The Tab

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The Tab
TypeNews site
Owner(s)Tab Media Ltd
Founder(s)George Marangos-Gilks, Jack Rivlin, Taymoor Atighetchi
EditorGrace Vielma
FoundedJune 2009; 14 years ago (2009-06)
HeadquartersLondon, England, United Kingdom

The Tab is a tabloid-style youth news site, published by Tab Media Ltd. It was launched at the University of Cambridge and has since expanded to over 80 universities in the United Kingdom and United States.[1] The name originates from both an abbreviation for tabloid and a nickname applied to Cambridge students (from 'Cantabs').[1]

The Tab's network consists of a national site and an individual sub-site for each university. Local campus-based stories are produced by students, with a student editorial team for each sub-site. Professional editors in The Tab's offices in Shoreditch and Williamsburg offer guidance and editorial insight to their student teams, as well as writing for the site on a regular basis.

In September 2017 News Corp was the main investor with a total of $6m (£4.6m) of new funding raised by Tab Media. In return for its investment News Corp has taken a minority stake in it and Emma Tucker, deputy editor of The Times, will sit on its board of directors.[1]



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".[3] 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, and Cambridge University's Women's Officer stated, "We can do better as a university". The subsequent controversy was picked up by several mainstream British newspapers, and made international headlines.[4][5]

In 2009, the site's readers voted British National Party leader Nick Griffin "The worst person ever to attend Cambridge University"[6] with 44% of the vote.[7] In early 2010, The Tab ran an April Fools' Day hoax claiming Griffin had been stripped of his degree. This was subsequently reported by The Sun who believed the claims to be genuine.[8]

In November 2010, The Tab released documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act detailing recent disciplinary procedures enacted across the university.[9] Details from the documents released were then reported by national newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph.[9]

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 twelve other British universities. Backed by external investment, Rivlin and Marangos-Gilks aim to build a mass circulation online paper for students across the country.

The news site has held journalism training events in association with The Daily Telegraph.[10]


The Tab opened its first American bureau in Brooklyn in July 2015. The Tab's first scoop to make the national papers came four days before it launched its first sub-site – a video of a UVA hockey player chugging a beer on the ice which they broke on their Facebook page made The Washington Post, USA Today and several other titles.[11][12]

The site launched at 23 colleges on the East Coast in the fall of 2015 – including Ivy League institutions, and major public universities such as Penn State, University of North Carolina, and Rutgers.

They broke several stories which made the American national press. Their coverage of a Dartmouth Black Lives Matter protest was featured on Fox News and quoted in The Washington Post.

In April 2016, The Tab broke the news of where President Obama's daughter Malia was attending college.[1]

In August 2016, founder Jack Rivlin assumed the role of CEO and Joshi Herrmann, a former Tab Cambridge editor who had been working at the Evening Standard, was appointed as Editor in Chief. Grace Vielma became UK Editor.

They have since expanded their team at their London office to 33 people.[13]

In September 2017 News Corp was the main investor of a total of $6m (£4.6m) of new funding raised by Tab Media. In return for its investment News Corp has taken a minority stake in it and Emma Tucker, deputy editor of The Times, will sit on its board of directors.[1]

In October 2020, Digitalbox plc acquired Tab Media and The Tab.[14]


Babe, also known as, was a spinoff aimed at young women.[15] It was established in May 2016 by then Tab editor Roisin Lanigan and focuses on what Slate contributor Ruth Graham called "vulgar tomfoolery" – provocative, light stories unlikely to appeal to older women.[16]

In January 2018, a woman using the pseudonym 'Grace' wrote an article on Babe accusing comedian Aziz Ansari of sexual misconduct.[17] The article was met with a polarized and mixed response among commentators and the public with disagreement as to whether the incident described in the Babe article constitutes sexual misconduct, and to whether the accuser's narrative trivialized or damaged the Me Too movement.[16] The journalist who edited the story at, Katie Way, was criticized by HLN anchor Ashleigh Banfield. Banfield had previously criticized Ansari's anonymous accuser, drawing Way's ire in an email response which she read part of on-air, characterizing it as hypocritical.[18] The email included Way claiming "Ashleigh [was] someone who I am certain nobody under the age of 45 has ever heard of" and describing her as a "burgundy-lipstick, bad-highlights, second-wave-feminist has-been."[19] Responding to criticism of the site's choice to publish the account, Tab editor-in-chief Joshi Herrmann said it was "patently ridiculous" to ignore stories solely because they did not involve illegal behavior.[20]

