Why I started writing for The Boar and you should too
Writing about web page https://www.warwicksu.com/societies/WarwickBoar/
The Boar is Warwick’s student-run newspaper. I didn’t know this until a few months ago but turns out anyone can write for the Boar! You don’t have to be doing a degree in communications or Literature or something media related (as I had randomly presumed).
I was recommended The Boar by my chemistry mentor. Initially, I was very reluctant to give it a go. I write informal blogs for students but writing news articles is something I had not done before. I approached the SciTech editor about my timid desire to give it a go and it was decided that I shall begin to write for The Boar from October onwards i.e. this month. I was satisfied with this but naturally since this was a new job I was going to start in a few months, I started to read The Boar over summer. It is absolutely fantastic and the perspectives of all students are so interesting to read, some of them I found eye-opening! So, I made use of the free one-month LinkedIn Learning subscription they offer and did a course on Article Writing. Then, approached the editor again and started writing over summer.
It was very difficult to begin. When I was writing my first article, every line was making me cringe. But nothing was more inspiring than seeing my first article published!
I wouldn’t say that you have to do a LinkedIn Learning course for this. Quite frankly, I barely remember what I learnt. A lot of it was just learning whilst doing the job. I particularly requested the SciTech editor to provide feedback on my articles and I still hear back about aspects of writing I need to work on.
With The Boar, the editors for all the sections offer topics to write on every week (some less often) – there are private Facebook groups any Warwick student can join. After writing a few articles for SciTech, I decided to write about other topics I’m interested in – books and finance (well, more like assessing policies). So I contacted the editors and wrote for both of them. I must say they had to do a lot of work on my articles. But they understood that as a chemistry student, I wasn’t going to be very good at understanding how to write an article on economic policies. I can confidently say I would never have been able to write my articles if the editors hadn’t been as helpful as they are. Therefore, if you want to write, just do it. The editors will help you out! You’re welcome to, in fact, are encouraged to, propose ideas of your own if you have any. You can message the editors on Facebook or email them about this.
I always thought about topics I’d blog about (on my personal blog) or research into but the mindset that revising chemistry would help with exams but researching into politics/books will get me no marks always held me back. Writing for The Boar gives you a platform to share your perspectives, and an incentive to research into your favourite topics. Furthermore, reading Boar Finance articles has helped me with thinking about political decisions in an economic way where, prior to this, I always supported policies that sounded kind. You begin to understand how important it is to look into the feasibility side of things and The Boar offers you a platform where you can share your perspective and research (and read other people’s).
Finally, it is the skills! Yes, this is more like freelance writing but you get deadlines. It does feel like, and it is, a real responsibility to get your article submitted before the deadline. You have to meet the word limit – nothing too short but nothing like an essay. You develop communication skills – the written communication skills and the skill of being able to explain science so that everybody understands, which is valued today more than ever (science communication). Especially writing press releases has been very interesting both in terms of learning about the science-based research taking place at Warwick and also writing about science. I’m excited to discover how writing over summer will impact my lab report writing in my second year.
I would only finish by saying that, to write for The Boar, you only need an active interest in writing! Everything else is very well looked after.