|Owner||Leeds University Union|
|Headquarters||Leeds University Union, Leeds|
Leeds Student is a British weekly student newspaper, published free every Friday during term-time and distributed around the University of Leeds, Leeds, England. The only paid position is that of the editor, who is elected yearly by members of Leeds University Union. The articles are written by students, and are largely about local and student based issues. It is one of the country's most active university newspapers and regularly wins national student media awards.
Leeds Student was formed in 1970 by the merger of the Leeds University Union newspaper (Union News) and the then Leeds Polytechnic Students Union newspaper ("Pact"), but in November 2005 Leeds Metropolitan University students voted to disaffiliate from Leeds Student, citing under-representation. Once known as an LUU 'Incorporated Body' along with RAG, Action, Nightline and LSRfm.com it now falls in the 'media' section of the student activities department along with LSRfm.com, LS:TV, Photography Society, Lippy Magazine, Leeds Review and Film Making Society.
The editorship became a full-time, paid sabbatical position in 1972 after a campaign led by the then editor, Paul Vallely CMG, who went on to become the first sabbatical editor. Notable previous editors include Paul Dacre and Nicholas Witchell.
Leeds Metropolitan University Students Union's Dissociation
In December 2005, Leeds Metropolitan University Students Union (LMUSU) members chose via ballot to dissociate from the paper. In the past, this had been a joint venture between the two universities, but after continued complaints of a Leeds University centred perspective, a referendum was called to decide whether LMSU should retain its link with the paper and continue paying a small proportion toward the paper's expenses. Members voted to dissolve the link, and henceforth the paper is a solely Leeds University Union maintained enterprise. Many Leeds Student alumni have expressed dismay at the decision, arguing that the paper gained strength from its ability to draw on all students in Leeds for readers, staff and stories. At least two former Leeds Student editors, Ian Coxon and Richard Fletcher, had been students at Leeds Met.
Leeds Student has stirred debate over a variety of articles. These range from a full-page interview with BNP leader Nick Griffin, in which a remark that homosexuals should be kept in the closet and the door behind them "kept firmly shut" (as well as other, race-based comments) caused great offence.
In April 2010 Leeds Student again found itself at the centre of racial controversy after an issue dated 30 April was removed from circulation by Leeds University Union representatives. The issue in question featured a comment by Palestinian journalist Sameh Habeeb regarding beliefs in a pro-Israeli bias in the media. Following alleged complaints from Jewish students, the newspaper was removed by LUU executives, leading to accusations of censorship of the paper, which had previously been treated as an independent entity within LUU. After an attempted campaign to force a motion of no confidence in the leadership of Communications and Internal Affairs Officer Jak Codd, who was responsible for the anti-Semitism allegations, Codd resigned from his post, citing racial tensions within the union.
In February/March 2006, the paper published an interview by Matt Kennard, a Leeds Student journalist, with Dr Frank Ellis, a controversial professor of Russian and Slavonic Studies who has expressed his support for racial differences in average intelligence. Dr Ellis's comments were widely condemned. A campaign was launched by Hanif Leylabi, President of the Unite Against Fascism organisation, which called upon the university to sack Ellis. The story received coverage in The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Times Higher Education and various other national newspapers and radio stations as well as national and local television services. A statement was released by Leeds University Union calling for his dismissal. Leeds University condemned Ellis' views as "abhorrent".
Ellis was subsequently suspended by the Vice-Chancellor, Michael Arthur, pending disciplinary proceedings. The University issued a media release stating that it was investigating an alleged breach of its diversity policy. It also said Ellis's views were wholly at odds with the University's values, he had jeopardised the university's obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, and that he had not apologised for his remarks. Dr Ellis took early retirement in June 2006, pre-empting the outcome of the disciplinary action.
A Supplementary Story
Leeds Student's mix of content was, until 1994, held in one tabloid newspaper. Under the editorship of Tim Gallagher however, the newspaper launched the first edition of 'Blurb', a listings guide for Leeds incorporating seven day TV listings, believed to be a first in student journalism. One year later, with Matt Roper at the helm, 'Blurb' was revamped and became 'Juice', billed as a "16 page pullout magazine". Sporting weekly tag lines such as "More dangerous than O.J." and "Better than the peel thing", the magazine incorporated lifestyle features, culture, music reviews, TV guide and a look at the week ahead. Through its 10-year life Juice grew to 24 pages in length, equalling that of the main paper, and included reviews about clubs, arts and books.
