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ANUSM AGM Annual Report 2015_Final

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ANUSM AGM Annual Report 2015_Final

  1. 1.     Annual Report Prepared by Alex Catalán-Flores Editor-in-Chief On 16th April 2015 To be presented at The 2015 Annual General Meeting Of Australian National University Student Media
  2. 2.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   2   Table of Contents I.   INTRODUCTION  ..........................................................................................................................................  3   II.   THE  ANUSM  BOARD  OF  EDITORS  .......................................................................................................  3   III.   EXECUTIVE  SUMMARY  ..........................................................................................................................  3   IV.   GOVERNANCE  &  ADMINISTRATION  ..................................................................................................  4   A.   POLICIES  &  PROCEDURES  ...........................................................................................................................................  4   B.   HUMAN  RESOURCES  .....................................................................................................................................................  4   V.   PORTFOLIO  REPORTS  .............................................................................................................................  5   A.   PRINT  ..............................................................................................................................................................................  5   B.   RADIO  .............................................................................................................................................................................  6   C.   MULTIMEDIA  .................................................................................................................................................................  6   VI.   FINANCE  .....................................................................................................................................................  8   A.   IN  GENERAL  ...................................................................................................................................................................  8   B.   BUSINESS  DEVELOPMENT  ...........................................................................................................................................  8   C.   ERNST-­‐YOUNG  FINANCIAL  GOVERNANCE  REVIEW  (‘THE  EY  REVIEW’)  ...........................................................  8   D.   STUDENT  SERVICES  &  AMENITIES  FEE  (SSAF)  .....................................................................................................  9   VII.   ELECTIONS  ...............................................................................................................................................  9   A.   2014  END-­‐OF-­‐THE-­‐YEAR  ELECTION  .......................................................................................................................  9   B.   ELECTORAL  REGULATIONS  ......................................................................................................................................  10   C.   MANAGING  EDITOR  ...................................................................................................................................................  10   VIII.   MISCELLANEOUS  ...............................................................................................................................  10   A.   UNION  COURT  REDEVELOPMENT  ...........................................................................................................................  10   B.   MARKET  RESEARCH  ..................................................................................................................................................  11   C.   HUMANS  OF  CANBERRA  ............................................................................................................................................  11   D.   FORUMS  &  WORKSHOPS  ..........................................................................................................................................  11   IX.   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  ......................................................................................................................  11   X.   CONCLUDING  COMMENTS  ...................................................................................................................  12  
  3. 3.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   3   I. Introduction As per Section 15.2 of ANU Student Media’s (ANUSM) Constitution, the Editor-in-Chief is required to present an Annual Report to the Association’s Members detailing the operations of the Association since its last Annual General Meeting. This report aims to provide the Membership of ANUSM with a comprehensive and complete understanding of ANUSM’s operations since its 2014 AGM. As Editor-in-Chief, and in accordance with Section 7.4.1 of the Constitution, I am the President of ANUSM and the Chair of its Board of Editors, and it is my responsibility to be the spokesperson of the Association on matters of concern to Members of ANUSM. II. The ANUSM Board of Editors The Board consists of eight elected student representatives and, as per Section 7 of the Constitution, is the committee of the Association for the purposes of the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 (ACT). The following constitutes the current Board of Editors: • Alex Catalan-Flores – Editor-in-Chief • Jacob Ingram – Deputy Editor-in-Chief • Abigail Widijanto – Managing Editor • Beatrice Smith – Content (Contributions) Editor • Sophie Yates – Content (News) Editor • Rashna Farrukh – Content (Multimedia) Editor • Ellen Stokes – Radio Editor • Janis Lejins – Creative Director III. Executive Summary This report aims to give the Members of ANUSM a comprehensive and complete insight into the operations of the Association for the past twelve months. As an overview, the focus of the Association in the past twelve months has been twofold. Firstly, we have directed a considerable volume of resources towards creating and solidifying a detailed body of corporate governance policies and procedures, as a means of establishing an enduring institutional foundation that provides strategic direction for ANUSM in its current and future operations. Secondly, we have reassessed the purpose of the
  4. 4.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   4   Association in the fluctuating environment in which it exists: the ANU Community. As a result we have explored different ways in which we can cater for the needs of the ANU Community, and have worked towards implementing new channels through which to disseminate information and provide the service the ANU Community expects us to provide. IV. Governance & Administration a. Policies & Procedures In the past twelve months, the Board’s focus has been to institute a tangible and substantial body of policies and procedures to improve and provide consistency to the operations of ANUSM. As a newly independent organisation, our operational structure was weak and ultimately did not provide incoming Editors with much guidance. This was exacerbated by deficiencies ingrained in the handover process. The majority of our progress has been in the area of financial policy For example, implementing methodologies for dealing with purchases and procurement, as well as key risk areas such as fraud. Policies have also been implemented with respect to publishing, confidentiality and conflicts of interest. They are all freely and easily accessible via the top tabs menu on our website. It ought to be mentioned that to characterise these documents as “guidelines” would be erroneous. By and large, ANUSM staff members, including Editors and Sub-Editors, cannot simply exercise discretion and derogate from their obligations created by policy. These policies are to be characterised as “orders” or “regulations” as per Section 23 of the Constitution. They are enforceable documents and most carry consequences for breaches in addition to Section 7.9.2 of the Constitution, which permits the Board to remove Editors found to have breached any orders or regulations of the Association. b. Human Resources The Board has recognised that the workload involved in managing the Association is often excessively onerous for volunteer university students to undertake. As a result, ANUSM has considerably increased the number of co-opted Sub-Editors as well as remunerated professional staff.
