The Cambridge Student is relaunching its print edition after two years of being online-onlyLouis ashworth

The Cambridge Student (TCS) is relaunching its print edition after two years of being available online-only. Started by the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) in 1999, the paper’s weekly print edition was first reduced to a fortnightly edition in 2016 following budget cuts, before eventually moving entirely online in October 2018.

Yesterday (12/11) TCS released the first of its new termly print editions. The edition was meant to be released on Monday 9th November but has been delayed following unexpected supply issues.

TCS Editor-in-Chief, Clara Balon, told Varsity she has been excitedly counting down the days until the print release. She described it as a chance for TCS to “widen engagement with the student body” and an opportunity for  TCS editors and writers “to have their names in print”.

She also explained that this change comes due to an increased budget from the Cambridge Students’ Union (SU), enabling TCS to invest in 2000 print copies for a termly edition. The print version  will be released in week four or five of each term alongside TCS’ usual online content.

Balon also described the positive support for this decision, stating that TCS had received a number of emails and messages and “great engagement with our publicity”.

The print run was first threatened in 2016 when CUSU passed cuts removing TCS’ print budget following a decline in revenue from the paper and larger budget issues for the SU. Internal emails seen by Varsity highlighted these “structural problems with CUSU’s funding model” and justified the decision to move TCS online as  “the cost of the paper has for some time outweighed the revenue it brings in.”

These cuts were met with controversy and a heated response from the paper’s editorial team. TCS launched an open letter, several past editors and fellow student journalists launched criticisms of the decision and the Student Publication Association issued a statement in support of the paper. TCS’ print edition on 21st April 2016 led with the front-page headline, “Is this the end of our paper?”. 

Though its budget was slashed, by redirecting funds intended for the redevelopment of its website, TCS did manage to continue releasing a fortnightly print edition in a deal between the paper’s Michaelmas 2016 editors and former CUSU President Amatey Doku. 

However in 2018 this came to an end, with the TCS’ Chief-Editor at the time, Edmund Crawley, explaining to Varsity that the decision to move online-only was made in order to allow the TCS team “to put our energies and available funds (including the old print budget) into the website and other new projects.” 

When asked why it was now possible to move back to print, Howard Chae, the SU’s BME Officer, told Varsity that "The SU has been supporting TCS with its rebrand since the launch of its new website in 2018. Through discussions with TCS, it was decided that the publication would have a stronger unique selling point as a termly print magazine, differentiating it from other student newspapers in Cambridge.” 

“With a stronger presence on campus and a closer working relationship with the SU, TCS is attracting new commercial advertisers to sustain its print plan and support its position in our product portfolio.”


Mountain View

Cambridge SU U-turns on pledge to move all non-essential teaching online

Chae emphasised that the SU is “glad to be supporting student print media and contributing to the vibrant student life of the University"

Balon told Varsity that this decision fits into TCS’ aim of recruiting “an even bigger and more diverse range of writers and editors to reflect the spectrum of opinions across Cambridge University” as their profile grows. She also encouraged everyone to “be sure to pick up your copy from your college plodge!”