When Spineless began as a strike bulletin in November 2019, and then as a website in January 2020, none of those involved in this experiment could have anticipated it becoming as successful as it has proven to be. Across nearly 100 articles, we have reported and uncovered bullying and maladministration, blusters and blunders, among those in power at Lancaster University, Lancaster University Students' Union, and elsewhere in our community.

Our reporting has held a spotlight to the actions of highly-paid senior managers and students' elected representatives. We have also taken a step back to look at higher education as a whole, particularly the role private enterprise plays. We are proud of what we have achieved so far, and while we don't claim to be perfect, we know we have done a good job by the quality of our readers (we love you!).

Another thing that we could never have anticipated at the launch of this project is recent weeks' events: a global pandemic and the near-total implosion of LUSU. Society and the state will face unprecedented challenges and difficult decisions in the coming year and beyond, including Lancaster University. It will be more vital then ever for journalism to report, investigate and hold to account decision-makers as they navigate this crisis, something Spineless shall endeavour to continue to do.

Spineless is a project that is truly homemade, and run by a small team of dedicated writer-editors who volunteer huge numbers of man-hours to research and produce timely news pieces for the Lancaster University community. We have our supporters and detractors, as any good publication should, but we cannot continue writing at the same pace forever.

In line with our volunteer contributors' changing interests and availabilities, we are transitioning to publish more investigative material. From now on, our reporting will be more infrequent but longer, and hopefully, of a higher-quality. As ever, we welcome feedback and suggestions, which can be sent straight to our email inbox: spinelesslancs@protonmail.com. We're already working on several big stories instigated by tip-offs from our readers, including articles on labour disputes, disability discrimination, finances, and leadership.

Whilst our focus switches away from reactive news and comment, we hope that student journalists in The Tab Lancaster and SCAN will continue to provide the important service of keeping the University community informed of the latest antics of those in power. You can, as ever, listen to Bailrigg FM and watch LA1TV, and new media is popping up all the time, like The Human Odyssey podcast. And of course, the journalistic milieu of Lancaster would be unimaginable without the continued vital contribution of our fellow muckrakers over at subtext.


The Spineless editorial team