Durham student newspaper Palatinate has printing budget axed

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Image source, Jack Taylor
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Joint editors Tash Mosheim (left) and Imogen Usherwood (right) say Palatinate was important to hold Durham University to account

A student newspaper has had its funding pulled to publish its print editions weeks before going to press.

Palatinate, produced by students at Durham University, publishes a free fortnightly edition each term, alongside its website and social media.

Its joint editors said they were told by the students' union there was no budget for a print edition this term and money is not confirmed for 2021.

Students and alumni including Jeremy Vine have backed calls for a rethink.

Durham Students' Union said it was investing in the digital version of the paper.

Opportunities officer Anna Marshall said: "With a drop in advertisers, distribution problems and the health and safety risk of doing a printed copy, regretfully printing the newspaper just isn't feasible at this present time.

"I do not see this as a permanent decision, but rather a necessity at this point during a pandemic."

Durham University has been approached for comment.

'Presence on campus'

Vine tweeted his support to save the physical newspaper, saying: "This is wrong, wrong, wrong."

Other alumni include BBC broadcaster George Alagiah, Sky News executive Cristina Nicolotti Squires and the former editor of the Sunday Times, Sir Harold Evans.

Recent graduates have gone on to have professional training to work in journalism.

Joint editors Imogen Usherwood and Tash Mosheim appealed for support from Durham students and journalists in overturning the decision.

"Print journalism is a crucial skill, and the chance to learn about it at undergraduate level has, and always will be, invaluable" they said.

It has continued to publish online since lockdown, where it broke a story that the university was planning to launch online degrees.

Palatinate produces about 2,500 to 3,000 copies each fortnight during term time, to 20,000 students, at a cost of about £4,000.

Ms Usherwood, who took the helm in March, said she could become the first editor to have finished her role without making a newspaper.

The English Literature undergraduate said she believed it still had a place in today's digital age.

"We feel it gives us a presence on campus we would lack without it," she added.

"I think print journalism is a vital part of what we do. It's a tradition that we don't want to have taken away from us in these circumstances."

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