year in a row; all of the articles written about the different sporting events were written by different writers and edited by me. 

I also created the tally on the left hand side of the back page that showed the overall score for the event. 

 Issue 2 Attempting a real paper

This issue was a cross between a trial and a full blown attempt. Still designed on Publisher, in black and white, and mostly written by me; I printed 200 copies at my own expense, my design skills weren’t enhanced with this issue much from the previous attempt. However where my skills did increase was through networking and acquiring a team, by the time this was printed I had 3 writers and a member of staff covering all of the admin for me. 

This issue covered a candle lit vigil for the the 2016 terrorist attack in Brussels, junior doctors and steel crisis’s and also local Sheffield sport. 

I have actually managed to lose my only copy of the first issue I ever made, there was only 50 printed and I designed it on Publisher, I’ll be completely honest and say it was pretty rubbish. But it was a start.