By Chilli Pepper
Pepperoni Observational News Corp is a Peppercorn series that delivers satirical news and reporting via Peppercorn’s Facebook page and biannual magazine, and definitely has no affiliation with Woroni or the ANU Observer and any allusions to affiliations with these news outlets are false and misleading and should not be made or considered.
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ANU student media orgs sign landmark agreement for one Schmidtpost per week
On 14 September 2023, the bosses of the major ANU student media organisations have put aside their differences and signed a landmark agreement for each organisation to only post one article to Schmidtposting per week.
This was met with overwhelming support from ANU students. “It’s the dawn of a new era”, said ANU political science student Rach Glenn. “We can safely say that Schmidtposting is no longer a battleground for the major ANU student media players and students can live freely on the forum without the fear of an impending showdown.”
The ANU student media landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. Woroni was once the oldest, richest and most powerful of the ANU student media titans, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in student services and amenities fees (SSAF) funding. For half a century, Woroni took advantage of this empire with no genuine competition, influencing ANU student opinion and politics however they wanted.
ANU Observer then joined the fray a few years ago and is still a relatively new challenger for power in the ANU student media landscape. The riches have slowly been pouring in for ANU Observer, with SSAF funding slowly coming their way. The hegemony of Woroni is now being challenged, and the battlegrounds have been clear for years.
One major battleground is Schmidtposting, arguably the most popular Facebook forum for ANU students, including posts about lost property, upcoming events, memes, socialist propaganda, and anything else you can think of. Woroni and ANU Observer have been battling it out in Schmidtposting for years, with economic and geostrategic importance in gaining more annual views and therefore a pitch to the uni for more funding.
Students often prefer one or the other, with student interactions seen in the ANU media landscape as a zero-sum game. “I like Woroni better because I like student podcasts and videos and radio,” law student Alexis Branch said. Her friend leant over and chimed in, “nah Woroni is old, ANU Observer is so much better.”
This landmark agreement – the ANU Student Media Organisation Convention (ASMOC) 2023 – reflects a warming of cold relations between the two ANU student media organisations, also reflecting ANU Observer’s assertion of dominance over the past few years and Woroni’s fear over losing its grip on power. Both organisations have set aside their differences by keeping the supply of articles to Schmidtposting artificially low, selecting their best article of the week rather than all articles to post.
Although ASMOC represents a landmark warming in relations between the two organisations, other live battlegrounds remain unaddressed. There were border skirmishes between the two organisations in Kambri in March this year, which Pepperoni Observational News Corp reported on. The landmark agreement has also not dealt with the fractured relations between the two in ANU Confessions, and each organisation seeking a monopoly over reporting on ANUSA elections.
“ANU Observer sent through a series of reservations and objections after Woroni first invited them to sign this agreement,” ANU student media expert Tan Hughson explains. “Woroni was able to firmly reject these and achieved an extraordinary outcome to keep ANU Observer from claiming any more of Woroni’s lost territory.”
We asked several students for their opinions and the common theme was that much-needed balance in the ANU student media landscape has been achieved through this agreement. “I enjoy both of them but never enjoyed the oversaturation on Schmidtposting,” economics student Kyle Duplas said. “If I wanted to enjoy all of their content rather than just the best of it, I would just like and follow their Facebook pages. I want to see more shit-posting rather than quick-posting.”
Although the battlegrounds on Schmidtposting have become more peaceful for now, the battle for hegemonic status between Woroni and ANU Observer over the ANU student media landscape rages on, and the funding and power that comes along with it.