In response to "News Chicken"
by Derek Gardiner
Two weeks ago, an article entitled “news chicken” was published in the Gaudie. How the title was derived I do not know but the article contained many inaccuracies which I shall endeavour to correct in this article. A response to the article has already been written and can be found in the Features section of the Aberdeen Falcon, so I will not replicate it here.
The Aberdeen Falcon was established as an innovative news website. It is designed to give writers more freedom than they would get by writing for the Gaudie. We do not have word limits. We are a publication made up of freelance journalists. To that end, we do not discriminate against writers because of their political views. Our editorial team is made up of people from all political persuasions. Due to limited space, the Gaudie has to impose deadlines and strict word limits. They also spend a large amount of money on a print publication at the very time when print media is going out of style. The Aberdeen Falcon Opinion section allows people to write about whatever issues they wish to report on or share a news story they think is relevant. The opinion section is constantly seeking new and different perspectives. In fact, we have published articles critical of the site itself.
However, the one issue we are unwilling to compromise on is our commitment to freedom of speech. Journalism cannot function effectively if we do not have the freedom to investigate and criticize issues of controversy.
The “News Chicken” article seemed to suggest we only promote freedom of speech for the right and ignore the struggles of those on the left. That is simply untrue.
George Galloway has for his entire life been a left-wing activist and members of the Aberdeen Falcon have defended his right to speak freely and safely on our University campus. Our members have also vigorously defended other controversial speakers such as LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell and feminist firebrand Germaine Greer. We believe that such renowned activists should not be ‘blacklisted’ and prevented from speaking on our university campus.
We at the Falcon believe that a small minority of students are attempting to shut down debate on campus. They believe that some issues are above criticism such as immigration, climate change or gender recognition. The Aberdeen Falcon, on the other hand, believes that all issues are up for debate and we are more than willing to publish both sides of an argument.
A further criticism made of the site is a lack of opinion writers. I am the Opinion editor and granted, I have written most of the articles myself. In all fairness, we are a new publication and are now beginning to recruit more opinion writers. We currently have three regular contributors of different political persuasions.
All of our articles are meticulously researched and backed up by facts. We are not an “echo chamber.” We simply want all sides of the argument to be heard as long as they are based on fact. The article in question also contains studies of the food pyramid as well as quotations from qualified dieticians. In any event, it should be noted that the article represents my own view and not the view of The Aberdeen Falcon as a whole.
The article also raises the two Rector elections held at the end of last year and the start of this year. I do not see how this is relevant as the Aberdeen Falcon did not exist as an entity at the time nor did we exist during the AUSA AGM in February and we are not an AUSA affiliated society, therefore we are not involved in AUSA affairs. As far as the AUSA AGM is concerned, not only did the Falcon not exist but it is entirely independent of both AUSA and the University.
The fact that we are not affiliated to AUSA means we have more freedom to hold AUSA to account for it’s unpopular and in some cases ridiculous policies.
We believe the Gaudie is unable to provide freedom to its journalists due to its reliance on AUSA funding. The Aberdeen Falcon is not intended to undermine the Gaudie in any way. I am myself a Gaudie writer and intend to continue to be. The Gaudie ought not to consider us the enemy, merely friendly competition.