Vice President Communications and Media: Interviews and Analysis

[Laura Slingo & Tom Boon | Elections Team]

 

The Elections Team offered interviews to candidates on a first-come first-served basis, as slots were limited.

 

The Role

The Vice President Communications and Media leads Trident Media and makes sure students know all about the SU’s services and events. In this role, VP will act as Editor-in-Chief of Trident Media and oversee the direction of Marketing and Communications. They will also work with the University to ensure their communications work for students.

 

The Candidates

A.S.M. Ariful Khan – Storm Herts

Steve Judd – OneUH

Alex Jungeling – FRESH Herts

Shelby Loasby – SHOW HERTS

Vicky Nhu Yen Pham – Storm Herts

 

A.S.M. Ariful Khan – Storm Herts

Storm Herts scheduled an interview with Trident Media, however, they failed to show up on the day, with the Presidential candidate saying he was unaware that his team had scheduled the interview.

A.S.M. Ariful Khan states in his manifesto that he is the President of the Bangladesh Society in addition to being the In-chair of the UH socialist society, proving that he has experience within the SU and in positions of authority.

He is standing for the position of VP Comms and Media because he wishes ‘to implement certain policies to improve the services of this sector’. It is questionable however what he means by ‘sector’ as the role of VP Comms and Media deals with communication on a student and university level rather than part of the nation’s economy. It is also worth noting that there is a minor spelling error with ‘VP Coms & Media’ in Khan’s manifesto, a worrying slip-up for a potential Editor-in-Chief.

Khan attempts to persuade students in his ‘why vote for me’ section, stating that he is ‘capable of multi-tasking consistently and effectively’ and ‘in touch with every day students regularly’ – it’s possible he actually means ‘in touch with students regularly, every day’. He also claims: ‘I know exactly what students want’. This is all very well, but Khan fails to provide any evidence for these claims, and does not link these attributes to the position of VP Comms and Media. It is strange that he does not mention whether he is a member of Trident Media or not.

His first manifesto point addresses an app for Trident Media. Within this point he discusses the aim to host ‘live telecasts of big events’ and then ‘be able to watch this live telecast from mobile or laptop through this app’. To begin with, it is no secret that apps cost thousands to produce and then maintain; something that is not feasible in the current Trident Media budget, especially when broadcasting live events. There is a tremendous amount of effort needed regarding video, crew, etc. for every event, then there is the logistics and legalities with live streaming and on top of this there is the price in developing app technology.

Khan also wishes to ‘increase awareness’ of Crush Radio and Crush Underground ‘as well as increasing student activities involved with these shows’. While it is an excellent idea to promote student radio shows, Khan seems to be unaware that Crush Underground is closing and being made into a producing studio – as mentioned in Trident Media’s official Media Forum and  Student Council.

In addition, his manifesto addresses ‘Love Shows’ where Khan intends to ‘arrange a blind date program’. This seems more like a project for a student within Trident Media rather than a responsibility for the VP.

Khan also talks of ‘Award Programs’ – yes there is a spelling error here, too. He states: ‘I would like to create an award program were all awarded students of various prizes and trophies would be undertake an interview of how they feel to be awarded of their specific prize or position’. After a little unpicking, it seems Khan wants to set-up an award programme for Trident Media members for their contribution. The Trident Media Awards already exist.

 

Steve Judd – OneUH

It is unfortunate the OneUH submitted a group manifesto with only three bullet points for each candidate. While it is impactful and easy to read, more detail is desired.

Judd’s first point is ‘Trident Media at the forefront of the SU’. As VP Comms and Media is the Editor-in-Chief of Trident Media, this seems like a fair and achievable aim. One can presume that Judd may wish to market Trident Media more effectively in order to achieve this aim, but the question is how?

Judd’s second manifesto point is ‘Paid correspondents’. Trident Media members dedicate a large number of voluntary hours and so having a paid role would be a just reward. The SU already offers rewards for ‘media recognition’, for example, publishing an article and presenting a radio show. There may be bursaries or scholarships available to pay members for their work, but this would be the only potential option as there is not enough money in the Trident Media budget to pay members. So far this year, Print has had to stop printing newspapers and magazines early and resort to placing them online because of budget cuts.

The final manifesto point is ‘Bringing the SU to you’. While this statement is vague, it suggests that Judd wishes to market Trident Media more effectively so that students are aware of the society. The only question, again, is how?

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Alex Jungeling – FRESH Herts

Alex Jungeling was interviewed with her slate, and as such had a shorter interview than other candidates.

Alex Jungeling claims that she is the ideal candidates for VP Comms and Media because ‘joining media was one of the first things [she] did at University’. As a result she has ‘grown and learnt with Trident’, suggesting that she would know how to guide the society, a key responsibility of the VP.

