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Pi (magazine)

Type Monthly newsmagazine
Format Magazine
Owner(s) Pi Media
Founder(s) Richard Lubbock
Editor Ayesha Gill & Declan Rooney (2014/15)
Founded September 1945 (1945-09)
Headquarters University College London Union
Gordon Street, London
Website //.uk.copimediaonline

Pi is the name of the official student publication of the University College London Union. It publishes a free monthly magazine during academic term time in addition to its website.


  • History 1
  • Today 2
    • Editorial structure 2.1
    • Closure of Pi Newspaper 2.2
  • External links 3


Pi was originally launched as a newspaper. In the aftermath of World War II, there was strong popular support amongst college and UCL Union officials for some sort of community project that would bind together the rapidly expanding campus. Pi was conceived as a fortnightly news-sheet, written and published internally by UCL students. It was first published in 1947.

The founding editor was Richard Lubbock, a first-year medic, who modelled the four-page broadsheet after the style of an American high school newspaper. The purpose was to provide news and entertainment for students, and journalistic experience for the editorial team.

The name, Pi, was chosen in honour of the Provost of the College at that time, Sir David Pye.

The paper was extremely popular, even charging a small fee for each issue. Though the initial focus was on student politics, as the paper recruited a more diverse base of writers and journalists, new areas began to receive attention - sports became a prominently featured section, as well as academic discourse and regular interviews with London celebrities. Pi drew favourable comparisons with other heavyweight student newspapers, such as the LSE Beaver. British journalist and TV personality Jonathan Dimbleby was once the editor. Former contributors include TV psychiatrist Raj Persaud, Chief Executive of healthcare group Circle Ali Parsa, Chief Executive of Maitland PR, Neil Bennett and the Guardian‍‍ '​‍s racing correspondent Greg Wood.

In May 2007 'Pi Magazine Society' was constitutionally renamed as 'Pi Media Society' to take into account Pi's expansion into other media formats; Pi Squared Newspaper (now simply Pi Newspaper) and a website. Since then, there has been careful emphasis by Pi Media to rebrand Pi Magazine as a journalistic outlet for student life and culture. Pi Newspaper has now taken the role of providing news on local and national student issues.

Pi Magazine came runner up in 2009 for the Guardian Student Media awards under the 'Best Magazine' category.


A typical issue of Pi Magazine contains a wide variety of sections of supposed interest to UCL students, such as special features and sections such as arts, music and fashion. Pi Magazine was shortlisted for 'Best Magazine of the Year' at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2009 [1] and was subsequently awarded runner-up.

Alongside the magazine, Pi Squared was launched in October 2006 as a sister publication in newspaper form. Its second issue made it well-read around the university with an article describing toilets in the main building of UCL as a 'cruising zone' for men looking for sex with students. In 2009, the name was changed to Pi Newspaper and it has since been notable for high level interviews (for instance, Archbishop Desmond Tutu) and organising lectures and speakers for the general UCL community.

Both publications are distributed around the UCL campus, including UCL Union bars, departmental common rooms and libraries.

Editorial structure

The magazine and newspaper are published separately by the society and have separate editorial structures.

Unlike many other student publications, Pi Magazine, Pi TV and Pi Online do not have a paid full-time sabbatical editor. Editors are elected annually at the society AGM from University College London's pool of undergraduate and graduate students although for a few years during the 1980s it was run on a collective basis with no one individual having overall editorial control.

Sections in Pi newspaper include: News, Focus, Comment, Politics, Science, Encore, and Sport. Pi Magazine's include Features, Music, Art, Film, Fashion, Technology and Travel.

Editorial positions are elected to once a year at one of two Annual General Meetings taking place at the end of the first and second terms at University College London.Pi Media's constitution states that the newspaper must elect two editors-in-chief, whereas the magazine will have one, although recent magazine editorial teams have elected two editors running as a pair.

Closure of Pi Newspaper

In December 2012, following concerns that internal competition between the magazine and the newspaper was mutually harmful, the decision was made by the editorial board that the content should be merged while retaining the glossy magazine format. This publication was entitled 'Pi' in a return to the original nomenclature of the publication founded in 1945.

External links

  • Official website
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