What a Year! The Wessex Scene at the End of 2012


New Year’s Day, and many of us are reflecting on 2012 and what a year it was!

I took over as Editor in June this year, since then my editorial team and I have seen our website smash 1,000,000 hits and score its most-read article ever. Our magazine has had a facelift and can now be read online, we have more writers and artists than ever before and have had a hugely successful year.

I will remember this year for liveblogging Varsity, co-ordinating the coverage of the NUS Referendum and making some huge and often difficult decisions but it has been worth every second.

new_year_2013_mainHere’s a run-down of our website’s most-read articles, overall and then per section, Well Done if yours has made the list.

Our most successful articles this year

1. Gay Couple Accepts Responsibility for Every Major Disaster of the Last 50 Years– 77,325 hits. Pause Editor Sam Everard’s satirical article went viral and featured on Reddit.com we still have bemused Americans retweeting, whether they think it is true or not, well… I guess that’s the beauty of satire and the Pause section this year.

2. No Smoke Please, There are Children Present– 12,067 hits. This article seems to have attracted the attention of the NHS and google ads but holds a prominent message to all smokers, Well Done Phillip Adler.

3. Fire Breaks Out in Portswood– 6,634 hits. 2012 seems to have been a year of fires breaking out in Portswood, this article is from April this year and could not have been produced without Jo Fisher’s quick thinking.

Most Read Articles Per Section


1. Fire Breaks Out in Portswood- 6,634 hits, Jo Fisher

2. Pixie Lott Headlines Grad Ball– 5,052 hits, Jo Fisher

3. New Sainsbury’s Opening in Portswood Next Week– 2,687 hits, Emma Chappell

The Wessex Scene prides itself on reporting about the things that students at Southampton care about, so it looks like this year you’ve cared about fires in Portswood, the Grad Ball and the new Sainsbury’s. However, this year we have also covered Elections results, Jubilee celebrations and the Olympic Torch in Southampton along with National, local and feature news from the LGBT community thanks to Amy Ashenden.


1. Cannabis Criminalisation- A fallacy which drives crime– 5,921 hits, Jack Henton

2. Focus on Israel/Palestine: A Gross Mistake, 1,496 hits, Samuel Gilonis

3. An Assault on Democracy- Sabbs and Their NUS Plans, 1,400 hits, Alexander James Green

2012 has hosted a huge range of political events here at Southampton, Nationally and Internationally. Highlights include SUSU Elections in March which the Wessex Scene provided a huge amount of coverage for, thanks to Jamie Chadd and Charlotte Harwood amongst others who interviewed candidates and liveblogged. We also watched the US elections unfold thanks to the dedicated coverage by Alexander James Green. David Martin and Jamie Barker live-blogged the result. Of course we have also had the NUS Referendum in the near past which provoked much debate and controversy but thanks to our readers for their feedback throughout the process. Thank God, it didn’t end in an Apocalypse or Referendageddon as Pause Editor Sam predicted. 2013 will see the launch of our Feminism series so look out for that.


1.“We Shall Not Sleep Though Poppies Grow in Flander’s Fields”– 5,026, Julia Lowes

2. On The Road with Text-A-Toastie-1,466, Nile Davies

3. The Darker Side of Paradise– 1,425, Amy Sandys

Former Features Editors Charlotte Harwood and Nile Davies left a big act to follow but Amy Sandys and Andy Haywood have brought heaps of enthusiasm and have covered topics such as Halloween fancy dress on a budget, the ethical side of TOMS shoes amongst other things.


1. Cannabis Criminalisation: A fallacy which drives crime– 5,921, Jack Henton

2. A Response to Kony– 2,729, Ben Whipp

3. The SUSU Scribblers- How NOT to run a society– 2,371, Imogen Carr

The Opinion section is almost always the most controversial, however we have had a successful year publishing articles which provoke debate and get people talking. Highlights include the many responses to the viral video ‘Kony 2012,’ one student’s take on the LAD culture and the many articles published about the NUS Referendum. Bring on 2013.


1. Tears of a Student– 1,630, Anna Lucking

2. Should Students Stand for Second Class Housing– 1,054, Claire Joines

3. The New Bridge Bar Menu: The Icing on the Cake?-978, Emma Chappell

2012 has seen the launch of the ‘Don’t Settle’ Housing campaign led by VP Welfare Chloe Green which looks set to help students into the New Year and the renovation of the Bridge Bar. The Lifestyle section have also covered fashion with some help from Winchester, restaurant reviews and conducted a sex survey before the summer. They have also launched a monthly fashion column written by Sarah Smyth called ‘In the Scene.’

Science and Environment

1.No Smoke Please, There are Children Present– 12,067, Phillip Adler

2. Potential Cure for HIV Found399, Audrey Ryan

3. RIP Sir Patrick Moore 244, Will Russell

This year this section has expanded to become a Science and Environment section with a plethora of new and enthusiastic writers from a variety of academic backgrounds, covering topics from hangovers to the death of Sir Patrick Moore, the blackout and the badger cull.
I most enjoyed meeting the new team and challenging people’s perceptions of science. Written by Science and Environment Editor, Claire Critchley


1. Southampton’s Twin– 1,934, Valentina Signorelli

2. Top 10 Things To Do in Peru-1, 187, Bethan Philpott

3. Australia- An Upside Down Christmas-1,061, Tom Durham

Students are forever going on holidays it seems which bodes well for our Travel Editor. We’ve covered all kinds of holidays from those to Malia to Voluntourism and Study China. Let’s hope the holidays continue into 2013.


