The Charlatan

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The Charlatan is a student newspaper at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.

It is published by a not-for-profit corporation, Charlatan Publications Inc., and is independent of student governments and university administration. Papers are free, and are available in news-stands both on and off campus. It is published weekly during the fall and winter semesters, and monthly during the summer. All Carleton students are eligible to contribute. The current editor-in-chief is Rachel Collier.


Staff members are elected annually.

Current Staff[1]
Term: May 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015

  • Editor-In-Chief - Rachel Collier
  • Production Assistant - Jakob Kuzyk
  • News Editors - Chris O'Gorman and Haley Ritchie
  • National Editor - Rosa Saba
  • Features Editor - Kristine Lee
  • Op/Ed Editor - Alex Brockman
  • Arts Editor - Joe Ryan
  • Sports Editor - Andrew Price
  • Multimedia Editor - Jessie Park
  • Photo Editor - Kyle Fazackerley
  • Graphics Editor - Helen Mak
  • Web Editor - Cassie Hendry
  • Photo Assistant -
  • Copy Editor -


The Carleton: 1945-1971[edit]

Originally called the Carleton, the paper's first issue appeared on November 28, 1945, the same year that the young Carleton College's School of Journalism was formed. Only four issues appeared in the first year, but by 1948 it was a regular weekly.

The paper's first office was in the Student Union Building on First Avenue, but when Carleton relocated to its new Rideau River campus, the Carleton moved to a basement-level office below Paterson Hall. When Carleton's student centre, or University Centre, was built in 1970, the Carleton moved to the fifth floor of that building, where it remains today.

Citing a desire to have a more fun, pranksterish image in keeping with the political spirit of the times, editor-in-chief Phil Kinsman encouraged changing the name to the Charlatan. This became the paper's official name after a staff referendum in March 1971.

The Charlatan: 1971-present[edit]

Since its founding, the paper had been owned and administered by Carleton's undergraduate student government. Editors and the Carleton University Students' Association (CUSA) had several disputes over funding and editorial policy throughout the early 1970s, and to mediate these conflicts the two sides created a Joint Publishing Board in 1975. The joint board consisted of two representatives each from CUSA and the Charlatan, who appointed an independent fifth person, usually the university ombudsman, as chairman.

After further editorial clashes with CUSA in the 1980s, the Charlatan began to lobby for its autonomy from CUSA. This was achieved by a vote of 1,013-457 in a campus-wide referendum in March 1988, followed by the incorporation of Charlatan Publications Inc.

The paper celebrated its 60th anniversary in September 2005.

Operations, Style and Sections[edit]

The Charlatan reports on campus news as well as national events affecting students. Any Carleton student can volunteer, or seek election for one of 11 part-time editorial positions or the full-time position of editor-in-chief. Editors are elected by staff every spring and hold their positions for one academic year.

The newspaper has several different sections: News, National, Features, Op-Ed, Arts and Sports, in addition to the Photo, Multimedia, Graphics, and Web sections.

The paper is funded by advertising and by an annual, non-refundable levy of $5.67 per undergraduate. These funds are administered by an elected board of directors, composed of:

  • five students-at-large, who do not contribute to the paper and are elected at the corporation's AGM;
  • two representatives elected by contributing staff;
  • two professional representatives, at least one of whom must be a practicing journalist not on Carleton's faculty, and the other of whom may be a faculty member;
  • the editor-in-chief, whose membership on the board is ex officio only.

The powers of the board and the editorial staff are defined in a written constitution. Generally speaking, the board is not allowed to intervene in editorial policy unless there are legal issues involved.


Some of the Charlatan's alumni have become renowned journalists, authors, designers, and photographers. Three of the former directors of Carleton's School of Journalism — T. Joseph Scanlon, Stuart Adam and Peter Johansen — are Charlatan alumni, as are several other members of the school's current faculty.

Notable alumni include:


The Charlatan competed (usually in a friendly manner, though not exclusively) with The Resin, a now defunct student-run newspaper for residence students. Carleton's engineering society also has its own newspaper, the Iron Times.

Over the years, Carleton has supported several other campus newspapers, including the CUSA Update, published by CUSA for a short time after the Charlatan's incorporation in 1988. None of these competitors have survived to the present day.

Launching its first issue on February 9, 2009, The Leveller describes itself as "a publication covering news, current events, and culture at Carleton University, in the City of Ottawa and, to a lesser extent, the wider world".[2] The Leveller had published four issues between February and April 2009, and five more between November 2009 and March 2010. In March 2010, The Leveller won a Graduate Student Association referendum for a $1.50 levy per graduate student.


Over the years, some students, particularly those affiliated with or supportive of CUSA, have been very critical of the Charlatan. One CUSA president organized a public debate on this subject in 1983. "The Charlatan" was accused of covering trivial topics and of publishing error-prone articles concerning student-run bodies that sometimes required retractions or issue corrections.

Students not supportive of CUSA have been critical as well, citing that the Charlatan has changed articles or played up or down quotes and events in order give a more positive image to the student council.

In rare instances, critics have resorted to newspaper vandalism and theft, the most recent major instance of which was in March 2000, when 6,000 copies of a single issue were taken.

In early 2006, two referendum questions asking for an increase in the Charlatan's per-student levy were defeated, by votes of 2276-1350 and 1926-1600 respectively. Critics of the Charlatan have pointed to these results as evidence of general dissatisfaction or apathy with the paper. Other increases in student levies also have a history of being defeated.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Staff". The Charlatan. 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  2. ^ The Leveller - Volume 1 Issue 1
  • The Charlatan, ISSN 0315-1859.
  • Evan Annett, You Charlatans (Charlatan Publications Inc., 2005).
  • Blair Neatby and Don McEown, Creating Carleton: The Shaping of a University (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002)
  • John Lorinc, "Two-thirds approve of free Charlatan," The Charlatan, March 24, 1988, p. 3.

External links[edit]