During the summer of 1993, Cherwell moved offices to 7 St. Aldates. According to the first editorial of the following term, “the process of moving was arduous and riddled with complications”.
Today, we are on the move again. Cherwell is leaving its home and entering into a new period of its history.
We will soon close the door for the last time on our messy, chaotic, and rundown offices and move our whole operation to a generic four-walled office block in Cowley – at least for a few weeks. It is rare that a group of people can have a connection with bricks and mortar, but every writer, staff member, and editor who has come into these offices has felt that they have something special about them.
More than 25 years’ worth of student journalists have felt that connection, and the offices are filled with memories of excitement, stress, and satisfaction from editions past and present.
Our walls are littered with those memories. On one wall is a laminated edition from 1999 with the frontpage heading ‘Ugh! Minging Tory snog’; on another sits a 2002 front page exposing a racist Oxford academic. It is fair to say Cherwell has covered a wide range of stories in our time in these offices.
In one of the back offices sit some dusty awards the paper has won over the years.
Few pay any attention to them – we are not a paper that cares about what award panels think, but about whether we are living up to our own standards.
In the other back office, there is a mess. Past editions festoon the floors and broken keyboards and computer components are piled high. These offices epitomise what Cherwell is really about.
We are not corporate or establishment. We are not provided with new Apple computers or permanent funding. We are the scrappy underdog, constantly fighting to stay alive.
At the moment, our future is insecure and unsure, but our track record suggests there is little to worry about.
When the editors finally leave the offices after sending this paper off to our printer, knowing that this part of Cherwell’s history is over, we will take one last look at this place which has housed so many passionate and talented people.
We may worry, but we will stop immediately when we see the photos of our 50 staff members that cover one of our walls. In the end, Cherwell is not about an office building, but about people.
We are about the students who come into this office every week to write, edit, and produce content for this almost 100-year-old paper. So long as students care, Cherwell will continue.