It was reported in early 2019 that Babe CEO Jack Rivlin was looking to sell the site.[21]

Babe closed in February 2019.[22]


Notable scoops for The Tab include Malia Obama's decision to go to Harvard University,[1] and the publication of the memes that got 12 incoming freshmen kicked out of Harvard.[23]

In December 2012, the Bristol title revealed a ban on female speakers at the university's Christian Union.[24][25]

Starting in September 2013, The Tab pioneered[citation needed] a campaign that got student unions across the UK to ban Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, after Edinburgh University Students' Association boycotted it.[26][27][28][29]

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.[30] In February 2016 The Tab's Reading edition interviewed Amber-May Ellis, a student at the University of Reading and a reality TV star, who got a tattoo of homeless Ian Beale on her thigh.[31] In under 24 hours the story had gone viral, it was picked up by all of the U.K's tabloid newspapers[32] and by ITV's This Morning.[citation needed]

A week in 2014 The Tab dubbed "The week The Tab dominated Fleet Street".[33]

In February 2017, The Tab Cambridge reported a story about a student member of the Cambridge University Conservative Association burning a £20 note in front of a homeless person.[34] The story was covered by The Guardian,[34] and The Daily Telegraph.[35]

False scoops and April Fools' Day hoaxes[edit]

In April 2010, an April Fools' Day story alleging that Cambridge had stripped Nick Griffin of his degree was picked up by The Sun.[36]

On April Fools' Day 2014 a Cambridge story alleged that Prince William had received a third class degree.[37]


In October 2016, a group of University of Nottingham students dressed as a rollercoaster were reported by The Tab to be impersonating The Smiler rollercoaster crash of June 2015. This article was picked up by the national press including the BBC, ITV and Metro. The Tab reporter, Joseph Archer, admitted to the Daily Mail that he had 'not spoken to the group to ask what their costume was about' as the bar they were in was 'very busy', a statement that the group of students said was wrong.[38] The Tab later issued an apology for their story and admitted that they had 'messed up'.[39]

Student writers, including local student editors, are unpaid. This has led to heavy criticism from other journalists as well as accusations The Tab is exploiting its writers.[40][41][42]

