The Beaver is the weekly newspaper of the London School of Economics Students' Union at the LSE.
Despite being published by the Students' Union, The Beaver is independent in its reporting. 2,000 copies are published and distributed free of charge every Tuesday during term time. The Beaver is governed by the Collective, a body of students who have contributed three or more written pieces or photographs to the paper and elects the editorial staff. The paper is made up of sections for News, Comment, Features, Social and Sport, as well as an arts and culture supplement, PartB.
The Beaver's news section has consistently been among the strongest in UK student media, consisting of LSE, University of London and Higher Education stories from across Britain, frequently being quoted in the national press. A recent example concerned the story of the LSE Council having discussed the option of privatisation, which was subsequently reported by a number of national newspapers including The Guardian.
Opinion publishes pieces discussing issues that are relevant to the LSE community, political analysis, social commentary, original cartoons, and debate. The extensive range of articles and letters featured reflects the broad readership of the paper. Contributions to the Opinion section have been wide-ranging and varied, from former LSE Director Sir Howard Davies to lay students.
Features deals with international relations, global politics, business and science articles. It also conducts interviews with leading figures such as Sir Nicholas Stern and Queen Noor of Jordan.
Launched in 2005, PartB is The Beaver's arts and culture supplement. It contains sections dedicated to music, film, literature, theatre, fashion, visual arts, food, television and satire. It regularly contains interviews with prominent cultural figures as diverse as Alan Bennett, Gerald Scarfe, M83, Nigel Slater, Stewart Lee, and Nick Heyward of Haircut 100.
The following year, PartB was shortlisted for Best Student Magazine in the Guardian Student Media Awards.
The Sports section contains a mixture of match reports from LSE teams and comment on world sports. Has courted controversy in the past with its traditionally dismissive approach to the sporting efforts of rival universities. Highlight of the year was traditionally the last Sports section before Christmas, containing photos of the Athletic Union Barrel. This caused particular controversy in 2005 after printing a photo of LSE Director at the event which ended up causing considerable damage to King's Strand campus in December 2005.
In 2000, The Beaver's James Mythen won Sports Writer of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards.
Named after the School's mascot, the Beaver, which was apparently chosen “as representing an industrious animal with social habits”, The Beaver was first published in its recognised format on 5 May 1949. The British Library of Political and Economic Science holds print and digital archives of the paper dating back to this first issue, which was christened by George Bernard Shaw, one of the LSE's founders. Since then it has gone through several makeovers, survived LSE's turbulent history and emerged to be one of the most respected and widely read student newspapers in the UK.
The Beaver in 2011 made national and international headlines due to an Agony Uncles column. The editor, then published a front page apology in the newspaper, calling the column "distasteful at best" but resisted calls to step down.
Notable former contributors
- Richard Bacon - former Executive Editor, now Conservative Member of Parliament for Norfolk South
- James Corbett - former political editor, now contributing editor of The Observer Sport Monthly and author of Everton: The School of Science and England Expects
- Ekow Eshun - edited both Features and Arts. Now the Artistic Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and a contributor to BBC2's Newsnight Review
- Simon Garfield - former Executive Editor. Now journalist and author of "Mauve" and "Our Hidden Lives"
- Stephen F. Kelly - contributor, then producer Granada Television, now author and broadcaster
- Paul Klebnikov - former editor. First editor of Forbes' Russian edition, was shot dead on a Moscow street late at night on July 9, 2004 by unknown assailants
- Bernard Levin - early contributor to the newspaper, particularly of theatre reviews.
- John Stathatos - former Executive Editor, is a photographer, writer and art critic whose publications include The Book of Lost Cities and A Vindication of Tlon: Photography & the Fantastic
- Justin Webb - former editor. Was the BBC's chief Washington correspondent, now presents the Today programme on BBC Radio 4
- Sam Jones - former Executive Editor. Now the Financial Times's Defence and Security Editor.