A new student media phenomenon, a satirical paper called The Tart, has hit universities across the country. It is the first free student newspaper of its kind that is available nationally.
The project, masterminded by Tobes Kelly (22) an ambitious recent graduate from Bristol University, has a print run of 60,000 and is distributed to Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Bristol, Warwick, Bath, Sheffield, Reading, Cardiff and several London law colleges.
Kelly describes the paper as “a blend with wit and observation, put in a tabloid format” aiming to give student writers a national audience where they can share their satirical work and was keen to emphasise that satire “should never be destructive; paradoxically, I think it should be constructive”.
The Tart has already sparked controversy and disapproval among other student publications. A spokesperson for Epigram, Bristol’s student newspaper, dismissed Kelly and his work, saying: “before too long, most readers will have grown bored of student attempts at satire and wit.” However, Kelly does not appear to be hindered by this.
The project is funded by a private benefactor who Kelly is keeping quiet about: “he believes in me, to be frank. He believes in the product”.
The Tart’s website details plans for expansion into radio and TV, and perhaps even a global distribution. Kelly admits that he is “tempted to send the paper out of the UK”. Given his own media background, coupled with his ambition and apparent enjoyment of controversy (he delighted in installing a page three in Bristol’s student paper Sanctuary), global domination is perhaps on Kelly’s agenda.