Goodbye to the TCS Print Edition, I’ll miss you

JACK LEWY mourns the passing of a Cambridge institution

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As a wide eyed fresher, I embarked on my Cambridge experience without much of an idea of which way it was going to go.

I remember going to the fresher’s fair and leaving it signed up to dozens of different societies without any realistic expectation that I would ever look at their emails.  I did venture to go to Tea Society once just to see what all of the fuss was about – 9/10 experience, would recommend.

A couple of weeks later and I was sat in my college JCR, and a then-third year who was editor-in-chief of TCS was talking quite passionately about a controversial news piece that had just been published. A chat with her afterwards led to me becoming a ‘Deputy News Editor’ and started my Cambridge love affair with procrastination.

I attended News meetings every week, enthusiastically scouring through the internet and talking to friends about topics for me to write about. I really respected, and still do, the Editors that I worked with in my time there – even though it was really just an eclectic mixture of humanities students masking themselves as a ‘news team’, there was a sense of togetherness in working to produce content.

Well, that’s a shame.

The opportunity to see my name in a print newspaper a few months after leaving school was something quite special, and I have copies of that print edition stashed away in a draw at home because it really did mean quite a lot at the time.

My experience at TCS made me want to venture further outside of my degree – after all, these were some of the most interesting people I had met at university so far. Had I not worked for TCS then my Cambridge experience would have been remarkably different.

I’ve heard the same from others – Jack Rivlin started there before it helped him come up with the idea to found the Tab.

I understand that the face of journalism is changing. The Independent is no longer producing print editions, The Tab is the most widely read source of student journalism in Cambridge, and the shutting down of TCS’s print edition is part of a wider trend of journalism becoming more confined to online, easily accessed, content. That does not make the discontinuation of the paper any less poignant for anybody who has worked on it.

Varsity’s print edition remains – and that is something to be celebrated even if you have never picked up a copy. The loss of this second printed paper might seem small to many, but for the writers who have had no experience of journalism before coming to university, and who wanted to try something new, the loss is monumental.

sad face

The choice of papers meant that there was always a search to find new writers because a paper needed to be filled that week – the opportunity to write was open to anyone. When there is one paper, I can imagine there will be more pressure in the minds of students who have not yet made their minds up about whether this is something they want to pursue.

The most vociferous student journalists will stay and write their pieces, but for the student at the fresher’s fair who had it in the back of their mind, it is likely they will be less inclined to write.

Goodbye to the TCS print edition. I’ll miss you, even if I understand why you are going.