Cantab was a magazine produced by students at the University of Cambridge between 1981 and 1990. It was unusual among British student magazines in being independent of student unions. Operations were self-financed, initially through copy sales and advertising, later through advertising alone.
The title's second claim to fame was its production via an extremely early form of desktop publishing, involving a typesetting program specially written for its BBC Micro computer and Juki daisy wheel printer by Martin Tod and introduced as early as 1984.
In 1985 the magazine launched a spin-off summer title, Cantab's What's On and Where to Go in Cambridge, which gained success in that year's Student Media Awards, run by The Guardian newspaper. Other less successful spin-offs, including Business Matters and Cantab's version of Energy Matters, were produced occasionally as revenue generating vehicles to subsidise the main title.
In 1985/6 the magazine was relaunched, switching from a paid-for circulation to free distribution. Relying solely on advertising sales was an unusual and potentially risky move, but allowed for a massively increased print run, increased pagination and higher production quality. While maintaining a focus on arts coverage, the magazine took an increased interest in politics and current affairs, with a noticeably more left-wing stance.
The magazine was relaunched again in 1987/88.
Notable Cantab staff members include:
- Paul Abrahams. Director of Corporate Communications for Reed Elsevier, London; triple Gold Medal winner in fencing in the veterans' category at the Commonwealth Games.
- Grace Bradberry. Editor of T2 at The Times.
- Colin Brown. Longtime editor-in-Chief of Screen International and contributing editor for CNBC.
- Roz Carroll. Noted body psychotherapist and lecturer.
- John Crowther. Managing partner, Creston Unlimited
- Mike Dash. Fortean, publisher of Viz, and author of several works of history.
- Paul-Michael Dempsey. Washington correspondent, Engineering & Technology magazine
- Paul Foulkes-Arellano. Design company MD.
- Francis Freisinger. Latin American economist.
- Richard Furlong. Defence barrister specialising in major fraud, money laundering and drugs cartel cases.
- Midge Gillies. Journalist and biographer of Marie Lloyd and Amy Johnson.
- Chris Grayling. Conservative Member of Parliament for Epsom and Ewell.
- Tim Harper. Author and historian.
- Penny Harris. Editorial director of the Attic Futura and H.Bauer magazine publishing companies.
- Wendy Holden. Best-selling chick lit novelist.
- Madeleine Holt. Newsnight culture correspondent
- Paul Horrell. Eminent motoring journalist.
- Sarah Howgate. Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery.
- Nicky Louth-Davies. Change management mentor, House of Commons.
- Andrew Lownie. Top literary agent.
- Robert Mason[disambiguation needed]. Journalist.
- Ben Mingay. Leading corporate financier.
- Caren Myers. Mafia prosecutor turned academic
- David Owens. Philosophy don at University of Reading.
- Richard Penty. Master of Sidney Sussex College and Professor of Photonics at the University of Cambridge.
- Jane Penrose. Educational consultant.
- Nicholas Pyke. Editor, Review section, Mail on Sunday.
- Jim Roberts. London-based maritime solicitor specialising in Franco-Arab cargo disputes.
- Stephen Sackur. BBC TV correspondent in Washington, D.C.
- Alexander Shankland. Development economist
- Ian Shuttleworth. Theatre critic for the Financial Times.
- Simon Silvester. Leading advertising agency strategist and head of planning at a succession of major agencies until his death in September 2012.
- Louise Simpson. Formerly Director of Communications, University of Cambridge.
- Kevin G. Southernwood. Leader of Cambridge city council 1995-98.
- Caroline Thomson. Marketing director, The Link DSG.
- Martin Tod. Interim chief executive of the Men's Health Forum and prospective Liberal Democrats parliamentary candidate for Winchester .
- Gideon Todes. Award-winning advertising copywriter responsible for some of The Economist 's successful print advertising campaign.
- Bob Tolliday. Principal Investigative Reporter, Which? magazine.
- Roger Tredre. Editor-in-chief of Stylus, the multi-million pound design trends web site.
- Cathy Troupp. Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
- Tim Turner. Magazine editor and novelist.
- Brian Watson Cult industrial designer.
- Annabel Warburg Teacher at St Swithun's School; married to Sir Frederick Hervey-Bathurst, Bt.
- Tessa Watt. BBC Radio 3 producer and influential figure in the World music scene.
- Jo Whelan. Comptroller General of the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt.
- Marina Wheeler. Barrister specialising in European Union law and wife of Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.
- Andy Wilton. Noted Brittany-based computer games programmer and proprietor of the Pazzazz gaming company.
- Cathie Wood. Co-founder/owner of the Frank Research market research agency.
- The Guardian, 5 November 1984.
- See mastheads, collection of Cantab issues at Cambridge University Library, classmark Cam.a.41.5
- http://www.mikedash.com/about.htm, accessed 8 December 2008.
- The Times, 1 December 2007.
- The Guardian, 13 July 2003.
- http://www.andrewlownie.co.uk/, accessed 8 December 2008.