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The Tab

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The Tab

The Tab
The Tab's logo
Type Student news site
Format Online
Owner(s) Tab Media Ltd
Editor-in-chief Jonathan Frank Bee
Founded June 2009
Circulation 2,000,000 unique visitors per month

The Tab is a news site for students based in the UK and published by Tab Media Ltd. It was launched at the University of Cambridge and has since expanded to over 40 other universities.[1] The name is both an abbreviation for 'tabloid' and a nickname applied to Cambridge students (from 'Cantabs').

The publication has since ditched the tabloid image in favour of a more modern style. Their main focus is now on investigative journalism and exclusive news.

The Tab's network consists of one main national site and an individual sub-site for each university. The majority of content is produced by students, with a student editorial team for each sub-site.



The Tab was launched in 2009 by Cambridge students Jack Rivlin, George Marangos-Gilks and Taymoor Atighetchi.[2] The website was marketed as "Cambridge University's Online Tabloid" promising to "provide fast news and entertainment direct to your rooms".[2] The Tab was initially funded entirely by its three founders, although it now funds itself through advertising and other investment.

At its inception, "Tab Totty", a Page 3-esque feature, featured photographs of scantily clad Cambridge University (male and female) students in provocative poses. The feature was widely criticised, with Cambridge University's Women's Officer stating "We can do better as a university". The subsequent controversy was picked up by several mainstream British newspapers, and made international headlines.[3][4][5][6]

In 2009, the site's readers voted British National Party leader Nick Griffin "The worst person ever to attend Cambridge University"[7] with 44% of the vote.[8] In early 2010, The Tab ran an April Fool's hoax claiming Griffin had been stripped of his degree. This was subsequently reported by The Sun who believed the claims to be genuine.[9]

In its first year of existence, The Tab made more than 20 appearances in the national media.[10]

In November 2010, The Tab released documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act detailing recent disciplinary procedures enacted across the University.[11][12] Details from the documents released were then reported by national newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph.[13]

In June 2011, The Tab published a pilot print edition of 5,000 copies in May Week and another freshers' week edition in October 2011. This tradition continued in the following years.


In Autumn 2012, The Tab expanded to 12 other British universities. Backed by external investment, Rivlin and Marangos-Gilks aim to build a mass circulation online paper for students across the country. They have since expanded their team at Tab HQ to 15,[14] reach 2,000,000 monthly readers,[15] and operate at over 40 universities.[16]

The news site has received praise from multiple journalists, including Louise Mensch and David Dinsmore,[17] and has held journalism training events in association with The Telegraph.[18]


The Tab was highly commended at the Newspaper Awards in 2012 and 2014.[19] Editor-in-Chief Jack Rivlin was noted as one of 30 people under 30 to watch by the Guardian and was named one of the Evening Standard's Power 1000 in 2013.


Major scoops for The Tab included the "milking" craze, which was broken by the Newcastle edition[20] and went around the world.[21] In December 2012, the Bristol title revealed a ban on female speakers at the university's Christian Union.[22] In November 2013, The Tab Exeter broke a story about staff in the student bar recording a sex act seen on the CCTV cameras.[23] This story also went international, making headlines from New York to Japan. Starting in September 2013, The Tab pioneered a campaign to get Student Unions across the UK to ban Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, after Edinburgh University Students' Association boycotted it.[24] Later in the year, the site published an exclusive story after DJ Tim Westwood was caught unleashing a torrent of sexist jibes at Leicester's Student Union.[25]

In one week in 2014, The Tab broke 4 stories which were later picked up by the national press.[26] The Tab dubbed this "The week The Tab dominated Fleet Street".

False scoops

In April 2010, an April Fools' story alleging that Cambridge had stripped Nick Griffin of his degree was picked up by The Sun.[27] Later in the year, the site managed to convince a rival student paper at Cambridge that a phenomenon known as "bog snorkelling" was a new craze at the university, purveyed by interviewee Mack Rivling (a parody on the name of co-founder Jack Rivlin).[28] April Fools' Day 2014 yielded even more nibbles for the site, as people across the country fell for their practical jokes. The most notable was the Cambridge story, alleging that Prince William had received a third class degree.[29] The same year, The Tab Manchester's April Fools' joke about a beloved halls of residence being knocked down came true.[30]


The "Rear of the Year" competition run by The Tab, which asked students to anonymously submit images of their bums to be rated by others, drew controversy in 2013 which led to Cambridge editor Will Heilpern defending the contest on national television.

Notable people

Notable guest writers have included former UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, writer and broadcaster Liz Fraser, and Laura Bates, the founder of Everyday Sexism.

Bursary sponsorship

The Tab sponsors a £4,500 bursary at City University.[31]


  1. ^ Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b About Us, The Tab, Cambridge, UK.
  3. ^ Richard Edwards, Cambridge University in 'totty' row, The Telegraph, 29 October 2009.
  4. ^ Rowenna Davis, Cambridge's tawdry tabloid 'totty'. The Guardian, 27 October 2007
  5. ^ James Clothier, Cambridge girls in sexy pics row, The Sun, 30 October 2009.
  6. ^ Nicola Boden, Cambridge University row students set tabloid website complete with Page Three, Daily Mail, 30 October 2009.
  7. ^ The Guardian, Diary, 4 December 2009
  8. ^ Jack Rivlin, "Official: Griffin is Worst Tab", The Tab, 28 November 2009
  9. ^ Sun April fooled by student's BNP story, News Blog, The Guardian, 2 April 2010.
  10. ^ The Tab's Facebook page
  11. ^ Alasdair Pal, Deaned!: Cambridge Discipline Uncovered, Part 1, The Tab, 1 November 2010
  12. ^ Alasdair Pal, Deaned!: Cambridge Discipline Uncovered, Part 2, The Tab, 8 November 2010
  13. ^ Martin Evans, "Discipline files reveal high jinks of Cambridge students", Daily Telegraph, 10 November 2010.
  14. ^ The Tab. "Tab HQ". The Tab. 
  15. ^ @TheTab. "The Tab's Twitter". 
  16. ^ [1], The Tab
  17. ^ "The Tab's Blog". 
  18. ^ "The Tab's Blog". 
  19. ^ "The Tab's Blog". 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "The Tab Exeter". 
  24. ^ "The Tab Edinburgh". 
  25. ^ "The Tab Leicester". 
  26. ^ "How The Tab dominated Fleet Street". 
  27. ^ "The Guardian". 
  28. ^ "The Tab Cambridge". 
  29. ^ "The Tab Cambridge". 
  30. ^ "The Tab Manchester". 
  31. ^ "The Tab's Blog". 

External links

  • websiteThe Tab National
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