Why do university papers continue to print?

Reports have been coming in from across university towns in the UK of a bizarre phenomenon. The Pigeon can exclusively report that student run newspapers are earnestly continuing to print editions, despite empirical evidence that nobody has picked up a copy out of genuine interest since at least the early 1970s.

Kevin Smalls, Associate Editor of the Dartmouth University The Four Naans newspaper, when approached for comment on the matter denied that student papers were a dying breed. ‘I hear this chat about how students only pick up our print editions when they’ve got nothing else to read during a library lunch break, or when they need to mop up a spilt a drink,’ Smalls told me over the phone, ‘and frankly I think it’s the biggest load of tosh I’ve heard since I last had the misfortune of catching Russell Brand on TV or radio. We student papers are a time honoured tradition which absolutely has not been made redundant by the millennial generation’s tiny concentration spans, or listicle machines.’

This staunch defence of student newspapers was matched by an SU Executive. ‘These outlets provide a vital platform for the young people of this country to engage in the open debate of ideas that fosters a better society later in life, when those young people might be running the country. It is not in the slightest an exercise in self-gratification for the select few students who can be bothered to throw a few hundred words together on whatever topic they can get by the editors. Neither is it a means to an end for ambitious undergraduates who have notions of becoming the next Paul Dacre or Alan Rusbridger, who can safely publish whatever content they can manage to scrape together safe in the knowledge that low readership frees them from the obligation of quality control, or seeking genuinely interesting material from writers.’

The Editor-in-Chief of another unnamed student newspaper did surprisingly agree to meet me to discuss the matter: ‘We have to be honest about the situation as it stands. We try to put out the best content we can with the best team we can put together. Obviously we can’t hope to pull off some Pulitzer prize winning scoops, as that’s far beyond the means of any student writers or our editorial team. We can’t pay writers and we’re not employing full time journalists, its a DIY effort in essence and I think given these factors we do our very best. I’m truly proud of every edition we print, for what it symbolizes in collective effort, and as a demonstration that the students of today are still engaged in what is going on in our society today – something the older generation deny.


Oliver Corrigan