Jungeling’s first two manifesto points seem very similar: ‘Improving communication between the University, union and students’ and ‘Officer communication to Students’. She explained how these points are two separate aims in the interview. Jungeling comments:

“The first point is that a lot of people don’t realise that the elected officers are working for the Union, but their actual role is to be a representative of the students. So they are essentially still students, they are the ones who are talking to the University, to the Union, trying to get things done that students need to tell them about. And the communication with officers is more – I know coming from past VP Comms and Medias – is that their role involves helping the other officers get their things out there, helping them communicate with the students as well, using things that – like media – to get whatever they want to out there.”

Another point of Jungeling’s is ‘Increased promotion of Student and Athletic Union events and achievements’. Trident Media asked Jungleing what the priority is, as she wants to promote ‘societies, volunteers groups and sports teams’: “It links with the point of communication with elected officers, specifically focusing, say, on Student Activities. Being involved in so many volunteering things, societies, all of that stuff, I know that their achievements and work isn’t often put out there in any way. So, like the screens around campus, just as an example, there’s no reason, typically with the AU, fixtures could be up every week, results can be put up.”’

While obviously it is great news for students to have their achievements recognised and advertised, there is the issue of how this is going to happen. The SU only have access to four slots the TV screens about campus and the University own the rest. Trident Media asked how she intends to persuade the University and what is the plan: “Obviously asking for more slots on the screens, but the University are hard to persuade. But it’s also a matter of rotation. So people, it would only have to change certain days. So one day a week the fixtures could go up, they don’t have to be on a daily basis […] You can sort of switch it round so the SU varies what they have rather than four specific things.”

Jungleing proved in interview that she was aware of the many changes within Trident Media as claimed in point four of her manifesto, such as the confirmed move to one radio station. It is worth noting though that there is a grammatical error within point four: ‘I am aware of a many changes’ –something to be wary of as potential Editor-in-Chief.

Jungleing was also asked what she would do differently with Trident Media over the next year and what her vision is. She states: “People don’t know [about Trident Media] – Crush Radio they don’t know is linked with Trident, UniVerse,  they don’t realise is the University newspaper, so getting all those things sort of, together as a collective, rather than as individual outlets […] However that’s done, obviously it would have to be discussed. You can’t just say I’m going to brand it as this. Bringing them all under one thing is going to have to be the way forward.” She also went on to explain that she wants societies to make more use of Trident Media. she believes it “could really help kick-start that RAG week.”

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Shelby Loasby – SHOW HERTS

Shelby Loasby was interviewed with her slate, and as such had a shorter interview than other candidates.

Shelby Loasby is a final year History and Spanish student. She claims she is appropriate for the role of VP Comms and Media, as she says she is: “Head of Print for Trident Media, a presenter on Trident Media’s TV and a co-host on Crush Radio’s BlondieBrownie show.”

In her manifesto, Loasby said “I aim to develop Trident Media into a fully collaborative media outlet, promoting Trident as a unified brand”. This seems like a fairly solid campaign point, as it shouldn’t be too difficult to rebrand the Trident outlets, as it would mean more people would know what Trident Media is, as opposed to Crush Radio, UniVerse, or Union TV.

For her second manifesto point, Loasby says “Everyone uses their phone, so it’s about time we developed an app that incorporates news and activities that happen around campus.”

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Vicky Nhu Yen Pham – Ace of Herts

In Vicky Nhu Yen Pham’s manifesto, she claims that she has ‘hands-on experience in Communication and Media’. Pham goes on to support this claim, stating that she ‘had the chance to work with BBC television centre in London during Media Studies at A Level’. She also states that she has worked with ‘2 big global companies in HR’ that required ‘excellent communication skill’.

Pham believes that students should vote for her because of her experience in the field, attempting to persuade students by stating ‘I am memorable and useful for your future through my role’. While she may have industry experience, unfortunately her manifesto is littered with grammatical errors and she does not claim to have been a member of Trident Media.

Pham recognises that creating employability opportunities is vital for students. In her manifesto she states that she wishes to work closely with Careers, Employment and Enterprises to ‘create more events and platforms for students to connect with employers’. One of her examples is ‘help building up with LinkedIn’. While helping students to create a LinkedIn account is a great idea, Careers already offer this service and so the specifics of developing student employability opportunities is unclear.

Her third manifesto point refers to Trident Media. She states that she wishes to ‘strengthen the link between students and aid more growth’. It is not quite clear if Pham means to strengthen the link between the students members of Trident Media, or the link between students and the University through the media that Trident publishes, or, indeed, something else entirely. In addition, it is not clear if she wants to aid the growth of Trident Media, or aid the growth of the relationship between students.

Pham’s final manifesto point is: ‘Gain more opinions from students on future development and improvements through social media.’ While student feedback is valuable and social media is probably the optimum way to gain it, she does not specify what she is trying to develop or improve.

 

You can vote online now at www.hertfordshire.su/vote. Have you seen campaigning around campus? Let us know your thoughts at @TridentMediaUK on Twitter #HERTSSUVOTE.

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Vice President Communications and Media: Interviews and Analysis