Andrew Bates

electric newspaperman

Full Disclosure: Independence Roundup


The Phoenix launched its bid for independence Monday, and things have been going well! I’m going to be on CBC Daybreak tomorrow, where we’ll be talking about it. I’ll answer a few questions here first, to clear up some stuff.

Do you hate the students’ union?
No, we do not hate the students’ union. The current system is broken, and it creates conflict between us. If the students’ union works with us, we can have independence and autonomy and still work together. It’s going to be easier and help us all to get on with our jobs, and we can go back to being just journalists and sources, rather than this intricate web of power relations that gum everything up.

How does this plan involve the Ubyssey?
This plan involves working fairly heavily with the Ubyssey, starting with an advisory role. Their business office has offered to help ours get set up. To reduce printing costs, we may print with them, which would involve the Phoenix being an insert of the Ubyssey in Vancouver, and vice versa in Kelowna. If we can’t work with the SU to get the things we need to stand on our own, they’ve offered to help us up to and including publishing us while we work to secure a referendum and manage to stand on our own. Phoenix editors have voted to negotiate on this plan, and the Ubyssey have promised us that no matter what, the Phoenix will not die. We value that greatly.

How are you involved with the Ubyssey?
Full disclosure: In December, I made the decision not to return to UBC Okanagan for 2011-2012, and complete my courses in Vancouver. In January, I was offered the chance to apply for the position of Features Editor at the Ubyssey on the basis of my past experience, which includes two weeks I spent covering the 2010 Olympics for them as CUP Western Bureau Chief. This was before independence became a necessity. We began those discussions in February. As of today I have officially declared my intention to run for that position. The people we are negotiating with (The nonprofit that runs the business office) are a seperate body from the people that select editors (Their editorial office). The decision to consider the UPS’ proposal was made by incoming Editor in Chief Alex Eastman, and its proposal competed with an independent proposal I advanced.

What are you looking for?
We want to work with the student’s union. How can we get their support to become independent and autonomous? We’re willing to negotiate with them to prove our financial responsibility in exchange for their affiliation. We believe that would be enough to qualify for the student media fund until we could hold a referendum next year for a specialized fee that goes to the Phoenix. We’re willing to open the books, monthly if that’s what it takes. We’ll prove we’re doing it transparently and accountably. We’re also open to create a new governance structure similar to other independent papers that includes a board of directors, and we’re willing to invite the SU to take part in that too. We want to work together.

How can I listen to you on CBC Radio?
CBC Radio One’s Daybreak South airs on CBC Kelowna: click here for the livestream. I will be live at roughly 7:15. I’ll be posting the interview here and elsewhere later that day, so if you can’t catch it the first time, don’t worry, I’ll have you covered.

For now, I’m off to bed. I’m tired, and I’ll be seeing you, Kelowna, tomorrow morning.