1. British and Italian Sterotypes- How Accurate Are They?– 855, Valentina Signorelli

2. Malaysian Government Performing Seminars to Teach Parents and Teachers How to Spot Gay Kids- 452, Amy Ashenden

3. Grand Duke of Luxembourg National Day June 23rd– 433, Rebecca Frankel

International Editor Jack Kanani has had a very busy couple of months recruiting new writers from our International community, writing about Mexico Day and Diwali celebrations at our SU and reporting on the crisis at London Met. We have also started a series entitled ‘A Letter From…’ written by students on their Year Abroad with help from David Tully.

We have had great success with our ‘We Are One Race’ article, which is featured on an international website alongside the likes of The Guardian, highlighting the need for people to come together. There is a massive outreach still needed for our communities and cultures to collaborate, more so than it currently is, which is something that will be a focus for myself in the next few months. I am, as always, thankful to the editoral team, the writers and to the societies and general people that have helped in any way in providing support – in means a great deal to me. I hope that I can meet more of you in the future and hopefully we will see your article publish in our magazine or on our website some day soon! Written by Jack Kanani (International Editor).


1. Damien Hirst’s ‘Verity’ : An Allegory of Truth and Justice or Tacky and Tasteless? – 1,383, Caroline Raby

2. Winchester Christmas Lights 2012 – 667, Amy Harwood

3. Winchester Christmas Market Opening 2012 – 378,  Caroline Raby

Editing the Winchester section has been an amazing experience so far this year. My main goals were to make the Wessex Scene a household name on the Winchester campus and to give as many students the opportunity to be involved as possible.  I’m happy to say that  these goals have already been met, with a huge thanks to our team of contributors and my Winchester-based colleagues Sasha Spaid (one of our Imagery Editors) and Bronwen Rees (Head of Design).

Our team of writers and image-makers has more than doubled since last year, which made our most recent Art Advent series and The 12 Days of Christmas Illustrated such a great success. We have a great team of writers with their own indiviual styles and interests, and we have started a few series such as Fashion Showcases and The Best Burgers in Town. The Twitter account I set up at the beginning of the year has been a great way of sharing news and getting students involved; the trends #ArtStudentPains and #ArtStudentWins are still going strong! Written by Winchester Editor, Amy Harwood


1. Join the Wessex Scene Euro 2012 Fantasy League– 4,406, Richard Windsor

2. Varsity Live Blog– 1,827, Ellie Sellwood, Richard Windsor and Will Handley

3. Southampton FC Release 11 Players– Andre Pusey

2012 was an astronomical year in terms of Sport, we were spoilt really weren’t we? What can top the Olympics and the Paralympics in London along with Euro 2012 and Southampton’s victory at Varsity depite horrible conditions? 2013 is going to have a tough time beating all of that.


1. Gay Couple Accepts Responsibility for Every Major Disaster of the Last 50 Years– 77,325, Sam Everard

2. Pause Logo Competition – 2,851, Bryony Wellburn
3. Interview with Trenton Oldfield – 1,243, James Barnes

Editing Pause these last few months has been a very rewarding experience. Starting my tenure running a section that very few knew even existed was always going to be a challenge, but thanks to an incredibly dedicated team of writers Pause has become one of the most popular sections of the website. We now have one long-running series, the most popular article in the history of the Wessex Scene (which has even been translated into Russian!), and we’ve published stories as diverse as a fake interview with a boat-race-disrupting swimmer, a probably fictional account of the Graduation Ball, and an exploration into the worst sitcom of all time. Pause has even featured in the magazine this year for the first time ever. I’ve had an amazing time working with the editorial team, and look forward to expanding the section even more in the New Year. Written by Pause Editor Sam Everard.

Well we definitely have a lot to shout about, our website has been extremely successful this year and we look forward to working with as many of you as possible in the coming year. SUSU Media and VP Communications David Gilani held the first ever News Training Day before Christmas and will holding more sessions in the next Semester. 2013 has a lot in store for us all so I hope you will stay with us for all the things which are important to you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR from us all! 


I come from South West London and am studying English at Southampton. I am interested in journalism and considering it as a career after my degree. I have interests in Sports and Music and have written for a sports magazine called Sportsister before. I am keen to get involved in as much as possible whilst at Uni and writing about my experiences could be a very rewarding thing. :)

Discussion5 Comments

        • avatar
          Another WS reader

          If the numbers speak for themselves, why the constant need to remind everyone that you’re “better”?

        • avatar

          Aww thanks, nice to know you’ve memorised my picture. Quite flattered. I’m speaking as a WS reader, not as myself. And by the way, using hashtags on anything other than Twitter makes you look a bit idiotic #justsayin’ #troll

Leave A Reply