SU planning to shut down the Forge Press media hub
#SaveOurHub was trending in Sheffield yesterday
The Students’ Union are planning to close down the Forge Press media hub and replace it with staff offices.
The result of the cut will mean the Forge Press area will be merged with the already crowded TV and Radio sections, and the entire SU media will be crammed into a space half of its current size.
The media hub was created when an English alumni left £10,000 in her will to go towards SU student media. Instead of being used to give student journalists a voice, as it was intended, that money is now set provide space for SU staff.
After hearing of the news from the SU officers, Forge last night started an online petition against the closure, which has since gained over 1000 signatures.
The closure is expected to have huge repercussions on University media, with a lot of writers fearing it will lead to the demise of the monthly newspaper altogether.
Polly Winn, editor of Forge, told The Tab: “Effectively, this will write off Forge Press. I have an editorial team of 40, and we only had nine computers and a fairly narrow space to begin with. We made it work but we physically will not all be able to fit in the TV and radio space.
“It would also have a huge impact on TV and radio’s ability to produce output if they were forced to share our space.
“It feels like the SU are really kicking us when we’re down. Most people are at home and the AGM was only in April, meaning most of the editorial staff are new and don’t have much experience dealing with management.
“As a result we’re obviously not in the best position deal with this, and the only person who’s been in contact with us and is acknowledging and dealing with student demands is Christy.”
Forge members found out about the closure on Wednesday, and a meeting was scheduled for just two days later for the final decision. Plans had already been drawn up of what the media hub was going to be used for.
SU President Christy McMorrow has since negotiated for the meeting to be postponed, until Forge heads can be consulted next week.
In a statement released today, he said: “The recent Sheffield Students’ Union restructure has led to a number of changes to the team’s staff work in and in the areas of student activity we support.
“In the cost-saving process, we have successfully increased the resource we give to all of our student activity. This has resulted in an increased demand for front facing space.
“I can absolutely assure you that it is in no way our intention to have a negative impact on the student media teams’ ability to produce high quality output. Indeed the reverse, our aspiration is to invest our resources more firmly in supporting them and all our other student led activity.”