Once again, we find ourselves with a single-nominee exec position. This time around, it’s Haydn Watters running for communications vice-president. Watters was visible as journalism rep this year, an unusual feat, and started up the “J-School Journal,” a publication specifically for journalism news. He brought issues like teachers only staying in class for 20 minutes and the infamous two elective limit in the journalism program to journalism head Kelly Toughill, and is organizing a student-led evaluation of the journalism department. We look back on his year as a councilor, as well as to what he has in store should he be elected as CVP.
The Watch: Compare what you would do, if elected, to how other communications VPs have done it in the past. Looking back on this year in particular, it seems as though there are so many dynamic personalities on council who are already really good at getting their message out there. Other than serving as a PR tool for someone’s agenda for how council should go, what can you do with the position?
Haydn Watters: There’s the spokesperson aspect to it. But there’s also lots of behind the scenes stuff. You chair the constitutional review committee. They’re in charge of the scribe. The operations that relate to communications, that you don’t see every day, that’s what the CVP is for as well.
W: What are you going to do in working with the outside world, beyond the Quad?
HW: I think I’ve engaged a lot of communities already with Infringement. CKDU really wants to get on board any way they can. They want to get more involved with the KSU. I’m more focused with the students’ role at King’s, but I’d also be communicating with lots of people around the city.
W: So, with your focus on students, why aren’t you running for journalism rep again?
HW: I felt I was making the work for myself. There wasn’t much I had to do in that role. I felt like I was just going in to council every other Sunday, sitting there, and then just leaving. I tried very hard to contribute, but I didn’t feel I was getting much out of what I was contributing. So I thought an exec role was the best way to go.
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W: So, if you’re elected CVP, you’re going to have a lot of interactions with The Watch. If you look at Watch stories, there’s a CVP quote in there all the time. We’ve seen a real move this year, where the specific messages the union wants to identify themselves with have been more controlled than they have been in the past, especially in their relationship with The Watch. How are you going to be different?
HW: First off, things have to be on a one-on-one basis. On the union, you can’t just respond on Twitter. There has to be an interview that immediately follows the meeting. If something happens at a meeting, you have to follow it up right then after the meeting. It’s just as much the role of the journalist to grab that interview as it is the executive member to offer than interview as well. I guess I’m in the dual area as being a journalist and also being on exec, where I might understand that role better than someone who hasn’t been familiar with media before. Also, this is the first year where media has played such a prominent role at council.
W: More or less. I mean, there’s been live-tweeting of council for the past couple of years, but this has been the first year where that live-tweeting has gone and we’ve said “okay, now that we’ve reported this stuff going on at the meeting, but now we need to actually go and talk to the councilors about what happened at this meeting”, and I think that’s thrown some councilors into a bit of a loop this year.
HW: I think council is prepared for that, but I mean, whatever happens at the meeting is open to anyone. I don’t understand why council has been trying to restrict what’s been going on at the meetings. I just think it’s preposterous, and it’s really frustrated me this year on council. The other thing that is frustrating, is yes, we are a council, so it looks like my decision is council’s decision, when I’ve disagreed with council numerous times, and I really haven’t had a platform to show my disagreement.
W: Historically, there’s been a lot of journalism students who have sat as CVP. Why do you think we gravitate to the role?
HW: It’s what we do on a daily basis. I want the KSU to be a bit more fun. Things have been kind of sombre lately, so I want to bring a bit of fun to KSU. I hope that people can see that we’re going to have a fun time next year.