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Bring back our papers, journalism students urge union

Journalism students have called on their university union to back the industry they hope to enter by stocking newspapers in its shop again.

Students at the University of Sheffield have launched a petition calling for Our Shop, a mini supermarket in the institution’s Students’ Union, to reintroduce papers to its aisles.

It is understood the union stopped stocking daily papers in the shop three years ago due to “low demand”.

But second-year student Alfie Robinson, pictured, told Sheffield daily The Star he and his coursemates had been inspired by one of their lecturers to launch the campaign to bring them back.

Alfie Robinson

Alfie, 25, said: “Since we have got the number one journalism department in the country, they tell us almost every day that we should be picking up newspapers.

“I have been thinking about it for a while and Dave Holmes, one of our lecturers, was saying that he was struggling to pick up a newspaper himself and he put an appeal out to journalism students saying that it was our future in our own hands.”

The petition calls for the Students’ Union to “support the future” of journalism students and the print industry.

Speaking to HTFP, Alfie said: “As far as I’m aware they stopped selling papers around three years ago because of a low demand. The reception of the petition has been great both from the department of journalism studies and my fellow students, we’ve already reached the amount of support needed for a response to be given by one of our SU officers.

“I’m just waiting to hear from them, but they should now reach out to me so we can work out whether or not it would be possible to get the papers back into the shop.

“There’s definitely the readership here at the uni and with us having the number one journalism department in the country our Students’ Union should support the industry that a percentage of its students could possibly be going into.

“University is about shaping our futures so we need to help protect the industries that we are going to be working in.”

HTFP has approached Sheffield Students’ Union for a comment.


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  • February 18, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Noble but lets be honest. If you took a poll at the Uni of how many of the students have ever even purchased a national daily let alone a local I would be very surprised if it was above 5%. I’m on the Underground system in London daily and you don’t even see the younger professionals or students reading the free Metro papers that are everywhere let alone paying for a title I’m afraid.

    I think it says a lot when the Lecturer is quoted as struggling to pick up a paper even though Sheffield University is within 5-10 minutes stroll of a number of Newsagents.

    Sounds gloomy of me but I’m afraid this generation are never going to buy Newspapers. None of us on here argue about that. We just in the main lambast what is being put out online and the lack of investment given to real journalism on that platform.

    At the same time that’s not to say there isn’t a whole older generation of people that would buy a good product still if it actually contained local news. Hyper locals are proving this.

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  • February 18, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    If there is concern over low demand, what about people placing firm orders for the papers and magazines they want? Could students who are reading subjects such as Business Studies, Business Adminstration or Business Management put their expertise to practical use and help take this forward?

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  • February 18, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    If they stopped stocking papers due to low demand 3 years ago nothing’s changed over that time to expect an upsurge in young people buying papers now,and bearing in mind,apart from those newsagents working on an SOR agreement, it’s costly to carry stock you are unlikely to sell so in the realities of the commercial world we live in,supply will always be driven by demand,if not enough want them they won’t be stocked, simple as.
    I also find it quite lame for the lecturer to give lack of availability as the reason he doesn’t buy a paper too, it hardly gives out the right message about papers being an essential buy and highly sought after.
    With regards to “…”the petition calls for the SU to support the future” of journalism students and the print industry” it really is more than wishful thinking to believe students will suddenly show an interest in buying a local paper and thus save the local press, getting a petition up is easy,making people act and commit to spend money is quite another matter

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  • February 19, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    The issue of declining sales and lack of uptake is around poor content, poor value and the ready availability of the news for free elsewhere, not lack of availability.
    The younger age group,even back when the local paper sold tens of thousands and was the go to place for he news couldn’t attract a younger audience so sure as anything they won’t be regular buyers now.
    Papers, both local and national are readily available if folk wanted to buy them,the sad fact is they no longer do.

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