The next time a haggard-looking English student tries to buy you a drink in the Eagle on a Thursday night, run!Amie Johnson / Unsplash

The good, the bad, and the flirty: student journos have it all. If the phrase “student journo” didn’t already give you the immediate ick (in which case – what’s wrong with you), then you’ve clicked on this article for a variety of reasons.The first one being that you currently fancy a student journalist. You’ve been reading their red-hot Comment pieces for a while now; taking in their words; hungrily pursuing their syntax; getting hot under the collar when you see their name in print; finding yourself flushing when they use an exceptionally clever run of semicolons mid-article. You’ve got it bad. You’ve become infatuated with their prose style, and you’d like to get to know them on a more-than-words basis.

The second reason is that – like most of Varsity’s readership – you’re a student journalist yourself. No one loves reading a Varsity article more than its author. With a highly inflated sense of ego that only gets pumped up higher with every print byline, you’re outraged to find that your constant untimely interjections into the weekly News meetings might not have made you as “shaggable” as you initially imagined, but rather deeply unpopular. It’s a sad truth, but for many student journos, the only person getting turned on by their headlines is them.

“Your interjections at the weekly News meeting might not have made you as ‘shaggable’ as you imagined”

The final option, of course, is that it’s too late. You’ve already committed the crime. In a moment of drunken madness you fraternised with a – shudder – journalist. Waking up to find yourself in their student room, print cut-out of their own past Varsity pieces glaring at you from the walls. As you picked your way shamefully out of their day-old-coffee-cup-littered, print-laden shrine to selfhood, you were desperate to find out where you went wrong. Luckily for you, I have the answers. The first thing you need to know about student journalists is that, rather like peacocks, we’re all about showing off. Academic excellence just won’t cut it for us. We require a second outlet. We need your attention. We need you to listen to us. We need to write, but not peacefully in our diaries like any normal person would – oh no, more than anything else, we must have an audience. This tendency also carries through, after work hours in the office, into our social lives. The newspaper pub socials are a constant battle of “who can shout the loudest” thinly disguised by empty compliments such as: “Loved your piece on the SU last week”, really meaning: “Talk about how great my writing is, please”.

I hate to break it to you, but the first reason you shouldn’t shag a student journalist is that they are not interested in you. They were never interested in you. They were just interested in being listened to, and you are the unfortunate owner of a nearby pair of ears. Flirting, for journalists, is like pitching an article. Outlook formalisms replaced by less-than-adequate pub banter, and their latest hot take being that you should sleep with them.

The second thing you need to know is that, just as it is with writing, the thrill for student journalists lies in the chase. Journalism is about getting that big new scoop, scoring a famous name for an interview, or writing the most antagonistic Comment piece you can possibly muster, which is sure to get you thrown to the wolves on Camfess (and drive up clicks). Once the article is published, however, we grow bored and disinterested, until a tantalising new idea tempts our minds. The same applies to sex. Once the thrill of the chase is over, you’ll become just a notch in the bedpost of a student journo: their mind will have already fixated on a new, more exciting pursuit.

“Make a grammatical mistake in the throes of passion? Don’t expect it to go unnoticed.”

The final reason you should never shag a student journalist – editors especially – is because they love to nitpick. They like things “just so”. They know what they want, and they aren’t afraid to ask you to make changes if they don’t think what you’re doing is good enough. Make a grammatical mistake in the throes of passion? Don’t expect it to go unnoticed. It’s actually likely they’d stop mid-fornication to explain to you the correct use of that verb/noun/adjective you flippantly yelled out mere minutes ago. Editors are, by nature, perfectionists, and won’t let something pass without first suggesting improvements, in the newsroom and in the bedroom alike.


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Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, the primary reason not to shag a student journalist is that anything you say can and will be used as a pull quote. And if you’ve made the unfortunate mistake of engaging with a Lifestyle columnist, all I can say is good luck to you when their next “Sex and Relationships” column comes out. If you were mistakenly enticed into thinking a one night stand with a Theatre editor was a good idea, you’ll be sorely disappointed when you receive their review of your performance the next morning: “Promising production ultimately failed to deliver – one star.” With a newsie, at least you’re getting a straight talker. Although “This week, studies show that News correspondent increasingly seeks amatory interactions with fellow student” is hardly a very sexy chat up line. The Interviews writers would doubtless ask some quick-fire quiz questions afterwards, killing the vibe immediately, and the Sports writers would be eager to write up your “match report” once the deed had been done.

All in all, the only truly sexy section is Comment. The problem with Comment writers though, as deliberate antagonists, is you’d never truly know if they were really into you. After all, we’d do anything to make a statement.