I joined in January of my first year – I wanted to try journalism and develop skills that would help me in the future. I wrote news and analysis, including covering the Kent Union elections in 2018.
I worked my way through InQuire from there. The more I got involved with it, especially the marketing side, the more I realised that the organisational side of things could be improved.
In my second year, I established the marketing department. It now has a small team of people optimising how the newspaper distributes its content and building relationships on campus and with external businesses.
Then, in my third year I ran for editor-in-chief through Kent Union and thankfully I succeeded. There are a lot of talented and ambitious people that work on InQuire, and when it comes to election time, everyone wants to prove themselves. It was a tough race but it was good fun.
InQuire has the Executive at the top which is the editor-in-chief (me); the newspaper editor and the website editor. Underneath that is the Committee, made up of the heads of photography, design and marketing and the social secretary.
The Executive, Committee and the newspaper and website editorial teams are elected into their positions.
Under that we have the different teams: the newspaper team made up of section editors, and the website has equivalents. We also have the marketing, design and photography teams. All the positions are voluntary, no one is paid.
InQuire is a student society so if students want to get involved they need to join us as a member.
They should read the newspaper and website and get to know our content.
Then they can come along to our Monday evening meetings, which are currently held in the media centre. That’s where we talk about what we’re doing and assign articles to writers. If they can’t make the meeting, they can contact the InQuire team directly.
Students don’t need any previous experience, but as long as they can write articles well, they can get involved. We’re very welcoming to new students.
Kent Union funds all of our printing. Everything beyond that, whether that’s organising a society event or printing merchandise, we have to raise ourselves.
The marketing side is important because if we’re going to run a student newspaper we have to think about how its distributed, how it’s received, the kind of ads we get in the paper.
Kent Union supplies us with adverts, but we also have an opportunity to get them externally. We wanted to get experience of what working in the publishing industry what be like. We’ve created better relations with businesses in Canterbury. For example, we’ve developed a good relationship with the Marlowe Theatre and because of that we now get access through press, for students who want to get involved in projects or go and see shows.
We’ve also got a great connection with societies on campus. That’s enabled through the marketing department which works to further those contacts.
We’re looking into buying new cameras, something we can give students who don’t have experience of using them. We run social activities for the students, create campaigns.
We also use our funds for work experience, so if students want to get experience of news journalism we can fund their travel.
We’ve been focusing more strongly on University of Kent content. So we might look at a national issue, like the general election, but then link it back to Kent. We’ve also widened our coverage of arts and culture. So, for example, what’s happening at the Gulbenkian.
Having such an amazing team and seeing what they can create, the writing, design, illustration and photography, all the creative side of things. It’s an absolute pleasure to work alongside those people and help everything come together.
We’ve had a good year for awards (2019). In November, we won the Best Development category of the regional Student Publication Awards (SPA), in recognition of our improvement and growth over the past two years. We were also highly commended in the Best Publication category of the same awards. In October, we were commended in the Student Publication category at the Radio 2 Today programme Student Journalism Awards. In April, InQuire was highly commended at the national SPA awards. Those awards have been massive highlights.
It’s given me leadership skills — experience of managing people and projects. I’ve learned to set limits on what I get involved with and to delegate. From the editorial side, I spend a lot of time going through the articles so I’ve got an eye for what good content is.
I’m probably not going to go into journalism, I’m more likely to go into marketing or PR. Working on InQuire has been a really useful experience to see what content sticks, what the audience will react to.
InQuire’s been an amazing opportunity for me, and I think everyone should get involved.
This is the primary thing I do outside of studying my degree. Usually I’ll do my degree work in the day and the InQuire work in the evening.
Engaging with history as an academic subject has been entertaining, and I’ve made fantastic friends and colleagues on my course. The guidance and generosity of the academic staff in the department has enabled me to improve my studies. In particular the historical insight of Dr Barbara Bombi, who I’ve taken a course with at every stage of my degree programme, has been invaluable.
I did an internship this summer at a digital marketing agency and enjoyed it. It taught me a lot about what I want to do, because I was doing quite technical work and I prefer more creative work. So I’m considering PR, writing and also potentially going into further education. I’m weighing everything up at the moment.