Reflections on 75 years of The Beaver

By the Beaver Editors

A purpose for journalism by Kieran Hurwood

It can be hard, in the modern world, to justify why we need formal print journalism. Much discourse and news is now distributed via blogs, Twitter, podcasts or short-form videos. Media is saturated beyond common human comprehension – it would be impossible to know of every content creator, to listen to every viewpoint. As young people, I feel we usually have a tendency to over-rely on these mediums to supplement our increasingly shortening attention spans.

Not all is lost. Where we in the print and formal digital journalism sector maintain authority is through trust and training. While I’m not a huge fan of the gatekeeping around British journalism, the imposition of legal requirements, moral standards and ethical considerations on our work gives us greater credibility. They protect us, and they protect the subjects of our journalism. It is not the case that The Beaver has always had to abide by these rules – The Beaver’s Sports section in the 90s certainly didn’t anyway. In the era before social media, before the digitalisation of our paper, the likelihood that we would be sued by a public figure unhappy with a claim made in our fledgling paper was improbably small.

Today, the rapid and sometimes uncontrollable dissemination of information means that we in the print sector have a new purpose – accurate and ethical reporting. In a mist of hazy conspiratorial stories cooked up by journalistic amateurs, student and trainee reporters are now relative professionals. At 75 years old, The Beaver’s stories may not always be widely spread, but they are valuable teaching tools and examples of our integrity as young journalists.


As a child, I always used to hide in my bed with my little journal that had a shiny pink lock on its clasp, a sacred place for all my doubts, fascinations and broken rhymes. Over time, writing became isolatory in nature, my own little endeavour. In my 10s it was a side quest I had discovered, one that required me to yap rhyming words on loop, stringing them together in a poem. In my early teens it transformed into something partly cathartic, partly cringe as I, like every middle schooler, thought my life was doomed. 

If you’re someone who has felt like life has taken precious things away from you before, you’ll understand what I’m going to say next. In the past years, a lot has been lost and gained, but words have always stayed and that for me is what laid at core of the ‘act’ of writing – the fact that it was wholly mine, unshared.  Not anymore though, and I say this with the utmost gratitude. From the time I stepped into the media centre for the first time to now, on my very last formatting weekend – this paper has shown me the greatness and limitlessness of sharing words. And how, when shared, they stretch way further than any of us individually can. It has birthed camaraderie that overcomes the solace of writing alone. A furiously passionate band of equally chaotic individuals united by one thing – words. And so, here I find myself so at peace, having shared my first love with all of you. Thank you for showing me that both love and words, when shared, become immortal. 

Whiplash at LSE by Honour Astill

Let’s face it. LSE is a bit shit. I was first transplanted to London in 2020 armed with the warning from an acquaintance that LSE was a ‘profoundly Houellebecqian environment’. But I had failed to anticipate just how much the institution can be your oppressor one day, a faceless, antipathetic machine, causing bureaucratic nightmares. Or your best friend the next, home to the friends who make your heart warm or dazzling and pre-eminent experts or dozens of opportunities to transform your life.

Nonetheless, the experience is occasionally pockmarked with what feels like serious transgressions which incite discontent in the community without much in the way of redress. OGs will remember hearing about cleaners’ conditions or Hotovely’s invitation. These days, hosting Benny Morris or allegedly protecting an abusive professor comes to mind.

It’s ironic being part of The Beaver is what has personally inundated me with LSE’s bad press, but also been home to many perfect and tumultuous moments, which means unfortunately I can’t help but love the school.

Amid all of the problems LSE is facing, who knows what the future holds for the newspaper. No one can promise it will go on (like this) forever, or knows how many handovers it has left in it. Just this year did the paper narrowly escape existential defunding threats. But I do know that for a few years, we were here, and it was beautiful. I hope the spirit and soul behind The Beaver persists for many years to come.

The Beaver’s meaning by Alan Nemirovski

While pulling this issue together, I’ve been processing the end of my three years at this paper, I think I’ve remained stuck in denial. It almost seems like my time at The Beaver felt like 75 years, and yet it flew by in the blink of an eye. The cliche of “this feels like it was yesterday” is the only way I can think of describing how I remember my first day on the paper, coming into a Features meeting with a pitch about alternative career paths at LSE.

I always imagined the work I’d do here to be as glamorous and exciting as Rory Gilmore circa Yale Daily News. And sometimes, it is. But I think the most rewarding part of my job has been seeing everything come together after pulling through the not-so-great bits — the eight-hour formatting days, the tiring fights with LSE and the SU, and the tedious copyediting, among other things. I think working for so long on this paper has taught me what The Beaver is all about: it’s about a community of people coming together and putting the work in to create something from nothing, not for any other reason than because we care.

No one who’s worked on The Beaver (back in 1949, or in the 1970s, or now) started off caring about the paper — but it’s something that we’ve all grown to love for the impact it can produce, that rewarding feeling after every issue that comes out, and most importantly, because of all the amazing people with whom we’ll forever be intertwined with on paper. And for that I will always be grateful.

Journalism, or professional gossiping by Vanessa Huang

Emerging from the throes of news creation, I often joke that my role over the past year has amounted to little more than peddling gossip. By virtue of my role as Frontside Editor, juicy tidbits are often tossed my way. And it doesn’t help that as an ed board we’re often sat in the media centre, gleefully trading the rumour mill’s latest concoctions. They say it’s the journalist’s job to bear witness. I’ve been wondering what that means. 

Gossip certainly carries its weight in negative connotations: invasive, tasteless, and stamped with a predominantly feminine stereotype. Journalism, on the other hand, is feted for being truth-seeking, authoritative, and trustworthy. We strive to separate ourselves from the lowly gossip. We tell ourselves we’re doing it to benefit other people. We coax secrets from the most reticent of sources, eavesdrop on private conversations, shamelessly exploit the vulnerabilities of others, and tell everyone – all in the ostensible pursuit of spreading “information.”

This isn’t to say that journalists are simply profiteers of human misery, festooned with bylines and press passes. There is undeniably important journalism, stories told with care and compassion. But the incentives are there for us to spin lurid tales – to commodify suffering for our own fulfilment. When I look back on my work from the past few years, there are certainly pieces I’d be glad to take back – or at least articles I’d rewrite, interviews I’d redo. Telling someone else’s story is a weighty responsibility. It deserves to be handled with care.

For our final issue of the year, which is also the 75th Anniversary edition of The Beaver, a selection of our opinion and executive editors write about what 75 years at The Beaver means to them.


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