Nothing wrong with NUTS

At the apparent risk of ridicule and serious backlash, I’m going to write something controversial. I’m a fan of NUTS…

At the apparent risk of ridicule and serious backlash, I’m going to write something controversial. I’m a fan of Nottingham University Television Station. Obviously I’m not a fan of all of their content. Views on content are subjective and one show doesn’t represent the entire output of a media organisation, but as a concept, I’m a fan of NUTS.

What were formerly known as Student Run Services exist because they are considered an integral part of the student experience. NUTS provides a platform for its members to be creative, gain technical skills, industry standard experience and people management skills; all part of becoming a well-rounded individual. According to the University of Nottingham Student’s Union, SRS’s “exist for the benefit of all students not just their members.”

Now I can’t answer charges of something as esoteric as “clique-ness”, but I can present a few hard facts. NUTS has 154 paid up members who are engaged in creating content. This content has been viewed by 6,668 unique viewers on their website since the 1st of September.

Last year the number of overall unique visitors was 40,820. This obviously goes against certain assertions that ‘nobody watches it.’ Also, how large can a clique of members be before it’s not a clique anymore?

Maybe not so ‘cliquey’..

Something that seemed to have annoyed the author of the article ‘Are we Nuts about Nuts?’ was that spending inordinate sums of money on what is supposedly a tiny cabal of students had created a ‘fundraising black hole.’ Well allow me to put your mind at rest.

Annually NUTS is granted £5832, with which a website must be hosted and equipment maintained and bought. Perhaps even this amount sounds like a waste, but if we add up the cost of outsourcing the work that NUTS does for the SU on a yearly basis, including streaming varsity live, Fresher’s Address videos, graduation videos and SU campaign videos, then overall NUTS members save the SU thousands of pounds annually.

A sound recordist alone starts from £250 per day. The cost of labour, editing and equipment hire adds up very quickly. The cost of live streaming SU council alone, another service provided by NUTS, would be around £1,900 per council. *

The NUTS team working on ‘notts got talent’

The quality of NUTS content has been mentioned often in the comments below ‘Are we Nuts about Nuts?’ and I’m not here to defend every piece of broadcasting, but I’d perhaps be more forgiving in pointing out the fact that those involved in the station are amateurs- but surely everyone has to start somewhere.

Furthermore, the opinion of industry professionals who have commented on NUTS seems overwhelmingly positive, with presenter and actor Ore Oduba saying that NUTS has a “Great range of presenters involved, a lovely connectivity of the station on show and a fantastic range of programmes”. Paul Ryan, Head of Event Operations at ESPN also stated that NUTS varsity coverage had “outstanding presentation and event coverage which caught the excitement of the occasion.”

The National Student Television Association also issued this statement in response to the Tab’s article: ‘The purpose of student television is ultimately fun. It is an excellent experience for the people involved in the content creation process to learn and find opportunities in the industry. Student television is tailored to a student audience and one would hope that a student audience would be supportive.’

The comment of one reader, who gives their name only as ‘Andy’, is that ‘media’s a big bad world.’ This is true, and it’s one that many NUTS alumni have entered into, winning jobs in PR, artist management, BBC regional news, ITV entertainment and wildlife film making.  Even for those not interested in a career in the industry, the opportunity to develop important transferable skills is one that ought to be supported, not thoughtlessly condemned.

As a disclaimer, I’m not involved in NUTS and I never have been. However I’m a passionate believer in student opportunity and the SRS system. The idea that funding for something ought to be removed if it is not accessed by a majority of students or if its content is poor sets us on a slippery slope.

The dedication of students involved in the running of any society that they have a passion for is something to be celebrated. In my opinion, UoN students should be more worried about protecting the funding of their services over the coming years, with an unpopular and under-reported restructuring currently underway, rather than questioning the hard work and dedication of their peers.

*Cost of outsourcing has been calculated through quotes from Nottingham based companies. Please contact the author directly for questions about this breakdown.

All opinions are of the author alone, The Tab is merely a platform for debate.