London Student is an online student paper, originally the student newspaper of the University of London Union. It began publishing in 1979 and is the largest student-run newspaper in Europe (representing over 120,000 students). It is an editorially independent publication with ultimate control over content and editorial appointments vested in an Interim Editor, who is currently Ben Jackson. The stated aim of the newspaper now is to move towards a co-operative structure.
It once distributed 12,500 copies fortnightly during termtime throughout the university year, equating to approximately 12 issues annually. This once made it the largest student newspaper in Europe before it was shut down.
In March 2006, the newspaper broke the story that the Mail on Sunday newspaper had offered student reporters money to infiltrate and record meetings of student Islamic societies in the wake of the London bombings of 7 July 2005. The report, headlined 'Nailed on Sunday', created some international media coverage, although the response in the UK was more muted. The Mail on Sunday responded by saying that they were investigating "a subject of great public interest" and had acted "responsibly", but did not deny the allegations.
Also in spring 2006, the paper was one of few in the country to take a strong supportive stance of lecturers regarding the AUT and NATFHE (now UCU) joint strike action as they fought for better pay and conditions. The story led the paper from Christmas onwards, with the exception of the issue containing 'Nailed on Sunday'.
In October 2013, the paper broke the story that departing UCL Provost Malcolm Grant's leaving party cost the college over £17,000. The story was later picked up by local and national newspapers.
For many years, the newspaper was a red-top tabloid. This changed under Patrick Ward's editorship, with a transition toward a midmarket newspaper that better matched the more serious journalistic style of the paper's contributors. The cultural pullout section also returned, under the new name of 'Play'.
In 2012 the newspaper had to cut back due to funding difficulties with ULU, meaning the paper was condensed, with many sections shortened but none removed.
The paper received a redesign in 2013 under the new editor Oscar Webb.
Play was the London Student's culture pullout section, replaced by The Smoke in 2013. It had various pages devoted to certain cultural coverage, including Music, Arts, Theatre and Fashion, as well as often multidisciplinary features. Each section often gained access to national press events, previews and interviews with significant artists or people prominent within each cultural discipline: Roots Manuva, Park Chan-Wook, Iain Rankin, British Sea Power, Doug Stanhope, Michael Horovitz, Of Montreal, and They Might Be Giants were featured in previous issues of the magazine, among other notable figures. Past editors of the sections have included Rena Minegishi, Emma Hope Allwood, Jake-Pace Lawrie, Robert Kiely, Kate Vine, Rina Buznea, Peter Yeung, and Matt Williamson. After the proposed closure of the University of London Union in the 2014/15 academic year, The Smoke became the final edition of London Student's cultural supplement.
College magazines, such as University College London's Pi, King's College London's Roar and Queen Mary, University of London's Cub, generally offer a different style of coverage to London Student, there is genuine competition in terms of breaking news from five college newspapers: Felix at Imperial College London, The Beaver at the London School of Economics, "The Lion" at Heythrop College and The Orbital & The Founder at Royal Holloway, University of London. Editions of the commercial The Sanctuary newspaper added marginally to competition at University College London and the London School of Economics during the academic year 2007-8.
Sennet was the direct predecessor of London Student. It was published from at least 1954. Its editor in 1959 was Jean Rook, later best known for her long association with the Daily Express where she was nicknamed the "first lady of Fleet Street".