Make Varsity the centre of Cambridge conversationTobia Nava

Applications to join Varsity's editorial team in Michaelmas 2022 are now open.

Varsity is Cambridge’s oldest student newspaper. We’ve been printing since 1947, and in our time have seen some of British journalism’s greats pass through our pages. David Frost, Jeremy Paxman, Prince Charles...

Today, you have the chance to join them. 

Below is your opportunity to run a section. You’ll be setting its direction, leading writers and commissioning pieces. It’s a big responsibility. Varsity is taken seriously in and outside of Cambridge. Academics, politicians and members of the public look at what we say, and crucially, trust it. That means that above all, we have to be good: thorough, sharp, scrupulous.

Please send your answers to the questions below to Applications close 12pm on July 28. 

Best of luck,

Fergal Jeffreys and Jacob Freedland

To apply please tell us:

  • Your full name, subject and college.
  • The role(s) you’re applying for.
  • Details of any academic and extracurricular commitments you have in Michaelmas.
  • Any experience you have for the role. 100 words.
  • Why do you want to join Varsity? 200 words.

…and answer the three questions below for the role you’re applying for:

Deputy editor 

The deputy editor will assist the editors in running the newspaper: publishing articles, coordinating print, mediating between the editors and section editors. Experience within Varsity will be valuable for this role.

  • Explain how you would improve three sections within the newspaper. 200 words.
  • Describe four types of students who aren't reading Varsity and how we should appeal to them. 200 words.
  • What have been the best and worst print editions from this past academic year? 200 words.

Magazine editor

The magazine editor will oversee what are currently the Vulture sections. They will publish articles, coordinate print and mediate between the editors and section editors. 

  • Explain how you would improve three sections within the magazine. 200 words.
  • Describe four types of students who aren't reading Varsity and how we should appeal to them. 200 words.
  • What have been the best and worst print editions from this past academic year? 200 words.

News editor

News is the beating heart of the paper, unearthing the goings-on around Cambridge and holding the University to account. News editors should have an eye for accuracy, know how to hunt down a good story and work well within a team – we meet every week to discuss leads. 

  • Name three leads (nuggets of gossip) you could pursue as stories.
  • What’s the best story we’ve covered this year and what’s the worst? 200 words.
  • Which national newspaper could News learn from? 200 words.

Comment editor

Comment gives our readers a ‘take’ on the news. Not all students see things the same way, so editors need to lead a balanced and diverse medley of opinions. Comment editors need to have a high attention to detail, show bravery in running controversial pieces and work well within a team – you’ll regularly meet your writers to discuss their columns. We also want you to commission personal writing (traditionally confined to Features) that makes an interesting point.

  • Name three students in Cambridge you would hire as columnists and why. 
  • Which national newspaper has the best comment section? 200 words.
  • What’s your favourite Varsity opinion piece from the last year. 200 words.

Satire editor

Not everything in Cambridge needs to be taken seriously. Satire will poke fun at the news and lampoon figures in and outside of the University. Editors will be responsible for commissioning funny pieces, cartoons and comic strips that elegantly bring some of Cambridge’s more pretentious folk back to earth.

  • Write an entertaining letter to Varsity in response to a recent article. 100 words.
  • Write a ‘day in the life’ about a well known Cambridge figure. 200 words.
  • What would Steven Toope’s meal deal be? 

Interviews editor

The Interviews editors will be responsible for producing two kinds of interview: a long-form feature on a notable figure in or outside of Cambridge, and a quickfire Q&A with a student who’s done something interesting. Applicants need to be open-minded, curious and critical. 

  • Name one profile you liked from a national newspaper this past month and explain in 100 words why you chose it. 
  • Name three Cambridge students you’d interview and why.
  • What five quickfire questions should we ask in our new quickfire interviews?

Science editor

Science editors will be responsible for two different kinds of articles. The first will be news-style stories about the latest discoveries within Cambridge. The second will be science features: longer-form explorations of popular science relevant to students e.g. ‘Why a Gardies kebab is healthier than a three-course formal’. Science editors need to have the ability to translate complex ideas into accessible language for the non-specialist reader.

  • What’s the most interesting piece of research to come out of Cambridge this year? 200 words.
  • What’s the best thing to eat before a night out? 100 words.
  • Make the case for settling Mars. 100 words.

Sport editor

As an editor you’ll be responsible for coordinating your reporters to cover key fixtures and ensuring they are published on time with sharp accuracy. This term you also will broaden the section’s focus to include sports features: interviews with captains and profiles of Blues to give readers the ‘low down’ on the sports scene. We’re looking for applicants who are well connected, enthusiastic and organised. If you think you’re the person for the job, apply!

  • Explain why Oxford beat Cambridge at this year’s boat race. 100 words.
  • Which three Blues would you want to interview?
  • Why has Fitzwilliam College dominated the football Cuppers for so long? 200 words.

Features editor

Features is going to look a little different this term. Rather than encouraging writers to reflect on their own personal stories, we want them to investigate something they’re interested in: secret university societies, the history of iconic restaurants, ideological conflicts within colleges. Doing this will require a sharp eye for stories students are interested in and, crucially, an interesting style of writing. If you think you have what it takes, apply!

