I write for The Tab: Deal with it
Joke’s on you
Yesterday I told my friends I write for The Tab and they looked at me like I’d just announced my UKIP candidacy.
I looked around the table in the hope that someone – anyone – might be nodding in approval.
One of them muttered: “You’ve really made a bad life choice there.”
What? I thought I’d joined a student newspaper – not ISIS. I pushed for an answer. What exactly was so bad about writing for the Tab?
“I’m not being funny,” said someone (who is rarely, if ever, actually capable of being funny), “but everyone knows Tab writers are fucking liars. Do you know what you’re doing, Martin? Do you want to be a slimy tabloid hack?”
Feeling cornered, I tried to hit back with a witty riposte about how slimy his soup looked but instead just lowered my head and felt sad. Where had I gone so wrong?
It would have been nice if someone had told me this earlier. Like most people, I have never told a single lie in my life and don’t get why George Washington was so bloody proud of himself.
If I had known you had to be a liar to work at The Tab I would have told them I invented chairs. Luckily they gave me a job despite a clear lack of shit-stirring credentials.
What I do find strange is that whenever I tell the truth, everyone around me isn’t immediately heralded as a virtuous saint. Yet if anyone at The Tab has – at any point in history – told a lie then we are all, by default, liars. Obviously this doesn’t really bother me because I am a successful Hollywood actor/astronaut with a 27-inch penis and a spaceship in my garage.
“No-one reads their piece of shit newspaper,” they say. This is an easy one. The Cambridge Tab last week recorded 100,000 hits in a day.
I’m not trying to argue the seriousness of The Tab’s work (although, personally, I am more than happy to write for a paper that publishes stories titled “King’s College under siege by deadly sky monster”) but the mentality of its readership.
There is an unwritten rule in Cambridge that thousands of people follow: it is okay to read a Tab article as long as you immediately reject it as complete shit before reading another Tab article.
This is not healthy.
If you ordered a meal and it tasted like shit, you would be perfectly within your right to say: OH MY GOD THIS TASTES LIKE FUCKING SHIT. I DON’T KNOW WHY ANYONE WOULD EAT SOMETHING THIS SHIT.”
But why, when you’ve made it explicitly clear you think the food is shit, would you order the same thing again and then post it on your Facebook page?
Before starting my degree in October, I trained and worked as a local news reporter for two years.
I passed exams in newswriting, media law, public affairs and shorthand (or ‘pointless squiggle language’ as it is popularly known) before I ever even considered applying to Cambridge.
Local news journalism can be dull but it is, by and large, rigorously ethical. Writing for The Tab – which is not especially bogged down by stifling restrictions – is actually teaching me a lot more about actually being a good journalist.
The Tab isn’t JUST a shortcut to a job at MailOnline (although, of course, it can be). It has produced swathes of trailblazing journalists. It’s a better training ground for the fast-paced world of today’s media than grinding away writing articles about dog poo for a local paper will ever be.
That’s because we write things people want to read, and in the end, that’s what makes good journalism. I mean, come on, how often do you pick up a copy of good ol’ [other student paper of choice] and have real peruse.
A lot of students writing for The Tab are desperate to become journalists later in life and do not deserve to be undermined for working for what is, whether you like it or not, the most successful student newspaper in the country. And it’s a lot of fun.
As long as you keep reading, we’ll keep writing.
Wanna be where it’s at? Email [email protected]