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The Tribune’s News Roundup 2019/20: What a Fucking Mental Year.

While the COVID-19 epidemic might be the biggest story of this year in the world of student journalism, it certainly wasn’t the only memorable moment to flash past the window of the dingy Tribune Office.

The year started with a bang, AN CUAS REMOVED, read the dramatic first headline of the Tribune. UCD had cunningly replaced the leisure area in the Newman Building with office space leading to many disgruntled Arts students having nowhere to rest their 4th coffee of the day while discussing the successes of Marxism in the 20th century.

September brought along the global climate strike which, as inspired by Greta Thunberg, led to more than 10,000 second and third level students striking from education and taking over Kildare Street to call for climate action. A sizeable delegation of UCD students and societies made their mark on September 20th as they marched from UCD. This was not the only instance of students attempting to hold the powers-that-be to account, only a month later, in November, Dublin City ground to a halt as Extinction Rebellion, alongside student groups from across the country, held protests and ‘die-ins’ as part of a week of protest renewing the calls for climate action.

As the Trib’ said goodbye to 2019, we broke the scandalous ‘Belfield Papers’ story. In November, the Tribune had found sensitive documents that had been left in easy student access. The GDPR violations exposed by the Tribune lead to an investigation by the Data Protection Commission and a big spanking for UCD.

While many were worried by Issue 7 that UCD had possibly rented a Rocket, it seems however that it was merely campus rents that were rocketing upwards towards the sun. UCD announced that on-campus accommodation would be increasing by 12% over 3 years.

The announcement led to the year’s best David and Goliath story, the plucky Students’ Union hurled their best rocks at the formidable giant that is: UCD President, Andrew Deeks. Towering above the ant-like UCD Students, Deeks looked down upon the protests from his perch atop the Tierney building.

UCD tribune piece version 3
Illustration by Analiese Culliton

The Union attempted to hold their own D-Day landing on March 4th, Operation ‘Storm the Club’. The valiant attempt to occupy the University Club was less successful than it could have been after one person blocked the rotating doors of the University Club. In a feat which may have been inspired by the hit film ‘300’, one brave security guard and a tea-lady held off 200 angry students. The stranded students then loudly chanted their opposition to a number of UCD’s financial decisions in recent years, seeking to occupy the University club as it symbolised everything “wrong with UCD”. The protests and tent actions “spread” across Ireland (like a pandemic one could say), being featured on national news. UCD did not budge.

Sadly, however, it was not the Students’ Union that led to the closure of UCD campus, but instead the COVID-19 pandemic which spread around the world in frightening fashion. With UCD closed and students displaced, thus began the latest student campaign for change. Calling for a ‘No Detriment’ policy to be put in place, students sent emails and made phone calls to politicians and UCD staff from their homes during isolation. The university ended up doing the sound thing and helping everybody out with their sinking grades. It was not only protesting that moved online but lectures, exams and even the SU elections for the first time ever. The biggest thing to move online was, (of course) the Tribune!

During this year, the Tribune celebrated its 30th birthday. Now reaching middle age, the student paper underwent a mid-life-crisis and became an online tabloid for an issue. The newspaper equivalent of dying your hair blonde or buying a BMW M3, the Tribune let everyone know that the Students’ Union President had stepped down on April Fool’s day. Madness.

Scandals were not unique to UCD management, one of Belfield’s most reputable institutions suffered a disastrous year… The L&H, traditionally UCD’s most respected debating society, became about as financially stable as Tiger King’s Joe Exotic. It remains to be seen which of the L&H staff actually killed Carol Baskin’s husband. The Robin to our Dark Knight, the University Observer had a stellar year, breaking at least 3 stories that weren’t handed to them by the Students’ Union.

The Turbine (satire section) released a number of huge stories this year, all of which were strongly aligned with journalistic ethics and took hours of meticulous research to write. First, the Turbine revealed how UCD had recruited Communist Swan bots to replace the students’ avian amigos. Not long after, their excitable reporters revealed how UCD had been forcing the swans to sell their children to maintain their access to on-campus accommodation. Many believe that these pieces of serious journalism point to Andrew Deeks being a ‘wee bit too cosy’ with the Chinese Government. It may have been this which led to the outbreak of Coronavirus… who knows.

Can’t wait until next year.

 

 

Hugh Dooley – Reporter

Illustration by Analiese Culliton

 

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