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Editorial #276

Quite how we’ve hit Week Four already I am none the wiser, but here we are. An extremely belated happy new year to all of you, and I hope deadlines are not yet feeling insurmountable! Though we might be well into 2024 already, it’s just getting started for The Saint team. A new year means the editorial board has seen its biannual reshuffle, and though our outgoing team is sorely missed, I’m really pleased to welcome some new faces for the coming semester. It’s a delight to return as Editor, and I can’t think of a better way to round off my time at St Andrews.


The Saint’s EGM might not have the same ramifications for global politics as the other fifty-something elections scheduled this year in various countries inevitably shall, but it does signal some form of change. A new team of editors means a new team of writers, which means new interests, niches, styles, and ultimately, changing content. 

At its core, however, The Saint has not changed. It’s a huge privilege to be one of only a handful of student newspapers in the UK to be independent of its university, and this financial and editorial autonomy remains one of our most cherished (and at times, challenging) values. There’s no point pretending that it is always plain sailing. Securing funding, particularly in a post-Covid world, can be difficult. And so, there are times when it would perhaps be the easy thing to do to throw the towel in and crawl to the University with our metaphorical tail between our legs and beg for re-affiliation and, in turn, funding. That way, at least, the future of The Saint would be secured for years at a time, rather than months, or as is more often the case, weeks.


But that’s not really the point, is it? Because the very fact of our independence puts us in an incredibly powerful position — the University has no jurisdiction over what we write, publish, and print. And whilst I concede that having independence is one thing and actually making use of it is entirely another, if and when the need arises, The Saint can and will be a valuable tool in holding those voices to account. Though our unofficial motto might be “anything for The Saint”, our actual tagline reads “the independent voice of St Andrews students since 1997.” That is, after all, what we pride ourselves on doing — giving a platform for students to practise the art of writing, air their concerns, express their opinions, or simply report on the goings-on of the town we are fortunate enough to call home.

And, while many of you may feel an obligation borne out of solidarity to your fellow student when a copy is thrust upon you every other Thursday morning, those of you who count yourselves among our loyal readership have every right to expect some things of us and our beloved paper, too. These include respectful and accurate reporting, interesting and thought-provoking Viewpoints, and, frankly, a consistently fantastic Puzzles section to fuel your library procrastination. We will not publish scurrilous gossip nor criticise without reason. We will always endeavour to publish news stories that are thoroughly researched, opinion pieces that are crafted with nuance, and features that carry genuine human, particularly student, interest. 


We, however, are not perfect. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no real training (read: none whatsoever) involved in this job. Our staff is dependent on what they’ve learnt as writers, been taught by their section editor, and ultimately, the supposed “expertise” of the Exec team. Whilst I might feel like a broken record answering questions with, “Well, when I was Viewpoint editor,” it’s a far more reassuring and confidence-inspiring answer than, “I don’t have a clue,” which, if we’re being honest is the reality more often than not. We’re students, we’re learning, and we’re improving as we go. Ultimately, that means there may be opinions that you do not agree with, stories that you do not deem newsworthy, or conversations to which you simply want to add your voice. In that case, I invite you to pen a response, and if you so desire, we will publish it as a Letter to the Editor (providing there is a semblance of spelling, grammar, and preferably a lack of expletives). You can reach me on editor@thesaint.scot. If airless, lifeless cubes are more your cup of tea, I’d be more than happy to arrange a meeting in our office. Either way, I would absolutely love to hear from you. 


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