  5. 5.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   5   The number of Sub-Editors has been increased from 15 to 20, adding team members to key areas such as Print, News and Business Development, which will be specifically discussed in Section V. In terms of remunerated staff, in the course of the last twelve months we have created and filled four formal positions: Administrative Assistant, Distributor, Proofreader and Bookkeeper. The latter is a position that is shared between ANUSM, ANUSA and PARSA. V. Portfolio Reports a. Print i. In General The principal aim within Print has been to expedite the entire process from the point of submission to publication, while maintaining the overall quality of the content we publish. We have achieved this in a variety of ways, with the following worth mentioning: • Increased training for Sub-Editors in how to manage their relationships with Contributors and ensure a constant and rapid flow of articles. • The codification of a set of guidelines, known as Memorandums of Understanding, to give Sub-Editors direction in their operations. This document includes a full delineation of their rights and responsibilities as co-opted Members of the Association under Section 12 of the Constitution, as well as an array of supporting documents to serve as reference guides when working with Contributors. • The inclusion of a Proofreader to ensure compliance with the Woroni Style Guide. • The design of an additional editorial test, in order to complement the publishing standard entrenched in Section 10 of the Constitution. The test is based on an assessment of the potential for harm to be inflicted on all stakeholders, including ANUSM, by the publication of content. ii. News
  6. 6.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   6   As a sub-set of the overarching Print portfolio, News is worth mentioning as a standalone because of its extensive impact across the ANU Community. In a nutshell, News has received a complete revamp so as to improve the evidentiary thresholds for publication, the spread of coverage of ANU events, the Contributor base and the overall editing cycle. b. Radio Since it inception, it has been a turbulent journey for Woroni Radio to gain a foothold within the social consciousness of the ANU Community. In the past year, the Board has shifted its mentality regarding Woroni Radio’s purpose and persona. We consider it to be an additional avenue of considerable future potential, through which the ANU Community can channel its unique voice and thoughts. Further, Woroni Radio is working closely with local talent to a type of ‘creative hub’ which the entire ANU Community can access, and is also working with residential halls as well as ANU clubs and societies to co-host events such as balls and sporting matches. It is worth mentioning that a partnership with 2xx FM was discontinued towards the end of Semester 1 2014. The benefits from that partnership ceased to be of value to ANUSM, in comparison to the time and manpower commitments it required. In the past year, Woroni Radio’s listenership has increased by over two-thirds, and as it stands there are no reportable signs of stagnation. The Board is determined to continue to support and fund Woroni Radio in its future endeavors. c. Multimedia i. Photography Photography has always accounted for the majority of our online reach. The ANU Community is drawn to the photographic coverage of events that we provide, a fact that has positive flow-on effects for the rest of our operations. In other words, we know for a fact that our photographic content leads our audience to read articles, or listen to podcasts, etc. For
  7. 7.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   7   this reason, the Board has re-directed its attention towards improving the state of our photography. We have instituted a 48-hour turnaround limit for all photographic content. This has been complied with so far, and accordingly we have seen the flow- on effects from publishing photographs promptly. We have significantly reduced the level of red tape that constrained photographers from publishing their content, and we aim to provide more extensive and comprehensive training to all photographers. Additionally, we have expanded our operation beyond the boundaries of the ANU to cover events that are of general interest to the ANU Community, such as the ‘Groovin’ the Moo’ music festival, and the Palm Sunday Rally for Refugees. Overall, ANUSM continues to enjoy a majority market share of ANU events, with plans in the making to ensure this is maintained and increased in the future. ii. Videography ANUSM has struggled to reinvigorate videography as a viable channel through which to disseminate content. There are inherent obstacles that exist within the nature of videographic content that precludes it from being as versatile as photographic content. This includes the extended editing process that is required, as well as the higher level of skill. Our current strategy consists of producing short but well produced videos that cover the general atmosphere of the event and function as a recap for those who attended. We plan to shoot and release extended length videos in the future that will comprise a variety of themes. iii. Online Considering that the majority of our audience accesses information through social media, the Board has placed a significant focus on enhancing our presence throughout a variety of platforms. Facebook
