Towards Healing With The Pen

The Unified UIMSA Press Constitution emerged in April 2023, a product of several meetings and the conclusion of multiple years of discussions concerning operating a non-tiered Press body. From April 2023 till now, it has served as the guide for all of the UIMSA Press’ activities — in line with the UCJ — and as the Press heads into a new phase, it is that which we shall once again turn to. 

Article 3a: The motto of the Press shall be “Healing with the Pen”. Granted, you might have seen this accompany an article or live update. In the last year, the UIMSA Press has elevated that motto to more than just a play on words aligning Medicine with Journalism. We have published timely stories addressing vital issues affecting the student community. Through our news stories, we’ve offered succour to many seeking clarification, elevating the previous standards of reportage available in the College of Medicine. For students of the famed Ibadan Medicine, we’ve become a primary, trusted source of information  —new and old  — without sacrificing any ethics guiding us as journalists. Through entertainment and creative writing, we have touched the hearts of many. Our stories document Nigerian Art and Culture, celebrating projects at the frontiers and spotlighting critical aspects of the industry and even creatives within the association. Via our health stories, the UIMSA Press has aided students in dealing with some of their most pressing health concerns while lending a voice to our senior colleagues’ fight for better working conditions. Our interviews serve as timestamps to be referenced years from now, preserving the words of the best graduating students and individuals who have made — and will still make — a difference. There’s also Sports; with stories on both the highs and lows of UIMSA, UI, national, and international sports. 

While laurels are not the goal of quality journalism, they are a marker of said quality, and the UIMSA Press has done well in that regard. At the most recent Union of Campus Journalists, UI Awards Night, two UIMSA Pressmen snagged nominations for four keenly contested categories, winning two (Best News Writer and Best Sports Writer). The latter’s winner was also nominated for Best Entertainment Writer and Most Promising Campus Journalist, an indication of the growth within the Press, as this was his first year as a proper Campus Journalist. In terms of service to the Union itself, we weren’t left out, having produced her erstwhile Public Relations Officer (I) and Entertainment Editor and the most significant number of UCJ inductees in the UIMSA Press’ history. We fulfilled Article 6 of our constitution, concerned with “maintaining a cordial relationship with the Union and fulfilling all required obligations”. 

The first year as a unified Press was not bereft of challenges. Dissimilar levels of recruitment on the Clinical and Preclinical ends of the association left a few gaps on desks that the Editorial Board, fortunately, and eventually, closed. The differences in each class’ calendar also led to multiple changes in rotations and rosters. Finally, there was an issue with the website’s hosting which slowed down the Press’ output towards the tail-end of the year. All in all, we pulled through. 

What’s to come? Quite frankly, a lot. The past year has shown room for improvement and innovation, which we intend to do. The weekly publication of the UIMSA Press, Hippocrates Weekly, is one of several steps we will take on the Journey to Healing with the Pen. You should also expect elevated editorial standards. We recognise the role journalism plays in healthcare and the impact of bodies like Hum Angle and the Foundation of Investigative Journalism in furthering this cause, and we believe the Press has a greater role to play in giving a voice to the concerns of students in healthcare. Also, coverage will be expanded for a more accurate representation of the student body. 

In our quest to ensure these, we must be adaptive but not at the risk of failing to uphold journalistic integrity. This means complementing recruitment with adequate training and cutting complacency to a bare minimum. This is only our second year as a unified LPO, so we intend to draw on resources and the knowledge base of our longer-standing sister bodies in the Union and integrate, when and where possible, with one goal: quality journalism. To paraphrase the Press Creed, “The supreme test of good journalism is in the measure of its public service”. We urge our readers to keep us to these standards by not just reading and sharing but also providing feedback and story leads — if any — and applying knowledge gained in their daily lives. 

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