I quite like reading the Tab sometimes, because it occasionally publishes useful and important writing. Student journalism is like local journalism in that the subject matter is often very relevant to the reader. Even if it’s just ordinary gossip, it’s news which people (myself included) want to read because it affects our lives.
Unfortunately in my experience student papers tend to be half-hearted efforts run by journalism students trying to get something to stick on their CV. Meanwhile official university media often has its own budget and paid staff, but it tends towards PR fluff and it’s rarely worth reading. So I can explain the popularity of the Tab in that it performs the role of the little upstart student paper, combined with the stable budget which student papers lack.
Having said that, this passage from the latest issue of Concrete summarises everything else I have to say about it:
The Tab’s language is ham-fistedly negative; its tone is smarmier than Piers Morgan’s arse – “Aren’t we so cool for dicking all over just about everything?”; and to pad the one or two newsworthy pieces it publishes each semester they delight the curious reader with nationally syndicated churnalism and click-baiting videos of drunk people knobbing in Belfast car parks… Oh, and some bloke hitting his housemate over the head with a chair. In slow motion. That, people, is public-service journalism at its zenith.