Student journalism: in Durham and beyond


“I like men, but I frankly detest the undergraduate specimens. Insincere, affected, self assured and bombastic, they grate upon the very fibres of my feminine sensibilities” was the pull quote in Palatinate’s first edition, published on Wednesday 17th March, 1948. Even after 75 years of the paper, and although its format has changed vastly, many of its founding sentiments remain. Student journalism is fundamentally important, in its support of the student body and surrounding area.

I recently attended a journalism careers event, and one of the things that stood out to me most was just how useful student publications such as Palatinate can be in opening doors to graduate programmes and beyond. One panellist explained her confusion as to why budding journalists wouldn’t get involved with a student publication on their doorstep, and if the list of previous editors-in-chief is anything to go by, Palatinate acts as a diving board into a pool of careers in journalism.

Palatinate acts as a diving board into a pool of careers in journalism

Student publications such as Palatinate are afforded a unique privilege due to the youth of their contributors, who are particularly receptive to change. Young voices bring fresh perspectives to journalism, as well as flexibility and openness, which enable student media to excel. With the rise of digitised video media, such as TikTok, it is unsurprising that Durham’s student journalism adapted ahead of the curve, as evidenced by the launch of PalTV in 2020.

Other subsections of Palatinate have evolved throughout its history, such as the launch of arts and lifestyles magazine Indigo launching in 2008, and the science and technology section making an appearance in 2018. The addition of the Comment and Satire sections also demonstrate the breadth of student talent and interest, as the paper has evolved to showcase all of Durham’s literary and visual talent.

An often underrated part of the job as a student journalist is the amount of fun to be had in the pursuit of research or ‘adding to my CV’. In the few months that I have written for Palatinate, I have watched films, scrolled through TikTok and landed myself in deep Twitter threads all without guilt that I am avoiding my summatives. In all seriousness, this paper has enabled me to participate in student life outside of academics, whilst still contributing towards something that I will look back on and be proud of.

There is something for everyone, whether you want to be informed or entertained

However, Palatinate is not only significant for its writers. Without the paper, I as a reader would be unaware of many ongoing events in and around Durham. I am regularly amazed by the breadth that this paper has to offer, spanning headline news, interviews, sport, and creative writing. There is something for everyone, whether you want to be informed or entertained.

Without Palatinate, Durham’s student voice would lack cohesion and unity, therefore reducing its strength. As students, we are incredibly lucky to have been afforded a platform for student journalism that carries with it immense prestige and history, and which ensures that everyone’s voices are represented and their needs and interests taken into account. Palatinate has held the university accountable throughout its 75 year long tenure and I can only hope it continues to do so in the future.

I am not the first to suggest that student journalism is important, but I echo past iterations of this paper when I say that it is a fundamental pillar of the Durham experience. It is vital that Palatinate continues to operate as the torchbearer for Durham’s student voice, whether this is to protest rising house prices, celebrate our sporting successes, or just to air grievances over the male student body, 75 years later.

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