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York Vision in print again ahead of ratification vote

Copies of the latest edition of York Vision. Image: The Yorker
Copies of the latest edition of York Vision. Image: The Yorker

York Vision returned to print earlier this week, defying students’ expectations that the newspaper was destined to collapse.

Last weekend, a small team of York Vision journalists, assisted voluntarily by former members of the newspaper and advised by experienced current members of student media, put together a new, printed edition of the paper.

A final draft of the new edition was finished between 1am – 2am on Wednesday this week, The Yorker understands.

The 265th edition of York Vision reports on the campus Labour Club’s Annual General Meeting, student delegates’ occupation of the stage at the National Conference of the National Union of Students (NUS) and the shortage of cheese at Vanbrugh College’s postgraduate wine and cheese evenings.

York Vision‘s return to print challenges the view of Amelia Hubbard, York Vision‘s former Editor-in-Chief, who announced in a letter of resignation last week that “no amount of dedication or commitment” could save the newspaper.

“We’re thrilled that Vision is back in print. The hard work of the editorial team over the past six days has paid off,” Josh Mackenzie, York Vision‘s Managing Director, told The Yorker. “We hope that the passion and commitment that’s gone into making this issue possible will continue after tonight’s AGM, regardless of who wins.”

“We are all very happy to see Vision back in print,” Isaac Arnachellum-Owen, one of York Vision‘s Editors-in-Chief, agreed, “and feel that our hard work and long hours have resulted in an issue which we can be proud of.”

Although I have been in the role of Editor-in-Chief for just a week, I have seen the dedication that both writers and editors share and feel very lucky to have played a part getting Vision to print again. I look forward to the AGM tonight and hope that whoever is elected will continue the good work of the team.

Christopher Haley, York Vision‘s second Editor-in-Chief, added that he thought “we as a team have proven that good quality editions of York Vision can be produced, and that the paper has a future on our campus.”

However, the future of York Vision continues to hang in the balance as members consider a motion to de-ratify and end the student society at tonight’s Annual General Meeting.

An email sent to members last week announced that an AGM would be held on Friday of Week 3. Until this period, the Managing Director, Lucas North, would act as interim Editor-in-Chief. However, shortly afterward, North submitted a letter of resignation to the member of YUSU staff responsible for student media before the weekend, The Yorker understands.

North’s resignation, which left the society without the three signatories required for a society to be ratified to the Students’ Union, prompted a meeting on Heslington East on Friday 27th April. There, North and Hubbard, who resigned as Editor-in-Chief last week, argued with other members over whether the newspaper should terminate, radically reform or start afresh in a completely new format.

Soon to establish itself as the University of York’s tabloid newspaper, York Vision was founded in 1987. Originally a printed newspaper independent of the Students’ Union, York Vision was widely recognised as a conservative reaction to the supposedly left-wing Nouse of the era.

In recent years York Vision has suffered numerous organisational problems, including financial debts in the thousands and a membership crisis. The decision to keep the newspaper operational has not been well-received by some student journalists at York.

Following a meeting between the Editors of the ratified student publications, to which a correspondent of The Yorker was invited, the decision was made to let York Vision produce another printed edition. The Yorker‘s correspondent was later assured by a source close to student media that the newspaper was on its “last chance”.

Invited to comment before York Vision went to print, Myles Dunnett, co-Editor of The Lemon Press, told The Yorker earlier this week:

I find the most recent editorial resignation at York Vision particularly poignant: not only because the editor set out with the intention of reforming the publication, but because they now believe that it should not be continued. Even those that have led Vision can see that there is no future for it.

Whilst I would like to see a campus-based paper that carries out investigative journalism and brings stories to light, I am convinced that Vision lacks both the expertise and the drive necessary to achieve that goal. Any further stay of execution for Vision can only be viewed as a crass attempt by YUSU to build a legacy around a paper that has not been worthy of one for quite some time. Frankly, it’s time that Vision should be de-ratified for good; their rather large grant can then be redistributed to the other media societies on campus, all of whom continue to produce good content, and provide platforms for people to learn new skills.

The Yorker contacted Amelia Hubbard for comment. She told The Yorker:

A week to the day of my resignation York Vision went to print. I am aware that some believe that this invalidates my concerns regarding the future of Vision. I know that this was in fact the intention of some. However, I, like many others, believe that it only further illustrates the concerns that I expressed. The fact that a team of individuals, all co-opted to senior editorial roles, were able to act as signatories for an invoice which would have cost £500+, without having been elected by members further illustrates the extent of YUSU intervention. When you then consider that these individuals, acting now as Managing Director and Editors in Chief, were co-opted for an intended period of a single week, from last Friday to today, in order to ensure Vision was able to function administratively until the planned AGM, this becomes all the more concerning. In my opinion, these funds should have been reserved for an incoming elected Senior Editorial team to use, in consultation with members. YUSU should not have let such such constitutionally ambiguous practices take place, especially when it was under a week until the planned AGM. Once again though, this is a clear example of the leniency which has been shown to Vision by YUSU.

Given that the AGM is so close to the recent issue, should any of the current co-opted signatories choose to run, they’ll essentially have used YUSU funds to support their campaign. All of us within the media World know just how much of an achievement it is to be able to get to print, something which, following the recent Edition, certain individuals can now include in their election speeches. ‘You should vote for me because I managed to get Vision to print…’.

Members were not made aware that the ‘Editorial Team’ had decided to go to print (something which in itself is deeply problematic) and so once again a handful of individuals spent a whole weekend, without much sleep, scrambling to put together an issue. This is visible in the fact that, once again, various issues have been identified with the formatting of the Edition. Though I applaud the dedication of these individuals, the fact that they were able to get to print should not be considered as being indicative of a positive future for Vision. Ultimately, the future of Vision will depend on the performance of the incoming Editorial team. However, suppose those elected do not have the ability to spend whole weekends locked in Grimston House, or a friendship pool to call upon to act as writers, they will encounter the very problems that I detailed in my resignation letter. Also, in spite of this recent edition, I am conscious that YUSU intervention cannot last forever.

Copies of York Vision can be found on campus.

This article was amended to include Amelia Hubbard’s comment, which The Yorker received permission to publish after this article went online.