When asked about the highlights of my life at LSE, I always return to my time at The Beaver. Some of the happiest, and most rewarding moments of my time at the LSE were spent in the Media Centre, discussing, debating, editing; the mad rush to get everything in place and sent to libel by Monday morning… and then of course the satisfaction of seeing everything that you had been working on in print in crisp new editions of the paper.
The Beaver is the LSE historical record of note. The widely-covered successful UGM motion in 2017 to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary LSESU presidency was led by Mahathir Pasha, who only found out about the title awarded to Suu Kyi by the SU while he was perusing The Beaver archives. Everything that is written in The Beaver, from mundane litanies on life and the SU to topical discussions of politics, is preserved for posterity. It becomes part of the School’s history – it also becomes part of the history of student experience at British universities.
70 years of papers provide an insight into the changing psyche of the School. Students in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s had many of the same worries and concerns about LSE life as they do now, albeit there has been a noticeable shift in the School’s character over the decades, from being the hotbed of radical leftist politics to the career-focused institution it is now. Googling the names of former Editors shows that most (including myself) have gone on to do typically-LSE corporate jobs, while some have pursued journalistic careers ranging from covering music for The Guardian to reporting for the Reuters on the Syrian war.
So well done to The Beaver for being the voice of LSE students for 70 years, a student newspaper serving a School not known for its literary credentials. It’s had to adapt – reform – fight battles with the School and the Union – and it’s done that served by editors and writers who are volunteers—who spend their Sundays (alternate Sundays now due to the SU’s decision to slash the newspaper’s budget in half despite growing readership and engagement) in the Office for love not money. To all future Editors, I can only say: you have a great tradition of student journalism behind you – don’t stop asking the difficult questions.