'Juice' morphed into 'LS2' in 2005 under the editorship of Jes Salter, undergoing something of a redesign. But the biggest change came a year later, when Ben Schofield launched a 32-page lifestyle pullout. The new size pullout, similar to that of the 'Sunday Times culture mag', now stapled, trimmed and inserted in to the 24 page tabloid, carries four weekly features and the same mix of reviews with the added innovation of 'e-page', a satirical look at the world of the web. There are also regular and infrequent columnists, astrology and Emily Israel's 'Dear Diary'.
Recently due to lack of advertising, and budget issues, two issues have been cut from this year's 'Volume' (Number 37), and LS2 is no longer a pullout, now known as LS2 Inside.
A short foray into the world of gossip-rag journalism, AKA 'Scorch', lasted only two weeks, after which readers enjoyed a resurrection of e-page by Tim Sevenths. e-page itself has now been replace by iPage, edited by a fictional writer Drew Statman, like e-page before it.
As with LS2 becoming LS2 Inside last year (2006–07), the paper is now full colour for the year 2007-08. This change has been highlighted with a new better designed and interactive website.
Leeds University graduate Chris Leadbeater is believed to be unique in having contributed to at least one issue of Leeds Student in each of six consecutive academic years (1994-95 to 1999-2000)
Reunions of former Leeds Student staff are held at irregular intervals, usually in London and often at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub on Fleet Street. On 30 September 2006 David Smith (editor 1996-97) organised a 10th anniversary reunion dinner attended by members of the 1996-97 team and seven former Leeds Student editors. In 2006, at London's Soho House, Leeds University's alumni department organised a Leeds Media Group reunion for graduates of the university now working in the media, many of whom were Leeds Student alumni. The event was repeated in 2007 at the BBC's Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London.
In 2012 the Leeds Student Newspaper became the first student newspaper in the UK to launch an iPad edition. The app was built by the paper's 2011/12 Editor Elizabeth Edmonds and 2011/12 Digital Editor Jack Dearlove using QuarkXpress 9’s app building tools. The app delivers a digitally remastered version of the best of each week’s paper through Apple’s Newsstand. The app continues to be published by 2012/13 Editor Lucy Snow and 2012/13 Digital Editor Giovanni Da Costa.
- 2012: Nominated, Guardian Student Media Awards. Student publication of the year and website of the year.
- 2012: Winner, O2 Yorkshire Media Awards; Specialist Publication of the Year. (With former Leeds University Union president Jack Straw announcing the award)
- 2012: Nominated, Online Media Awards; Best local/regional website
- 2009: Winner, Guardian Student Newspaper of the Year; (LS2) Shortlisted, Guardian Student Magazine of the Year
- 2002: Winner, Independent/NUS Student Newspaper of the Year; Shortlisted, Guardian Student Newspaper of the Year;
- 1999: Winner, Guardian Student Newspaper of the Year; Winner, Independent/NUS Student Newspaper of the Year
- 1996: Winner, Guardian/NUS Student Newspaper of the Year
- 1977: Winner, Best Feature in the Daily Express Student Newspaper Awards
- 1972: Winner, Student Newspaper of the Year
- 1970: Winner, Student Newspaper of the Year
Notable ex-editors of Leeds Student are: Paul Dacre (1968–69), editor of the Daily Mail; Jay Rayner (1987–88), journalist and critic for The Observer; Paul Vallely (1972–73), author, correspondent for The Times, and columnist for The Independent; and Nicholas Witchell (1974–75), journalist for BBC News.
- Matthew Taylor (24 March 2006). "University suspends lecturer in racism row who praised BNP". The Guardian.
- Tony Halpin (March 24, 2006). "Lecturer is suspended for 'racist' IQ claims". The Times.
- "Racism row lecturer is suspended". BBC News. 23 March 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Alexandra Smith (12 July 2006). "Lecturer at centre of race row takes early retirement". The Guardian.
- Sherriff, Lucy. "Leeds University Student Paper First To Launch iPad App". Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 June 2012.