When The Tab's women's vertical[clarification needed] babe was first launched in May 2016 the majority of its writers were unpaid work experience students taking part in The Tab's summer 2016 Fellowship Scheme.[43] In 2017 babe recruited more unpaid contributors in both the US and UK, as part of their 'Summer Correspondents' program.[44] Applicants were told that despite being unpaid they would receive many benefits, including: "Getting your stories read by thousands of readers across the world".[45][44] babe established a small team of staff writers and editors at its Brooklyn office before ending in 2019.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ruddick, Graham (7 September 2017). "Taking the Tab: news site founder on how he got $4m from Rupert Murdoch". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Tab totty row: Storm in a D-cup?". BBC. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  3. ^ About Us Archived 2014-07-15 at the Wayback Machine, The Tab, Cambridge, UK.
  4. ^ Richard Edwards, Cambridge University in 'totty' row, The Telegraph, 29 October 2009.
  5. ^ Rowenna Davis, Cambridge's tawdry tabloid 'totty'. The Guardian, 27 October 2007
  6. ^ The Guardian, Diary, 4 December 2009
  7. ^ Jack Rivlin, "Official: Griffin is Worst Tab" Archived 2014-07-11 at, The Tab, 28 November 2009
  8. ^ Matthew Weaver, Sun April fooled by student's BNP story, News Blog, The Guardian, 2 April 2010.
  9. ^ a b Martin Evans, "Discipline files reveal high jinks of Cambridge students", Daily Telegraph, 10 November 2010.
  10. ^ "The Tab's Blog".
  11. ^ Allen, Scott (14 September 2015). "Virginia club hockey goalie chugs beer during game, gets ejected". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  12. ^ "College hockey goaltender ejected after chugging beer on the ice". For The Win. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  13. ^ The Tab. "Tab HQ". The Tab. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.
  14. ^ Tobitt, Charlotte (1 October 2020). "Digitalbox looks to turn student news network The Tab into profitable business after buyout". Press Gazette. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  15. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (6 September 2017). "With Rupert Murdoch's Help, Tab Media Targets Young and Cheeky on Campus". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  16. ^ a b Graham, Ruth (17 January 2018). "Fun, Free-Wheeling, and Kind of Terrifying". Slate. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  17. ^ "I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life". Babe. 13 January 2018.
  18. ^ Hibberd, James (17 January 2018). "HLN host reads insulting email sent by Aziz Ansari 'bad date' reporter". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  19. ^ Tani, Maxwell (17 January 2018). "Read the email the writer behind the Aziz Ansari sexual misconduct story wrote slamming an HLN anchor who criticized her". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  20. ^ Stelter, Brian (16 January 2018). "Babe editor stands by Aziz Ansari story". CNNMoney. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  21. ^ Levine, Jon (14 February 2019). ", site behind infamous Aziz Ansari story, up for sale". The Wrap. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  22. ^ Allison P. Davis. "The Wild Ride at Babe.Net; The Aziz Ansari controversy was just the beginning of the trouble for the website". The Cut. The site officially shuttered in February after failing to secure another round of funding.
  23. ^ "At least 10 who got into Harvard lose admission over offensive memes". USA Today. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  24. ^ Morris, Steven (4 December 2012). "Bristol University Christian Union bars women from teaching". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  25. ^ "Bristol University's Christian Union Bans Women From Speaking At Meetings". HuffPost. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Universities ban Blurred Lines on campuses around UK". The Guardian. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  27. ^ "Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines gets banned at another university". The Guardian. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  28. ^ "Blurred Lines banned by University College London Union". BBC. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  29. ^ Denham, Jess (6 November 2013). "They know they don't want it: More universities ban Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 June 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  30. ^ "Exeter Respect Concert Cancelled As Tim Westwood Tells Students: 'Keep Your P***ies Tight And Clean'". HuffPost. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  31. ^ Crofts, Hannah (1 February 2016). "Meet the Reading third year who got Ian Beale tattooed on her thigh". The Tab. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  32. ^ "We spoke to Reading's 'Ian Beale Girl' about going viral". University of Reading. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  33. ^ "How The Tab dominated Fleet Street". The Tab. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013.
  34. ^ a b Khomami, Nadia (10 February 2017). "Cambridge student filmed burning cash in front of homeless man". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  35. ^ "Cambridge University student who boasted of being related to Nicola Sturgeon filmed burning £20 note in front of homeless person". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  36. ^ Weaver, Matthew (2 April 2010). "Sun April fooled by student's BNP story". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  37. ^ "Were you fooled? Cambridge student paper claims Prince William got a third". Daily Express. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  38. ^ "Exclusive Interview 7 Legless Group Deny Attempt to Recreate Alton Towers Smiler Crash". Impact Nottingham. 22 October 2016.
  39. ^ "We messed up: an apology to the '7 legless' students". The Tab. 24 October 2016.
  40. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (14 February 2016). "The Tab picks up business without paying". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  41. ^ Collins, Jem [@Jem_Collins] (22 June 2017). "Anyone else find it quite problematic @TheTab make money out of student writers under the guise of 'training'?" (Tweet). Retrieved 14 November 2017 – via Twitter.}}
  42. ^ …|language=en
  43. ^ "Introducing The Tab National Fellowship 2016". The Tab. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  44. ^ a b "Babe is looking for new writers across the US". The Tab US. 13 April 2017. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  45. ^ "Babe is looking for new writers across the UK". babe. 21 April 2017. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017.