Those of you who attended the online Media Awards may recognise some of this article. The Media Awards unfortunately weren't the only awards ceremony that had to be cancelled. Thank you so much to all our editors and writers who submitted nominations for the awards at the Student Publication Association National Conference - otherwise known as the SPANC Awards. While it’s a shame that we weren’t able to celebrate in Sheffield in April, it’s brilliant to see our number of shortlisted entries double since last year. This year we were shortlisted for Best Science Section, Best Website, Molly Greeves for the Billy Dowling-Reid Award for Outstanding Commitment, and Best Lifestyle Piece for Tom Moorcroft’s tough mudder article. My very first impressions of Tom were of him sending me lots of pictures of him covered in mud to lay up alongside his first ever article for Sport. It’s quite funny to think that those pictures have now spread beyond our humble Courier and are making waves with the SPA.
What else has happened this year? We have distributed over 25,000 copies of the Courier across campus with thanks to our wonderful drivers Pat, Nimra and Catherine, who have had to battle with the electric vehicle and getting stuck behind Coop delivery vans. Here I have to declare my utmost respect for Alex Darbyshire here, who regularly arrived at the Students’ Union at 9am and once even at 8am on Monday mornings to carry papers by hand across campus – because, to quote, someone’s got to do it.
We had a wonderful Couriermas, even if I did become the impromptu Editor of the Tab for the evening and even if people may or may not have cheated on that quiz. Ellie’s banana bread was a wonderful Christmas gift to us all, and I hope Joe Smith still has the framed picture of Dom in his bedroom.
Something else that Christmas also brought was our wonderful festive photoshoot. Thank you so much to everyone who got involved with this – it was so much fun to do, even if it was absolutely freezing cold and we got kicked out of the Armstrong Building.
So many of my fondest memories over the last 12 months took place in the Courier office. It may have been filthy at times, and with a persistent smell of Shijo lingering, but it became a second home to so many of us, whether you were laying up articles, coming in for a gossip, enjoying your Coop meal deal, or even sleeping (and that’s not just Molander!)
The office was actually so full this year that not having enough chairs became a persistent problem this year – or at least, that was Sophie and Amy’s excuse for always sharing one when they laid up the TV spread each way. Thankfully Kate has always made sure she finds her own chair.
Speaking of seating, we were all very excited when we were graced with a new sofa for the office – it’s a shame that because of lockdown we’ve got hardly any use out of it.
After lockdown I can imagine that someone will have to go around the Union disinfecting everything, and I truly feel for whoever has to do that in the Courier office. I called it the Courier cesspit for a reason. The quotes board, the computer backgrounds, the naked calendar and that horrible Minion t-shirt would make it all rather terrifying for any unknowing visitor. Here I have to apologise to Miles and everyone else at NUTV for somehow putting up with us sharing an office with them every year.
It’s very upsetting to think of our lovely little office being left empty at the moment, but it comforts me to know that at least Gretchen and Gretchen 2 aren’t alone, as they have the colossal spider and Jordan the inflatable orange lobster locked in there with them.
These weren’t the only animals to visit the Courier office this year, though. We’ve had our fair share. Those of you here very early on in September will remember the appropriately named Courier pigeon that stayed with us for a few minutes. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened.
The Courier has been absolutely brilliant this year, and it’s down to each and every one of you. We have published articles on the broadest array of topics, from how your star sign affects your dream travel destination to the underappreciated sport of speed climbing. We’ve interviewed a certain lecturer dressed up as the UCU shark, and catalogued the experiences of two of our team getting STI tested together. Molly has carefully handpicked the best Newfess each week, and Dom Lee even had his own quote corner in Sport for a while. More seriously, we've published articles uncovering the fact that students have been asked to provide death certificates when submitting PEC forms, investigating the fire safety of Newcastle student accommodation, and looking at the University's treatment of a convicted stalker on campus. On a lighter note, Fashion highlighted that winter accessory essential that is the beloved nose-warmer, while Puzzles has been graced by Mr Tayto this year. Blind Date is always a highlight, and I’m so glad Dom and Joe finally got to enjoy their romantic evening together. We also were blessed with another very interesting Blind Date this year, but I think that’s best left unsaid. We’ve covered so many interesting events on campus and around Newcastle, from that one time Hardly Athletic actually won a match to the delights of James Blunt touring in Newcastle. At least lockdown means you are now free from me playing him on repeat in the office. Newfess may remain divided on its opinion of the Courier, but I think we smashed it. That wouldn’t have happened without our amazing team of editors, writers and readers. Thank you to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve made my job an absolute joy.