The Saint (UK newspaper)
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|Founded||1984; Current name dates from 1997|
|Headquarters||Saint Office, St Mary's Place, St Andrews, Scotland|
The Saint is a newspaper written by students at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. It is one of only a few student newspapers in the UK to enjoy complete financial and editorial independence, as it is not affiliated with the University or Students' Association in any way. It is published fortnightly during term time.
The Saint was preceded in the 1960s by Aien, a broadsheet named for the University's motto, Aien Aristeuein, Greek for 'Ever to Excel'. After the closure of that paper the current organisation, known as The Chronicle, was founded in 1984. The Chronicle won The Herald's Scottish Student Newspaper of the Year award in 1997.
In 1997 the paper - by now being published in tabloid format - was rebranded as The Saint.
The Saint is governed by a constitution.
The paper has no sabbatical officers or paid staff. Instead it is run entirely by student volunteers who are simultaneously studying full-time for their degrees. The senior editorial positions such as editor, production manager and section editors are filled by elections twice a year, in which the current editorial staff can vote. Other roles, such as the section sub-editors and members of the business team, are appointed following an interview process. There are currently around 15 elected members of staff and around 50 staff positions in total.
In addition to staff positions there are many regular and irregular writers, photographers and other contributors, meaning a considerable number of St Andrews students have at one time or another been involved in The Saint. Section editors hold regular meetings, which any student or staff member may attend, to commission articles.
The Saint is one of only a few UK student newspapers to boast full financial and editorial independence from both the University and their Student Union. The other UK newspapers with a similar financial and editorial position are the Cherwell of Oxford, and the Varsity of Cambridge. The newspaper's income does not come from a grant, but entirely from advertising. Financial difficulties arising from such an unusual situation have often threatened the future of the newspaper. The Saint therefore exercises considerable independence and prints stories regarding student elections and University matters that non-independent student newspapers would be unable to run. At times, this has led to tension between the newspaper and both the Union and University (see "Controversy" below). Students have been known to question the level of independence The Saint has, since it rents space within the Students' Association Building. However, The Saint is not mentioned in any Association or Union rules and regulations and only works within the Union building as an unconnected tenant.
Many St Andrews students are unaware of The Saint's lack of connection with the Union and University. As a recent example, heads of a prominent University society approached Students' Association sabbaticals - who have no control over the newspaper - in an attempt to stop a controversial article from running in Issue 112. However, the paper has been mired in scandal in the past and the Association and the University have often come into heated conflict with the editorial staff of the newspaper, resulting in evictions and attempts at gaining a degree of editorial control.
The Saint is well known for its criticism of many Union 'hacks' and their policies, resulting in a long-standing feud between the two groups of students that has seen the paper expelled from its offices in the past. With the graduation of both the editorial staff and Sabbatical staff of the time, the tensions have abated and a cordial relationship resumed.
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The paper has occasionally found itself mired in controversy, as lax editing standards have resulted in the printing of what some students perceive as offensive, inaccurate or entirely incorrect material, and the paper has flirted with bankruptcy and litigation.
The most serious of the paper's scandals was a prolonged, drawn-out battle between the paper and the Students' Association over the disparity between the Association's equal opportunities policy, specifically discrimination against homosexuals, and a section of an issue printed in the Spring of 2004. A segment in the paper's "HALO!" section, a "society"-type supplement, pictured two males kissing in the Student Union's dance venue with an inappropriate caption. Though it was determined that the offending caption was not printed maliciously (due to certain persuasions of the person writing the column), one of the students in the picture threatened the paper and the Association with legal action if remedial measures were not taken.
The conflict escalated when a later issue featured an editorial deemed offensive to the Welsh, jokingly suggesting that they were worthy of suspicion for "evil doings since they spawned the caterwauling Charlotte Church." The Association responded swiftly to the 'offensive' remark by evicting The Saint from their offices. This action took the interest of the national press, with opinion generally favouring The Saint. After the Christmas break, the newspaper was reinstated in their office. However, this was conditional on the paper complying with the editorial guidelines that a national newspaper would uphold, and that members of the Saint staff had to attend diversity training, which the Association never organised. However, a member of the panel did meet with the then-editor and was assured that an incident along similar lines would not happen again, and that the HALO supplement would be banned.
Later in the same year, the paper printed an article about two prominent organisations at the University and alleged that the organisations' members engaged in drug use at parties along Hope Street, an expensive residential district in the town. After a letter of protest from the organisations concerned and the threat of litigation, the paper did not print an apology but did publish an article written jointly by the heads of the student societies concerned.
- Andrew Keenan, Editorial, The Saint, Issue 112, March 15, 2007, pg. 15.
- Guardian Student Media Awards