By Martha McHardy
As the second article in our series on the lockdown projects of Durham students, Martha McHardy, following on from Rahul Sheemar’s article about his newfound love for creative writing, tells us about her involvement with The Meridian Magazine.
One lonely night of lockdown, I received a message from a friend informing me of a tweet by study-tuber and Oxford student Eve Bennett. It was a call to any student journalists interested in national and international politics. She wrote, “If you fancy potentially getting involved in a new project I’m thinking about, drop a reply!”.
Of course, I replied, and the next thing I knew I had been added to a group chat with around 20 other student journalists. Within a month we had created something beautiful: The Meridian Magazine, a blog aimed at “allowing students to share stories from all corners of the globe”.
Since our launch in June, we have been the subject of (mostly unpleasant) discussion on Oxfess, and we have been called “an excuse of a blog”. But we haven’t let that stop us from creating and publishing excellent journalism during a global pandemic.
In the weeks since we launched, we have interviewed Jacinda Arden, we have published articles on transgender rights in South Asia and cyber sex crime in South Korea, and we have shed light on other stories that you might not hear about in the news.
If you were in any doubt as to the importance of student journalism, The Meridian will force you to reconsider those doubts. The platform has showcased the best of student journalism. It’s not about simply reciting what has been in the news. If you want to find out what Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson said in PMQs, you can read the BBC or the Guardian. The Meridian will bring you thoughtful analysis on the nichest of topics.
The Meridian is just one of various student blogs to have been created during lockdown. Experience in journalism can be hard to come by, even when the world hasn’t been plunged into a global pandemic. Many students have had journalism internships or work experience cancelled due to the pandemic, so lockdown blogs that are run by students, for students, such as The Meridian, Empoword Journalism, and BAbble ensure that students don’t lose out on a summer’s worth of experience that we can add to our CVs. Beyond this, they also ensure that the perspective of students, and the stories we want to tell, don’t go unheard during the pandemic.
Student journalism can be dismissed as irrelevant, and it might seem that websites like The Meridian are only popping up because we have nothing else better to do with our time during lockdown. But, student journalism serves an important purpose beyond the personal benefits that it brings to those of us who want to pursue a career in journalism.
Students often have very intelligent things to say, and very interesting stories and personal experiences to share. Whilst Covid-19 may have changed the world and our daily lives drastically in many negative ways, it has also served to amplify the importance of student journalism, and the great things that students are capable of.
Image: The Meridian Magazine logo via facebook page