LeadLUU: Iona Tompkins

As voting for LeadLUU kicks off, we speak to the Gryphon Editor candidates. For manifestos and more information, click here.

Who are you?

My name’s Iona and I’m a 3rd year History and Asia Pacific studies student. I’m born and bred in London, but I’ll reluctantly admit I’ve loved my time in Leeds and the Gryphon has been a big part of that. Attending the paper’s give it a go session three years ago was one of the most formative decisions I’ve made during my time at Leeds, and I can’t imagine what my university experience would have been like without the pleasure of spending endless hours in the Gryphon office editing and laying out some truly inspiring content.

Why do you want to be Editor of the Gryphon?

I’m running for Gryphon editor because I want every student to feel like their thoughts, feelings and emotional or critical responses to major world events are valued and amplified through the paper. I want to provide structures of support that give contributors the confidence to write the articles that matter most to them but are also the ones they struggle most to put down on paper. I truly love the Gryphon and the community that surrounds it and running for editor is the best way I can say thank you for everything the paper’s done for me.

What are some of the key policies or changes you hope to implement?

I’d work as editor to run a full year of workshops open to all contributors, led by members of marginalised groups themselves. It’s vital that the Gryphon’s writers feel confident that they can report on complex issues in a respectful manner, and I believe this can only be achieved by hearing and learning from members of marginalised groups themselves. I’d work with groups like the Abuse Awareness Soc, Black Feminist Soc and Disabled Student Network to ensure these workshops are run in the most appropriate manner possible. I’d also provide training in essential journalistic skills such as how to write a Freedom of Information request and hold the University accountable.

Student welfare is incredibly important to me, and I think all the Gryphon’s contributors deserve to have a paper that can provide support to them as and when they need it. I’d work with Leeds Minds to provide welfare training for every editor and associate of the paper.

Finally, I want to create a dedicated section for highlighting student businesses, make space for respectful debate on the Gryphon’s radio shows and create a brand new Lower-Income Mentorship scheme to complement the amazing POC mentorship scheme which was piloted this year.

Why should people vote for you?

You should vote for me because I am passionate about making the Gryphon the best it can be, and I have the ideas ready to make necessary changes happen. I’ve got a great deal of media experience both within and outside the Gryphon, having presented on ITV News and BBC Radio One in the past. The fact that the paper nominated me for an outstanding achievement award at last year’s Student Publication Awards is testament to my dedication and commitment to the paper, something I hope I can continue to prove to you all as editor next year.