Megan Downing


14 April 2015 21:13

A SPANCing good time for student journalists

11025859_786148134801770_3715068800973510089_oPlease excuse the awful pun in the title, I couldn’t resist it! As you may have guessed, I’m referring to the hilariously named Student Publication Association National Conference (or SPANC for short). This year it was hosted in our very own union here at University of Southampton, bringing SPANC back to it’s roots three years on from its formation.

This weekend saw more than 100 student journalists flock from all corners of the UK to learn from industry professionals and to network with their future colleagues. We had speakers such as Paula O’Shea, Simon O’Hagan and Alastair Reid taking about their careers in journalism, imparting their knowledge to an eager audience of budding journalists.

Alongside the keynotes and training sessions, the weekend was a great opportunity for student journalists to network with each other and share their experiences – this was particularly apt in the debate we hosted on censorship and working with universities and students’ unions. Sharing stories and tips on how to deal with problems is one of the main reasons for hosting the conference and I feel that the delegates, myself included, took a lot away from that session.

It wouldn’t be a national conference without a swanky awards night thrown in the mix. On Saturday evening everyone dressed up in their best suits and dresses, and headed down to The Bridge for a night to remember. With a 1920s Speakeasy theme, The Bridge was transformed – jazz band included! We celebrated the work of student journalists across the country, and our very own Wessex Scene and Hannah Mylrea Hemmings (Records Editor for The Edge) were both highly commended in the awards. The awards were hosted by our very own Chief Executive, Scott McCarthy, whose jokes went down a treat.

Overall it was a fantastic weekend, I hope the delegates enjoyed it as much as I did. A big shout out to the SPA committee and all the hard working volunteers from Southampton that grafted over the weekend, I couldn’t have pulled it off without you. After months and months of planning, it all paid off – now onto SPANC16 and another great year for student journalism!


My Southampton team and I!


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