We have WAY more money than we know what to do with:
4 things you don’t know about Woroni (but probably should!)
The most recognizable face of Woroni is the newspaper, and so people think that it’s the be-all-and-end-all of Woroni as an organisation. Unfortunately it’s not because, like any organisation, Woroni is much more than meets the eye. In my time around Woroni as a Business Development sub-editor and a Woroni Radio sub-editor I've learnt a few things about how it’s run and the issues that face it as an organisation. With that in mind, and given the Woroni elections are coming up *spoiler alert* I’m running *end spoiler* I thought it was important to share some of the things I've learnt, so you can understand more about what actually makes Woroni tick. Without further ado, here is: 4 Things You Don’t Know About Woroni (But Probably Should).
1. We have WAY more money than we know what to do with
Woroni is principally funded through the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). Full time students at the ANU pay $286 each year and part-timers pay $143. All of this money (about $4.6 MILLION all up), goes into a pool of which each of the main student bodies take a slice like it’s a delicious cake made out of money. Mmmmm… Money cake…
Anyway, this is important because it is YOUR money that funds Woroni. In 2015, Woroni received almost $200,000 out of the SSAF pool (although in comparison, ANUSA got almost $1.5 MILLION). You need to ask yourself how well you think Woroni is spending your money… If the answer to that question wasn't a resounding “F**k yeah! I wanna give them even more!” — And I’m prepared to bet it wasn't — then something probably needs to change.
This issue goes beyond a candidate simply promising an improved paper or better quality news coverage, because without strong management behind the scenes, that’s all a pipe dream. Woroni needs good financial management and a strong executive to make the behind-the-scenes run smoother and so more effectively allow the news team to do their job. As unsexy as numbers are, a strong support network for contributors and financial sustainability is what is going to improve ALL aspects of Woroni.
And speaking of financial stability…
2. That money will NOT be around forever
There are big concerns within Woroni that SSAF funding will be cut within the not-to-distant future. It might not be next year, or the year after, or even in the next 5 years, but there is every possibility that SSAF will not be funding Woroni a decade from now.
If that happened, Woroni would have to take drastic measures in order to stay in operation. The paper would likely have to switch to a purely online format to cut printer costs, editors and sub-editors wouldn't be able to be rewarded for their efforts in the form of honoraria, and overall quality of the paper would likely fall. The worst case scenario is that, after 50 years of student coverage, if SSAF was cut, Woroni might be forced to close its doors.
“So what?” I hear you ask. “The SSAF cuts might not happen, and even if they do, it won’t be while I’m at Uni. Plus, does Woroni really do that much anyway?” While I know it might be tempting to try and ignore a problem in the hopes that it goes away *cough* climate change deniers *cough* that’s not how you actually fix things.
I am the first to admit that Woroni can do more in terms of responsible financial management, but I also truly believe that we provide a valuable service to students. We provide a platform for you to express your ideas and opinions, we provide informative and interesting content for students, and most importantly, we provide a mechanism for holding different parties within the ANU accountable.
I believe that, with a few changes, Woroni can be a part of campus life that we’re all proud of!
We’ll need your help though because…
3. The biggest problem Woroni faces is apathy
If you've made it this far into the article… Thank You! You've overcome the biggest problem that Woroni faces as an organisation — general apathy. *Salutes* General Apathy.
Unfortunately, people seem to view Woroni with a combination of “eh” and “why would you bother?” The reason behind this seems to be clear. In the 2015 ANUSM satisfaction survey, people surveyed disagreed with the statements “The quality of Woroni is of a professional standard” and “In general, I think the content of Woroni is of a high standard”. Consistently the report showed that students are not happy with the content of Woroni and that you feel the content Woroni does produce does not speak with the voice of all the students. The net result of all this? Huge student apathy towards the paper.
THIS IS VALID CRITICISM. Woroni needs to do much more to not only raise the overall quality of its work, but more importantly, to provide a voice for the entire student body. Woroni should want to have everyone contributing and should be looking towards a scenario where any student at the ANU can look in the paper and find something they relate to. We need to improve so we can help you to identify with the paper. Because otherwise if SSAF gets cut and Woroni goes under… no one will care.
4. The solution to the problem is YOU!
Enough with this doom and gloom! Let’s not ignore this problem! Let’s fight it! Let’s make some noise!
There are two ways that you can help to make Woroni everything it can and should be.
The first is by contributing! I think every student should feel like they can contribute to Woroni. I believe that everyone has their own talent, and whether it’s writing articles, making artworks, making radio shows, videography or any number of other skills, Woroni should provide an opportunity for you.
The second is by making informed choices. Your vote will be incredibly important in the upcoming Woroni editor elections. If you want the issues that have been raised in this article to be resolved, then you need to be savvy with your vote. You need to choose a candidate based on their skills, their policies, and how effective you think they will be in the role.
I just wonder who you should vote for…
Disclaimer: Giordi Borzuola is a current Business Development sub-editor for Woroni and previous Woroni Radio sub-editor. This year he is running for election as a member of the board! Check out his Facebook page for more information about Woroni and his plans to improve it! Like his Facebook page at this link: https://www.facebook.com/giordiforeditor
The views presented in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of ANUSM.
All SSAF information and ANUSM survey results obtained from these publically available links: