Varsity Business Manager caught editing rival's Wikipedia page

Image credit: Wikipedia

Varsity Publications Ltd appears to have edited the Wikipedia page of their rival paper. In a move that represents a somewhat novel approach to student journalism, a Wikipedia user named Mark J Curtis made 6 edits to The Cambridge Student’s Wikipedia page today and yesterday.  The changes include the removal of information on the paper’s receipt of Guardian Student Journalism Awards and coverage of TCS’ breaking news work. 

According to Facebook, Mr Mark Curtis is a former member of the TCS Board of Directors and Business Manager of CUSU. He is also the current Business Manager of Varsity. One of Wikipedia’s few requests is for users to write neutrally, avoid issues which involve self-interest etc.  

Mr Mark J Curtis is not a regular Wikipedia hack.  These seem to be his only 6 involvements to date. TCS compete with Varsity for advertising and as a Business Manager, this sort of ploy seems detrimental to student journalism.  If he is to regularly pursue this hobby we also recommend keeping a punctuation guide closer to hand. 

The additions to Wikipedia were mostly contained in Varsity’s own article about TCS published earlier this week.  The article reported TCS’ current status as an online only paper.  It wisely didn’t actually discuss what TCS was doing online.  It did however include the tasty attitude of TCS’ 1999 Director towards online journalism.  

Varsity’s fresh approach comes months after the appearance of an anonymous Medium account – Ofcam – which took personal aim at Cambridge’s student journalists.  Those that didn’t work for Varsity anyway.  It demonstrated a similar preoccupation with TCS and off the wall analysis of the paper’s direction. 

A slightly more high-minded approach to the sphere of student journalism would be warmly received. One of the traditional responsibilities of being involved in journalism is doing what’s in the public’s best interest and we would like to call on one of the UK’s most celebrated student papers to support this noble mantra.

Varsity were contacted at 19:17 for comment as soon as TCS became aware of the changes. 

They have since since commented that "The decision to edit The Cambridge Student's Wikipedia page was not an editorial one, and made without the discussion or approval of its editorial team. It does not reflect the alleged "moving in a direction with a serious conflict of interest" that TCS claimed. The article states that Varsity was contacted for comment this evening - no email was sent to the Varsity editor, for whom it is basic journalistic practice to contact if a piece with allegations against Varsity is being published. The piece also states that an edit was made over the summer to Varsity's own Wikipedia page by its current editor - the only change was updating the name of the editor, which is done every term."

DISCLAIMER - TCS has changed phrasing of parts of this article to avoid unnecesarily implicating Varsity itself, and those within the Varsity team who are not clearly responsible for this act. The phrasing 'Varsity Newspaper' was changed to 'Varsity Publications Ltd' on request. 

As a general note TCS’ content is moving away from student politics and the drama it entails but felt that this mistaken approach warranted comment.  Stay tuned for our new website.  

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