From Pitch to Print: An insight into the Big Night…Out?

A behind-the-scenes of the Big Night....Out article is provided.

Emily Kelso
21st November 2021
George and Kayleigh look over a photo taken during the investigation. Image credit: Emily Kelso.

It all started with an innocent question. “Are you free tomorrow night?”

Such a question could go anywhere. I replied in the affirmative, and noticed a gleam in Kayleigh’s eye. She then pitched an article to me, involving visiting various Newcastle clubs during the evening of the club boycott to figure out whether students were participating in the boycott or not. The article idea appealed for a number of reasons, since it was a good way to figure out if schemes like this work, especially as we are both female students concerned about our personal safety. The irony of going out to gauge to what extent people ‘went out’ was not lost on us, however

The idea quickly gained traction and Kayleigh was quickly given the thumbs up to go ahead with the investigation. A team was assembled of several members from different branches of Newcastle University student media. Courier staff from the lowliest of sub-editors (myself and Kayleigh) to a senior editor (Elizabeth) and even the editor himself (George) were part of the expedition into the night. Jack, Miles and Eleanor of NUTV also joined us, armed to the teeth with tech.

Thursday evening quickly arrived, although we technically did not commence our investigation until Friday morning (we were a tad behind schedule). It was certainly odd being out that late – I am not a student that frequents clubs really. We set out with a route in mind, walking from club to club, snapping photos and chatting with people as we went. The town was still rather busy although with fewer students than normal. Students were still out in clubs (or vomiting outside them) which begs the question as to how well-advertised this campaign was and whether more needed to be done to alert students about the boycott. Perhaps the students simply didn’t care. Our investigation came to an end around 2:30am at Grey’s Monument, at which point we walked back home and passed out in our beds.

A few weeks after the investigation, Kayleigh’s article was finally published. It aptly summarises my opinion of the evening, namely that the boycott did not seem to have much of an impact at all. The whole experience reflected how a simple boycott just isn’t enough to tackle the structural issues at the heart of the spiking crisis regarding consent and vulnerable persons. More needs to be done as a society, a lot more than simply choosing to stay in one night.

What did the whole experience represent for me? It certainly illustrated how article ideas snowball into something bigger, in this instance wandering around Newcastle one Thursday night at 2am. The events relating to this article summarise a key mantra here at the Courier, namely that the pitches often result in the better articles. I’ve no doubt other article pitches could result in equally mad and yet delightful adventures in the name of student media. The experience also represented an evening of opportunities, from learning how to use equipment like cameras to interviewing people. We most certainly didn’t learn how to stick to a time schedule, staying out for much longer than the suggested forty-five minutes. As a whole, the events of one Thursday evening just go to show that working in something like student media is unpredictable and demands you expect the unexpected – and quite frankly I wouldn’t change it for the world.  

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AUTHOR: Emily Kelso
Third year History and Archaeology student. Also a Comment Sub-Editor.

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