We don’t do this for awards

Published April 3, 2016 | In

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The National Student Television Awards is a massive occasion, pulling together students from across the country, from Aberdeen down to Southampton. My station, Forge TV, had the best shot we’ve ever had at taking one of those awards home. But alas, this year it was not to be.

This year has still been Forge TV’s best year ever. We’ve been going since the distant year of 2009, but it takes time to start releasing regular quality films. Recently however, there’s been a new feeling around our office, the Media Hub.

That feeling is not unlike pride.

That sense of pride is more important than the big projects we’ve delivered, the money we’ve earned or the skills we’ve learned.

“To an outsider, student media can be a cryptic, insular community.”

We’ve poured countless hours and even our own personal money into Forge TV. It’s taxed our degrees and, in honesty, our mental health. We regularly go above and beyond what we’d do for even a full time job.

People ask why we do it. To an outsider, student media can be a cryptic, insular community. At our worst, we’re hard to understand and even harder to join.

In the midst of operating a student TV station, it’s easy to forget why we ourselves do it.

Awards are not why we do this. It would be easy to audition presenters, train up a select few and focus our attention on a small roster of quality, award-bait films. This is a perfectly valid strategy, but it’s not our strategy.

Our election night team this year.

Our election night team this year.

For student media to be worth anything at all, it must be inclusive. Any student needs to be able to turn up at any point during the year and be nurtured, whether they’re feeling unhappy with their course, want to become more employable, or just want to make new friends.

The sense of pride we’re finally getting out of Forge TV deserves to be spread around to as many people as possible.

“For student media to be worth anything at all, it must be inclusive”

In summer, Forge TV was threatened with drastic cuts to the Media Hub space in the Students’ Union building. We faced the very real possibility that we might stop operating.

We came together in response to this threat, bringing together all our friends from Sheffield and across the country.

Journalists, producers, DJs and most importantly, fellow students, all banded together, writing open letters and signing petitions. The inclusive community we cherish at Forge TV saved us.

Student media is a family, and we’re at our best when we play to that strength. If awards eventually come our way, we won’t complain, but our real goal will always be inclusion, community and family.

Many thanks for supporting us.

Joshua Hackett

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