By: Taylor Fulkerson ~Managing Editor~
The publication that eventually be-came today’s Newswire had a humble beginning, but high aspirations. Since 1915 it has consistently advocated for students, giving them a voice to ex-press their concerns.
The first in the line of predecessors to the Newswire, the Xavierian News, was not the first student publication that printed news on campus, but it was the one that eventually molded into a newspaper. The first news source was The Collegian, which appeared and then mysteriously disappeared in 1887. The Athenaeum followed in 1912 and also printed news for a time, though it shifted to a literary publication and has remained so today.
First printed in 1915, the Xavierian News began as a newsletter for the evening college of the university, the College of Commerce, Finance and Journalism. The publication printed information about which students were enrolled in which classes, jokes, poems and student griping about various classes, a far stretch from journal-ism in the early days. It took at least five years before the publication be-came a more serious news source for students.
The student newspaper took on big tasks in the next decade, advocating for a dormitory on campus and against the college changing its name, (both successfully), and for the correct pronunciation of “Xavier” (which is still met with mixed results).
By 1925, the newspaper was published weekly instead of bimonthly, a publication schedule still utilized today. It also held a contest to name the athletic teams of the college and settled on the “Musketeers” and the corresponding motto “All for one and one for all.” The name stuck.
It remained focused narrowly on student life until the end of the decade, when it endorsed Ohio gubernatorial candidate Myers Cooper in 1928, an act that landed the candidate in trouble with opponents. The Xaverian News became fuel for Protestant enemies,
who reprinted the front page tribute with the added word “CATHOLIC” to the masthead. The News invited disaster with its first foray into politics, but Myers won the election anyway.
Following Xavier’s name change in 1930 to Xavier University, the Xavierian News became the Xavier University News in 1937.
As World War II picked up, the administration halted publication, but students decided to keep writing. Starting in 1943, they printed a news-letter, Xavier News: a Student Publication, which was distributed to students, alumni and Xavier community members in the military.
After the war, in March 1946, the Xavier University News resumed pub-lication. The first ever April Fools edition was published in 1949 and it is still published today. (Years later, in 1984, the April Fools edition was found to be so provocative by admin-istrators that it was suspended for one year.)
In the 1950s and 1960s, students became politically active. The News first supported McCarthyism and lat-er wrote against the war in Vietnam. They advocated for solidarity with mi-grant workers here on campus through boycotts of grapes and lettuce. They also advocated for the presence of women on campus, a goal that was achieved with women attending the evening college beginning in 1960 and women moving on campus in 1969 to the top two floors of Kuhlman Hall. (Fr. Al Bischoff, S.J., better known as Fr. B., spent time as their “guardian angel,” allowing them to feel safer on campus.)
The paper changed its name to the Newswire in September 1985, but not before it printed an article in March that year reporting the freezing of faculty salaries, which eventually led to the ouster of President, Fr. Charles Currie, S.J. by the Board of Trustees.
The Newswire finally printed in color for the first time in 2007 and launched a website in the same decade.
It is not always a gripping history, I can admit, especially when one attempts to pull it all together in one place. However, it cannot be denied that the student newspaper has had an unforgettable impact on Xavier’s campus, often for the better.
My sincerest appre-ciation goes to the staffs of years past, who have preserved the happenings here for years to come, to my own staff for their patience and to Roger Fortin for his book “To See Great Wonders: A History of Xavier University,” which has been an immense help.
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