Old news on dead trees: The future of The Cambridge Student

Amelia Oakley 17 May 2016

The Cambridge Student is a print newspaper and always will be.

This past month has been an incredibly difficult time for TCS. In exam term — already a time of great pressure, stress, and emotional strain — volunteers have sat in countless crisis meetings, been at the the receiving end of a tirade of patronising and ill-informed attacks testifying to the ‘death’ of print journalism, dedicated long and gruelling hours to the fight to save our print edition, and yesterday finally discovered that our efforts were to be fruitless.

In the end it came down to £3,000 in a budget of almost £1 million, as the emergency motion we proposed was voted down in a devastatingly close ballot. The final motion proposed by TCS took no money away from any other cause supported by CUSU. It took no money from the surplus, or the council free budget. The only finances adjusted were TCS’s own. It did not predict the paper an increase in income, it simply did away with the cruelly pessimistic projected decrease in comparison with this year's takings (a loss which has been predicted that CUSU, who are exclusively in charge of TCS’s finances, will make, despite the claim that the organisation is “not financially incompetent”). The proposed motion would have stripped our print edition to the bone, but it would have saved it.

Print is the life-blood of TCS, and our team gave everything we had to save it last night, and we shall continue to give everything to ensure that the print edition of TCS lives on. We promise our readers that the fight does not end here.

To the opposer who claimed print journalism is ‘old news on dead trees’, we direct you to the front page which broke the news of David Starkey being removed  from University promotions before the national press who were also tailing the story, and to the investigations editor who has been revealing disparities between student services for a year.

Print encourages investigative journalism, it encourages journalists to expose injustices and give voices to those who need them, and if that doesn’t fall into the remit of CUSU’s core aims then I do not know what does.

To the opposer who called us nothing more than a ‘lifestyle magazine’ we ask you to speak to the people behind our Black History Month Spread, our LGBT+ special and all those who take great pleasure in both creating content for and reading ‘Part 2’. We also direct you to our all female senior editorial team of Lent 2016, who can't seem to help seeing the sexist undertones of your comment. 

The most devastating part of this entire process has been its brutality. Countless TCS Editors-in-Chief have wanted to reduce the print run of the newspaper, have recognised the failures of the business and advertising management, and have not been allowed to make the changes which would have allowed us to avoid this entire process. Long term consultation between those who know and love the paper, and the CUSU staff members who control our business was needed. Instead, TCS has fallen victim to mismanagement, its staff victim to the unprofessionalism of others, and has become the scapegoat for a financially unstable students’ union.

This process has been harrowing for us all, and as a team we shall take the necessary time to recover, regroup, and restart the fight to save our paper. For now I would like to thank the TCS Board and members of the Editorial Team for their incredible efforts to save our paper. As Editor-in-Chief, I could not be more appreciative of the people who have surrounded me and the paper during this entire process so far — they are extraordinary, industrious individuals and fierce friends. To Elsa, who has put more emotional effort into this newspaper than anyone shall ever know, you are an incredible woman, and Jessie and Stevie, whose enthusiasm and love for the newspaper is unwavering – Lent 2016 will not have been the end of TCS, we shall not have been the last senior editorial team of a regular TCS print edition, I promise.

Last of all, I would like to thank  our readers, contributors and supporters for standing by us through this entire process. TCS is for the readers, and we are eternally grateful for every single one of you.