  8. 8.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   8   remains the focus of our efforts, with Twitter, YouTube and Instagram as ancillaries. The most significant change has been the development of our mobile app. As of August 2014, ANUSM finalised and published the first version of the Woroni mobile app, for both Android and iOS devices. It synchronises and updates automatically the entire array of content we publish, and is available free of charge. We are currently exploring the capabilities of the app as a platform for greater student engagement, by means of providing clubs and societies a space through which to engage with their membership and recruit new members as well. VI. Finance a. In General The focus for the past twelve months has been twofold: enhance and ensure the robustness of ANUSM’s financial governance, and reduce our dependence on SSAF revenue. As outlined in Section IV(a) above, the Board has made substantial progress in the field of developing comprehensive policy to guide current and future Editors in managing the Association. The specifics of our financial processes can be found in the Managing Editor’s Annual Report. b. Business Development Towards the end of 2014, the Board created the Business Development portfolio, to be managed by two Sub-Editors and supervised by the Executive. The objectives of the portfolio are to manage and nurture the advertising and sponsorship relationships of the Association, as well as to explore, design, implement and maintain innovative sources of revenue. c. Ernst-Young Financial Governance Review (‘The EY Review’) During the middle of Semester Two 2014, the ANU requested that ANUSM, ANUSA and PARSA be subject to a review of its financial governance led by the independent audit firm Ernst & Young. The review aimed to “assess the governance arrangements relating to finance and human resource functions of the ANU student associations.” A total of eight recommendations were made in the report, of which all eight concerned ANUSM. A report on the progress of
  9. 9.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   9   implementation of the recommendations was submitted to the Chancelry, at their request, on April 20th 2015. The EY Review is accessible in full through our website. d. Student Services & Amenities Fee (SSAF) The Student Services & Amenities Fee is collected by the University from the student body, both undergraduate and postgraduate, with the aim of funding the provision of non-academic services. The 2012 SSAF Funding Agreement between the ANU and the student associations, including ANUSM, came to an end in 2015. As a result we have been engaged in extensive negotiations with University representatives in the hope of producing a new funding agreement. Discussions regarding the implementation of EY Review recommendations caused significant delay to the commencement of SSAF negotiations in 2014, with them beginning in early December. It has become apparent that all parties involved have intentions to alter several provisions from the previous funding agreement, and so ANUSA, PARSA and ANUSM made the decision to collaborate during the negotiations. Our budget submissions were drafted in tandem, and we also aligned our expectations for the negotiations to minimise disagreement and delay. Ultimately, the three student associations, whilst delivering different services, have very similar objectives and visions. As of the date of this report, negotiations are still on-going but coming to a close, with the expectation being that an agreement will be signed within the next four weeks. VII. Elections a. 2014 End-of-the-Year Election The election at the end of Semester 2 2014 saw the largest number of candidates in the history of ANUSM. Ten candidates received 1,354 votes amongst them, the largest number of votes ever casted in an ANUSM election. An election of this size and vigour naturally attracted controversy with several candidates alleging that their opponents had breached certain Electoral Regulations. The Returning Officer, Roxanne Missingham, considered the allegations to be severe enough to launch a
