EDITORIAL: The Gown’s Hopeful Future Is Indebted to The Success of The Pandemic Years

By Rory Morrow, Editor-in-Chief

Fantastic Foundations of Last Year point to a Bright Future for the Gown & wider student journalism, as a whole

The new Student’s Union Building, One Elmwood. Picture: Alex Edwards

Recently, we have moved with the times, adapting to an altogether different platform of an online newspaper. I am pleased to say that despite the transition, the Gown remains a popular source of reading with article and issue views alike last year, consistently hitting the hundreds in views.

This success owes greatly to my editorial predecessors, Peter Donnelly and in particular, Aidan Lomas. Peter had the challenge of being the paper’s first “pandemic editor” but managed to maintain the publication of a vast amount of high quality, student-written, pieces. On a personal note, it was Peter whom I tentatively sent my first ever articles to the Gown- back in January 2021! His generosity in both publishing them and encouraging me in my ability, is something I’ll always be grateful for.

Peter Donnelly, the Gown’s first “Pandemic Editor-in-Chief” for the year 2020-2021. Photo: Peter Donnelly

Then, just over a year ago, assisting Aidan as Deputy Editor, I got my first in-depth look behind the scenes of how the paper runs. This includes the editing process, manning the social media sites and of course, being present for the big moments. Last year, these were many such moments. Among them, Chancellor Clinton’s inauguration, almost instantaneous coverage of QUB’s position on online learning and my recollection of the brilliant Belfast Half Marathon’s atmosphere post-pandemic.

To cap the progress we had made, we were delighted to be nominated for a “Newspaper of the Year” award by Smedias. Although unsuccessful against other excellent student media publications, this remains quite the achievement for us and emphasises the overall success of last year. Something which would not have been possible without the efforts of our entire team and their reliable, entertaining, and factual array of reporting on QUB and the wider world.

Alongside Aidan, I would also like to thank our regular contributors last year. Anna Royle’s eloquent creative writing, Luke Tinsley’s informative SU pieces, Sean Mulryan’s Irish coverage as well as the superb Ulster University duo of Alexandra Rosbotham and Aron M Crilly who covered arts, entertainment, and film reviews in tremendously fun style.

Dream Team? The Gown’s then Deputy Editor, Rory Morrow & then Editor-in-Chief, Aidan Lomas during the 21-22 year. Photo: QUB Film Soc

I would especially like to congratulate all those who graduated, in particular Aidan who balanced his degree and job alongside his tremendous tenure as the Gown’s Editor-in-Chief. I have fond memories of time spent learning the ropes from him, both in editing and wider life adventures beyond! Standout moments include his nomination for “Editor of the year” at Smedias, a late-night chat that inspired our in-sync, two-pronged attack on QUB’s reversion to online learning last January and for fixing my tie at an eventful, shall we say, formal with friends.

These departures, albeit saddening, do leave us with plenty of room for any new and willing student writers. Whatever you want to talk about, we can publish it! All you have to do is get in touch, at any given moment, by either DM-ing us on our social media, @thegownqub, or emailing us at the.gown@outlook.com

With our current crop’s undoubted potential, it is my aim to lead the Gown to another successful year, where student journalism is, hopefully, elevated into an essential role of student life, both online & right here on QUB campus.


Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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