Monday, 14 December 2009

Can The Vervezine Survive?

Last week the magazine's editorial and writing team met in an angry face-off after the Communications Officer usurped the Editor's role.

Staff attacked the Communications Officer, Rishi Pancholi, for his role in the magazine's failure to publish any issues this semester. The meeting ended with the compromise to elect the new editor and work through issues after the election.

Visibly disappointed with Rishi's explanations for managerial failures, Steve stood in front of the team, accepted shared blame and announced his resignation. Rishi then stated that he would appoint a new editor, a measure met with howls of outrage.

In the end he compromised with an election by email. There would be open nominations from across the university, with the staff to vote for their choice.

Staff later received an email stating that the Student Council would have to select an editor. The elections would still be held, but the editor would only be in place for one month, equivalent to one issue.
In the name of democracy, I didn't realise that the procedure for electing an editor would be so complicated and now I have to forward the official election for the Editor to the next Student Council Meeting in Feb 2010.
- Rishi Panchol
Rishi apologised again, blaming the university:
I really do apologise if the whole Student Council thing upsets you. At the end of the day the University have really oppressed and segregated the Students' Union and if you also feel this way then please join us on Tuesday at 4pm outside the Moorgate Building to protest for their resignation.
- Rishi Pancholi
The response was quick and furious, with staff questioning the Council's authority to appoint an Editor, given that the Vervezine is not on the Student Union's list of societies or Constitution.

One staff member wrote to Rishi, saying:
[...]I personally feel that you have let us down. I remember a short while ago you apologised to us for your mistakes and feeling that you genuinely were going to put in some more professional input. The past week has shown us that not only are you not going back on your promise, but losing our trust more and more with your ridiculous attitude.
(Used with permission)
Staff are threatening to leave en masse, citing anger at the lack of action to date, an unwillingness to settle for a political appointee and anger at having nothing to show after a semester's work. In addition, London Met Watch has been told that the university may withdraw funding if the magazine does not publish.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

A Very Quiet Coup?

Rumours of an editorial coup have rocked the student body's monthly publication, the Vervezine.

The magazine, which has not printed any issues this semester due to a number of technical and managerial problems, will definitely not print anything until after Christmas.

In a surprise move the Communications Officer, Rishi Pancholi, has also replaced Editor Steve Gray. Rishi indicated to members of staff that Steve had chosen to leave on Thursday night, the final deadine for printing.

When asked about his decision, Steve denied having given up editorship, claining that "he [Rishi] hasn't said a word to me".

"I think I'm going to have to take over." - Rishi Pancholi

When asked why the magazine would not be published, Rishi claimed that the layout was not printable. When asked, Layout Editor Victor Delveccio confirmed that the magazine was essentially ready to go.

When asked abotu this, Rishi then claimed that the piece had to go through checking by the university. He alleged that Student Support Officer Eddie Rowley had committed "censorship" by removing a piece about the university's financial crisis. We have emailed Mr. Rowley regarding this claim and will update once he responds after the weekend.

Discussions with Vervezine staff make it clear that this is the last straw. Complaints include the failure to publish their work, the feeling that journalism students' specialist skills are not being taken seriously and concerns about the lack of a process to select the editor.

(Declaration of Interest: The writer is also a member of the Vervezine team.)