Exclusive First Interview: Newly elected VP of Communications

IN HIS first interview since being elected Vice President of Communications for Coventry University Students’ Union (CUSU), Dez Cutchey speaks of his hopes and aspirations, and how he sees his 12 month tenure in the media position working out upon completion of his undergraduate degree in Journalism and Media studies…

New VP Comms, Dez Cutchey

VP Comms, Dez Cutchey

…By all accounts, he has accomplished what few people have or are ever likely to achieve in politics: an electoral landslide.  It may not mirror the 1997 election landslide of former New Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair, but securing more than 50% of all votes cast is an impressive feat, and a mightily forceful message from those who used their ballot paper to elect him.

Those who voted for Teodora Belega and Sharifa Gordon may have done so in the hope of contributing to an outcome other than the obvious, but the odds were stacked firmly against them, and for many people, confirmation of Cutchey’s success was only a matter of when, and not if.

I want to establish a better link between Source Media and the Media & Communications department

He will commence his work in July with a wealth of knowledge of the media and journalistic world, a trait often missing from previous VP’s of Communication who, despite this, considered themselves to be aptly equipped to do both themselves and the job description justice.

But Cutchey believes such criticism is neither warranted nor fair, arguing that despite not having a media background, “by no means have previously elected VP of Communications done a bad job.  Rich Hayward, for instance, may not have been of a media background, but he really has made changes to the way CUSU communications work”.

A case in point is the failure of previous VP of Communications to establish a constructive and endearing working-relationship with lecturers and students from the Journalism Department – itself a pool of promising talent.  Speaking to Cutchey, it becomes clear he is keen to make this happen.

Reassuringly, he acknowledges the fact that there are many aspiring journalism students who have a lot to offer Source Media, and perhaps of greater value, are becoming increasingly multi-skilled in innumerable media platforms.  “Such a relationship would benefit all parties,” admits Cutchey.

“I definitely want to establish a better link between Source Media and the Media & Communications department as a whole.  There are students with the knowledge and ability to write great articles, to take fantastic photos, record brilliant videos; and I want to give those students a platform to showcase their work.”

Cutchey agrees that someone with prior “knowledge and expertise” of media will inevitably increase the quality of the output, and although “someone with no experience can do a good job, someone with expertise can do it better”.

Many of his aims and objectives have been moulded around this ‘expertise’, and ultimately proving himself and living up to the expectations people have placed upon him will undoubtedly be that bit greater.  So is he worried he will fail to fulfil his manifesto?

“I’m a very positive thinker, and very determined with it,” he said.  “I’m not fearful of being unable to live up to my promises in the slightest.  I have every confidence I will carry each and every one of them through.”

But before any of his objectives take shape, Cutchey tells me that raising the general profile of Coventry University Student’s Union is highly likely to take priority for reasons considered little other than “worrying”.

He explained: “One of the major problems I have noted is the severe lack of awareness as to what the Students’ Union is and what it actually does. This is something I want to rectify.

Knowledge and expertise of media will inevitably increase the quality of the output

“I don’t think I can achieve many of my other aims without sorting that out first.  After these elections, more and more people have come to know about the Student’s Union.  At this year’s elections, there was a record amount of votes, but this needs to be followed up.”

With effort comes reward, and arguably none more so deserving than Cutchey.  Having campaigned relentlessly for a little over three weeks that demanded he start at 8am and conclude sixteen hours later, people should have little doubt where his priorities lie.  “This year, Source Media is onwards and upwards.”

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