In an email sent this morning to all members Pi’s president outlined proposals to scrap Pi Newspaper, merging some of its content with the magazine. According to the president, the newspaper has “lost its relevence”. CG are pleased to see an investigative section worked into the planned new publication. The proposal will be voted on at Pi’s next EGM.

Email sent 9:15AM, 17th Nov 2012:

1. Magazine/Newspaper merger

It was suggested last year that the newspaper and magazine merge into one strong publication and that we vastly upgrade our website. After a lot of discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of these proposals, the committee unanimously voted in favour of the merger and we are hoping that members will agree that this is a positive step for the society.

There are many reasons we’ve come to this decision. For a long time now, the newspaper has been struggling. With no sabbatical editors, it is impossible to print a weekly newspaper. Instead, printed only every three weeks, Pi Newspaper has lost its relevance. Editors have found it difficult securing enough material to fill their pages. This has been particularly true of the news section – arguably the most important reason for publishing a newspaper at all. And when it does come out, students seem less willing to pick up a copy; much too frequently undistributed stacks of newspapers have been thrown away.

With the magazine, meanwhile, though most of its sections are strong, the Features section has been struggling to find material. While trying to keep focused on UCL issues, it has been difficult not to stray into territory normally associated with the newspaper.
The merging of the two publications into one magazine, together with an enhanced website, would combat all of these problems. All section editors currently in both newspaper and magazine will have the opportunity to see their material printed in a hard copy publication, for which they would be credited as its editors, and would also oversee the maintenance of a strong and up-to-date website.

On the one hand, the website would excel, allowing particularly for its News, Politics, Sports, and Comment pieces to remain relevant to the student body. The success of UCL’s website-based Tab is evidence that this can work. On the other hand, the magazine, by taking a selection of Pi’s finest pieces from across the board, would be able to maintain an extremely high quality. With a strong UCL-based Features section and an added Science section, it could become a publication of which all the editors are proud.

This is not a step backwards. It was only a few years ago Pi split into two publications, a newspaper and magazine. It was an important move at the time. But that was before Pi Media had a functioning website. As has been proven by the success of the Tab, it is this website we must now focus on. Through these proposals, we will continue to channel material through two outlets, (one of which will be aided by the new Pi TV), but they will be vastly more relevant and accessible. The committee sees these plans as the best possible way forward, allowing for a more successful and worthwhile society, and we hope you’ll all agree.

Below are some key details of the proposals:

There is to be the magazine and the website, both of which will have two editors-in-chief (the website will have two ‘content’ editors-in-chief and two technical web editors). The magazine will carry on in roughly the same format as the current one. It will be 40 pages in length, and comprise Features, Science, Arts, Film, Music, Travel and Life & Style sections. All of these sections will also have a section on the website, which its section editors, under supervision of the website editors-in-chief, will have to update.

There will also be News, Sports, Politics and Comment sections on the website. The former Encore section will merge with the Arts section, and the former Focus section will merge with the Features section (in such a way, of course, that no continuing editor will lose their position). Sports, Politics and Comment will be able to contribute feature-length pieces to the Features section in the Magazine. The most important news stories, meanwhile, will be worked into features in the Magazine through a newly created investigative editor. This will provide in-depth investigative pieces.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know by emailing president@pimedia.org.uk. These proposals motion will be voted on at the start of our upcoming EGM

See CG12 (February 2007) for CG’s first reactions, to the then-called “Pi Squared”, back in 2007.