Baptism of fire

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a while now; here’s a small piece on what it was like to be Acting Editor of The Badger.

I started the term as Deputy Editor of The Badger, and was really looking forward to making the new role my own and working with the new team. However, I knew that something was wrong days before I would be parachuted into the editorial role. I sensed that something wasn’t quite right when I saw that the editor had made a post seeking legal advice. When I spoke to them, it became clear that the editor had sent off the paper without knowing whether an article that was in it was legally sound. As I spoke with the editor, they were convinced that they would be sacked on Monday.

At this point, I started to prepare for the worst and, when Monday came, the situation did get worse. I found out that the paper had gone to print without the Union’s ‘green light’ – the normal procedure, and that the paper had been distributed around campus, leading to Union staff seizing copies. By the end of the day, I got a phone call saying that I would be made Acting Editor, as the Editor had been suspended pending the result of an investigation.

The first few weeks was very stressful. The team were angry and upset as their work could not be distributed, and rightly so. If I had been a writer, I would have felt the same way. Trying to boost morale and work on the latest edition whilst this investigation was under way was not easy, but the team were very supportive of me and understood the difficult situation I was in. I spent hours in meetings to try and better understand what was going on and to try and work out where to go from here.

Fortunately, we managed to get that week’s paper out to print without incident, and Thursday mornings started to get a bit easier to manage (albeit slowly).

However, the stress of managing the paper was taking its toll on my mental health, and I knew that I had to quit at some point. This was made worse by the constant negativity I received from the suspended editor, who was almost bullying in nature by undermining me in front of my team both online and offline and being cruel and harsh in their criticism of how I was running the paper. All whilst knowing that I was working under extremely tough circumstances and suffering from a mental health condition. It eventually got to the point that they blocked me from Facebook, claiming that I was bullying and harassing them.

It eventually became too much for me to bear, and I took the decision to resign as Acting Editor after eight weeks. It was a very hard choice to make and was made with a heavy heart, but one I had to do to to allow me to recover from what had been a very stressful time. I was incredibly touched when the team gave me a wonderful card thanking me for all my hard work and that I’d done a good job under very tough circumstances.

I am proud of the editions that I oversaw as Acting Editor, and it’s only now that I have left The Badger that I realise how much I really enjoyed being a part of the editorial team, regardless of how stressful it was.

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