The incoming Editor of the University Times has said that students can expect “more accountability” from the union-funded paper this year as she takes over at its helm today.
In a brief interview with Trinity News, Clara Roche outlined plans to establish an oversight commission for the paper for the purpose of resolving disputes which arise among staff.
“I’m really keen to put people in place who can step in without any biases if there’s any disagreement,” she said.
Commenting on the handover process from the former Editor, Roche said that she was “provided with a really clear document” as well as some “really helpful advice” on getting started in the role.
She also expressed gratitude towards former editors and members of staff who have reached out to her throughout the last few months to offer help: “I’m really grateful that there’s all these past alumni that I can turn to.”
Roche feels that the first challenge she faces will be “rebuilding” the paper’s staff following a year of low output and engagement for the paper.
Dozens of members of staff resigned in the weeks and months following the firing of Roche and three others, leaving very little scope for continuity and a need to rebuild from scratch.
Nonetheless, Roche expressed optimism in overcoming this hurdle: “I’ve met so many people this year with so many different talents, not even just writing also things like illustration, and also people who are really passionate about the Irish language.”
“I’m quite confident that as long as I can stress that there’s a place in UT for everyone, regardless of what they are interested in and how much time they can commit, that hiring staff will come together,” she said.
Roche added that she is “really keen” to reinstate positions such as Irish language Editor, as well as reestablishing the paper’s magazine supplements, pointing to the creativity of publications such as Get A Grip, a new magazine set up by former University Times staff following their departure from the paper.
Despite the challenges ahead, Roche said that rather than feeling nervous she is “mostly excited” about taking up the role: “Obviously I’ve had a bit of a break from UT so I’m just really excited to get back in there and start writing again.”
Beginning today, the UT Editor’s term will run until the end of June 2024. Other sabbatical officers officially take office next Monday, July 3.