  • Name three areas in Cambridge that you would commission a writer to explore and why. 200 words.
  • Explain the difference between a news piece and a feature. 200 words.
  • Write a 100 word pitch for a feature that might appeal to a STEM student.

Lifestyle editor

Lifestyle is where readers go to let their hair down. Editors will be responsible for food reviews, witty personal columns and our latest addition: the weekly Blind Date. If you have an eye for irreverent writing and know what advice your fellow students need, this section is for you.

  • Suggest five questions we should ask blind daters. 
  • What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten in Cambridge and why? 200 words.
  • What lifestyle feature from previous editions would you want to bring back?

Theatre editor

Theatre editors are responsible for producing punchy, accurate and punctual reviews for student and professional productions. You’ll be expected to liaise with producers and theatre management teams so having a grounding in the drama scene will be valuable. Crucially, we want brave reviews – judging your peers frankly is tough but essential. You’ll also be expected to publish pieces beyond reviews: interviews with actors, first-person perspectives about what involvement looks like. Apply if you think you can hack it!

  • Name three students in the theatre scene you would profile. 
  • What’s the worst student play you’ve seen and why? 200 words.
  • What makes a play worth five stars? 100 words.

Arts editor

If pretentiousness is allowed anywhere it’s the Arts section. Editors will have a broad scope of areas they can cover, anything from fine art to product design to architecture. You will focus on producing a weekly column, profile and review, in a style that is accessible to the non-arts reader. Curiosity and clear style will be crucial for applicants to this job.

  • What is the ugliest building in Cambridge and why? 100 words.
  • Name three subjects (groups or individuals) you would want profiled as an editor. 200 words.
  • In 100 words, explain why you think people pay millions for postmodern art.

Film and TV editor

Editors are primarily responsible for reviewing films and TV shows. These reviews will be focused on popular culture given our broad readership. Editors will also oversee a weekly opinion column about a TV show or film and a profile of an interesting filmmaker ideally young or at Cambridge.

  • What is the worst film you’ve ever seen and why? 200 words.
  • Why does no one watch the Oscars anymore? 200 words.
  • What is one question would you ask Timothée Chalamet if you interviewed him? 

Music editor

Music editors are primarily responsible for reviewing new songs and albums. These reviews will be focused on popular music given our broad readership. Top 10s and Varsity Playlists will also be a staple in print. Editors will also oversee a weekly opinion column about music more generally, and profile some of the student musicians at Cambridge.

  • Who's your favourite student band in Cambridge? 100 words.
  • Has music got worse or better since the 1980s? 200 words.
  • Has Spotify killed the album? 200 words.

Fashion editor

Fashion editors will be responsible for Varsity’s coolest section. You’ll be producing a weekly themed photoshoot and style column (what’s in, what’s out, why is this brand trending). Crucially, we want you to step out of the section’s traditional confines by experimenting with different themes and subjects for shoots – we want to introduce a Cambridge spin on Queer Eye where a fashionista picks an outfit for a student whose wardrobe needs a revamp. If you think you’re the person who can shake it up, apply!

  • Who’s got the best style on Love Island? 100 words.
  • Suggest three photoshoot ideas. 
  • Write a 100 word review of one your parents’ style.

Production manager

The production manager will oversee print runs during term time. They will be responsible for the paper’s design and aesthetic, and for directing a group of setters who will set the pages. They will ideally have experience in InDesign or Photoshop, but more importantly have a flair for graphic design. If you don’t have experience with InDesign please don’t be put off from applying – it’s easy to get the hang of.

  • Send any examples of your work.
  • What’s the best front page from the Varsity archive? 200 words.
  • Which national newspaper looks the best?

Digital editor

The digital editor has two duties. They are in charge of everything visual: images, cartoons and illustrations, overseeing the whole visual team to ensure commissioned pieces are ready for use on time. You will also oversee our social media output, producing Instagram posts for major articles and promoting our print runs.

  • Send any examples of your work (graphics you’ve created)
  • Name three criticisms of our current social media operation. 200 words.

Audio editor

Next term will see a revamped podcast, featuring well-known students, funny guests and some of the newest music from the Cambridge scene. Interested in radio? This is your chance to give it a shot.

  • How would you improve Varsity’s current podcast, Switchboard? 200 words.
  • Suggest a new segment would you like to trial on the podcast? 
  • Who are two students you would think would make good presenters?


Know your less from your fewer? Have an eye for commas, apostrophes, capital letters and spelling? Our team of sub-editors are key to ensuring that Varsity maintains its reputation for quality journalism and that all pieces conform to Varsity’s house style. You’ll be the final set of eyes that look at an article before it goes to print.

  • Find three subbing problems in an article of your choice, tip: look at our style guide (!

Involvement as a section editor is a commitment. You'll be expected to be responsive to messages, attend meetings at the office and manage a group of writers. But trust us, you’ll gain more than you give. Varsity is an incredible place for you to develop your skills as a journalist and be around Cambridge’s most dynamic students. We also offer remedial support for HSPS students.