So where am I now? On Friday, something amazing happened – in amongst the election chaos and uncertainty, we sent our magazine to print. A magazine we’d been working on since February, having had the initial idea as early as November, following a three hour Trump rant. Who needs to learn about financing magazines when there’s politics to talk about?
It was either a stoke of genius or luck, or simply the timing was write, that we gelled so well as a group and chose politics – something that with 72% of young people turning out to vote, showing that young people are interested, want to talk about it and most importantly are determined to be listened to. This was clear when I attended the Corbyn rally in Gateshead, when over 5,000 people packed into the area outside the Sage, and he directly addressed young people. Everyone from all walks of life were there, young, old, from all faiths and with disabilities – uniting for change. Young people who I interviewed for a piece following the Corbyn rally (that features in the magazine), demonstrated that they feel empowered now more than ever to get involved. Our magazine has, since more political events have unfolded over recent months gone from strength to strength and become more relevant than ever. The election wasn’t on the cards back in February, we were going along the lines of a ‘ year on from Brexit special’ but since events have changed, as with all good journalism – so has our magazine. We now have a whole general election coverage section to reflect that. We’ve also written about disabilities, mental health, body positivity, super heroes, protest music and millennial nostalgia. Many of our sources have been politicians, lords or celebrities, but we’ve also interviewed activists and young people who have a story to tell and deserve to be in the magazine too.
On Friday we (I wouldn’t say woke up) as we were up, the most one of us got was five hours sleep, closely followed by two hours and then the rest of us stayed up all night. I’ve certainly realised that I can’t deal with all nighters like I used to, how I managed to stay up playing tunes and then walk to breakfast at Folkworks Summer School, before a long day of playing fiddle is beyond me.
This week has been a long week, when we practically moved into the media hub, finishing articles, working on design and sourcing images. We’ve sacrificed food and sleep, and any social life we once knew for something that’s turned out to be quite special. On the night of the election three of the team were in the hub, working on design, following events and live tweeting to write an election night timeline, whilst Steph and I were out interviewing people. Steph went to the Sunderland count and I was tracking down MP’s. Off the cuff interviews, on one of the most intense election nights in years when you’re sleep deprived is quite something. Siarlot our designer was forced to go home at around 4am to get some sleep because we needed her genius skills in the morning. The rest of us soldiered on, following the live coverage and writing up interviews.
By morning we were all exhausted, but three of us arrived at uni early to get this magazine finished and to print. It was, if anything a good distraction from the terrifying possible DUP/Tory deal. As I headed in, and the taxi driver was telling me how sorry he felt for May and some equally appalling views that I must have blanked out, I knew that the day ahead would be the longest but probably the most important of this MA. It was intense, and tiredness only made things longer but more funny. It took three of us to work out where a comma should go in a sentence, and twice as long to sub edit. On one occasion I told everyone to shut up, because I kept reading the same sentence over and over again and getting nowhere. We got there though, and designer Siarlot was on top form.
Up until now journalism has been a fairly solitary experience, yes I’ve had to speak to people but it’s always been up to me to get the articles written and submitted. This magazine happened because a team of people came together who all have very different strengths and interests, that we’ve all learned so much from. Since I started this MA I’ve discovered more about spears and historical re-enactments and hip hop. Having a friend who owns a bow and arrow is possibly scary but brilliant at the same time. Lee’s journalism is based on hip hop, even managing a entire news module around it which is pretty impressive. Then there’s Steph who’s heavily involved in LGBTQ+ rights, has a wealth of political knowledge and constantly feeds us chocolate and finally Hannah who is basically a walking encyclopaedia of films. We’ve become a good team and stronger friends through this magazine, that wouldn’t have happened without any of us being part of it. Just after five on Friday the magazine went to print, with Steph and I on tenter hooks in case anything went wrong. Thankfully the hub didn’t collapse, the computer didn’t explode and after a last minute front cover panic, it all went to plan. In a week we will have a physical magazine to show for the months of hard work, being able to say “I made that” will be a great feeling.
I know that I haven’t shut up about Stand Up, since the project began. There’s a reason for that, that makes this magazine more than just a means to get through a university module. To pass semester two we certainly didn’t need to make a 68 page magazine, run a social media and crowdfunding campaign or facilitate a debate. We decided to go beyond what was expected of us because we felt so strongly that our project had to give young people a platform. I’m deeply proud by what we’ve achieved, and excited to see it in print. This MA has been one of the best decisions I’ve made that has been well worth sacrificing sleep and food for. I know people who have ran marathons, and this certainly feels like the marathon of journalism.
In the words of one of the young people I interviewed; “It’s about making sure that your views and your needs are being heard and being met. You cannot always rely on others to represent your interests – sometimes you have to be in the room making the points, or outside the room making the noise.”
We hope that Stand Up strikes a chord with young people, and that our journalism makes people think and listen to those who have often been forgotten or shut out from politics.
“For the many, not the few,” as Corbyn would say.
Next Friday we launch our magazine to the world.
We did it!
If you’d like to order a copy of Stand Up Magazine, you can do so here.