  10. 10.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   10   full-scale investigation and withheld from determining the result of the election until these issues were resolved. Her investigation was brought to an abrupt close with one of the candidates withdrawing their nomination, at which point the Returning Officer felt confident she could determine the result of the election. Sophie Yates, Jacob Ingram, Ellen Stokes and Rashna Farrukh were subsequently elected. The Returning Officer’s Electoral Report is available upon request. b. Electoral Regulations In order to avoid issues from the previous year and improve the general electoral process, the Board will be conducting a review of ANUSM’s current Electoral Regulations as per Section 7.6.8 (c) of the Constitution. c. Managing Editor As a measure aimed to strengthen the Association’s financial governance, the Board is proposing that the manner in which the Managing Editor is elected be altered. The change would in effect separate the Managing Editor’s election from that of General Editors, and turn the position from a six-month position to a full calendar year. In effect, the Managing Editor would be elected every twelve months, with the elections for the rest of the Editors remaining the same. The rationale behind this change is that the Managing Editor’s role, as the Treasurer of the Association, is of such a crucial nature that adding stability and continuity to the role is simply in line with principles of good corporate governance. Regardless of how seamless the handover process is, replacing the Treasurer of any not-for- profit association will inevitably create unnecessary disruption and delay which, when it comes to the wages of our employees, is simply unacceptable. The Board aims to reduce these changeovers to a minimum, and so has opted for the institutionalisation of the Managing Editor’s role as a twelve-month position. VIII. Miscellaneous a. Union Court Redevelopment As part of the Chancelry’s plan to redevelop Union Court, a suggestion has been raised that ANUSM relocate back to Union Court once the project is complete.
  11. 11.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   11   Although no formal proposals have been put forward as of yet, the Board is exploring the feasibility and value of such relocation. b. Market Research In order to gain a more complete understanding of the public opinion held by the ANU Community with regards to ANUSM operations, in 2014 the Board commissioned two separate market research projects: a university-wide consumer satisfaction online survey, and a readership and face-to-face survey. The former was commissioned to Portaluri Consulting Group, and the latter to Market Attitude Research Services. The Board has analysed the results at length and re- adapted its operations in accordance with some of the recommendations made in the final reports. Overall, the Board recognises that there are several areas requiring considerable improvement, and is working towards their rectification. Both reports are accessible from our website. c. Humans of Canberra The Humans of Canberra project is an initiative that commenced in 2013 as part of Woroni Photography, and since then has gathered a Facebook following of over 14,000 people. Its principal photographers left ANUSM at the end of Semester 1 2014, and so the project went into an indefinite hiatus for the rest of 2014. This year the project has been recommenced, with a new set of photographers at its helm. d. Forums & Workshops For the past twelve months, the Board has been piloting new ways in which to disseminate information to the ANU Community. One of these is our Forums & Workshops Program, designed to be a more direct and interactive channel through which to disseminate information. Past examples have included The Great Debate: Deregulation, How to Get Published: Jo Walker, Editor of Frankie Magazine, and The Rationality of Terror. The Board aims to continue with this program in the foreseeable future.   IX. Acknowledgements
  12. 12.   Editor-­‐in-­‐Chief’s  Annual  Report   ANUSM  AGM  2015   12   As the Editor-in-Chief, I would like to acknowledge my fellow Board members from 2014 and 2015, without whom none of the contents of this report would have been possible. I would also like to acknowledge our Sub-Editorial team and members of ANUSM staff, who provide the essential manpower for the operations of ANUSM. I would also like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as the traditional owners and custodians of land on which this report was prepared and delivered. X. Concluding Comments The Members of ANU Student Media constitute the very essence of its existence, and the Board of Editors has always strived to cater to their needs and aspirations for the Association. The independence gained in 2011 was an unprecedented feat in the history of university student media in Australia, but it carried dormant burdens to which the Board has aimed to provide durable solutions. As the managerial board of an independent not- for-profit organisation, we ought to execute our roles persistently aware of the fact that there is no safety net to catch us when we fall. At first it might appear to be a dire and menacing reality in which ANUSM exists. However, independence also carries with it the freedom and flexibility to devise an innovative and visionary strategic direction in which to take the Association. The restraints are minimal, and the opportunities endless. There are no signs of ANUSM stagnating in the foreseeable future, and the Board of Editors will continue to strive for the fulfillment of the principles upon which it was founded: freedom of information, and accountability. ____________________________ Alex Catalán-Flores Editor-in-Chief ANU Student Media Inc.

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