Palatinate is the award-winning official student newspaper of Durham University and is one of Britain's oldest and best-known student publications, having celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2008. The paper was named NUS/Independent Student Newspaper of the Year in 2001.
The name of the newspaper derives from the colour Palatinate, a shade of purple closely associated with the university and derived from County Durham's political history as a County Palatine.
Palatinate is published on a fortnightly basis during term time, and its editors are elected on a termly basis; its constitution prevents an editorship lasting more than two terms. Although the Durham Students' Union technically subsidies the paper, revenues from advertising outstrip the cost of production, ensuring that the publication actually makes money for the DSU. Despite the potential conflict of interest arising from the student union subsidising the paper, Palatinate often publishes articles critical of the union. However, the publication does not have complete editorial independence: since it is funded by the Durham Students' Union, any libel/defamation cases would be brought against the union as a whole. As a result, union officers check the content for any potentially libellous material before the newspaper goes to print, and retain power of censorship.
The paper reports news about Durham University and its sporting activities in addition to publishing local news, arts coverage, a variety of features and a comment section. Since 2004, Palatinate has been freely available and is now distributed to a variety of locations across the main university campus. Queen's Campus in Stockton-on-Tees also receives copies. Each edition is printed in full colour.
In November 2003, reporter Oliver Brown was runner-up in the Best Student Reporter category of the NUS National Student Media Awards.
In January 2004 Palatinate became a free publication. This was achieved by greatly increasing circulation, which drew in more advertising revenue.
In October 2004 the paper moved from a broadsheet to tabloid format in changes overseen by Tim Roach and Christopher Lamb.
In 2005, under Lamb's editorship, the paper stopped receiving direct funding from Durham Students' Union, causing an increase the amount of advertising needed. The Students' Union still provides Palatinate with office space and computing facilities.
In December 2007, a new Palatinate website was launched. The style and function is similar to the websites of The Guardian and The Times national newspapers.
In June 2008, content from Palatinate was showcased in the inaugural issue of FS magazine as an example of "the best of student journalism".
In November 2008, under the co-editorship of Maz Farookhi and Emily Purser, Palatinate launched Indigo, an arts and features pull-out supplement. The newspaper also upgraded to an unusually thick, sheer white paper type for printing purposes and celebrated its 700th edition.
In June 2009, under the editorship of James Thompson, Palatinate launched a new careers section geared towards helping current students navigate the graduate job market. The newspaper also underwent a substantial re-design.
In January 2010, under the co-editorship of Liza Miller and Vincent McAviney, Indigo was relaunched, a new sports supplement launched named "The Locker Room", and the main paper was upgraded from tabloid size to Berliner size.
In October 2010, under the co-editorship of Ally Bacon and Matt Richardson, PalatinateTV was launched.
In March 2013, under the co-editorship of Harriet Line and Florence Snead, a Science and Technology section was launched online and printed in the bumper 750th celebratory edition. Also, Indigo was redesigned by the Indigo editors Robin Marshall and Justina Crabtree, to a three-column format (instead of the traditional five) with a more artistic appearance.
In November 2015, under the co-editorship of Henry Clare and Josh Smith, the Palatinate website was relaunched to include a slicker, more user friendly interface. Also, the digitalisation every Palatinate issue was arranged.