During Finals, Make Time to Destress

 

For more than a century, The Arkansas Traveler has been serving the UA campus as an independent student publication, providing students with a news outlet that strives for honest and objective reporting.

Formerly known as The University Weekly, the Traveler started out as a tabloid, a single copy costing five cents. A subscription for a year cost $1. In 1920, after a contest for a new name for the newspaper in which names such as “Who-e-e Pig” and “Razorback Hunt” were submitted, The Arkansas Traveler won. 

The Traveler, although it may have changed throughout the years­—from tabloid to broadsheet, from a weekly to a daily, from one editor to the next—its core motto remains the same—“About you, for you”.

As journalists, though times and mediums may change, our job is to accurately cover every inch of our city, the University of Arkansas, and report from all angles.

As I researched the history of the paper, it was interesting what sorts of obstacles previous Traveler staffs faced during their times including wars, racial issues and new technology.

During WWI, the staff had to stop the publication in the fall of 1918 because of paper shortages, but resumed at the beginning of 1919.

In the 1930s, The Arkansas Traveler had financial challenges. The editor of that year, Johnny Erp, had agreed to forgo his $300 salary if need be to help the Traveler continue publication. Staff members worked other jobs, “waiting tables, sweeping floors and stoking coal furnaces,” according to former editor Charles Alison’s thesis.

In 1948, the Traveler reported on the first African American, Silas Hunt, to be admitted in the UA Law School. In the editorial of the following edition, the editor wrote that The Traveler board favored the decision made. Despite this “favored decision,” however, African Americans were rarely mentioned in the paper in the years following Hunt’s admission.

In the 1960s, Traveler staff members increased their coverage of worldwide events, including controversial issues such as the Arkansas’ abortion laws and the Vietnam War. 

Even in recent times, these trends continue. We have covered the 9/11 attacks, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, both countries in which UA students have served and the economic recession. We also made the switch from print to web. 

As I declared print journalism as my major freshman year, people repeatedly told me that I was going into a dying field. 

I knew then and I know now, that print journalism will never die, as long as journalists continue with their devotion to the field. 

And devotion best sums up the editors and staff members of The Arkansas Traveler throughout time. Every staff has been dedicated to continue the tradition of The Traveler and to create a legacy to leave behind for the years to come. 

When I first came on staff as a freshman reporter, the paper printed three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A year later, in part because of the economic recession, the paper became a weekly, publishing every Wednesday. The editorial staff concentrated on the online articles, which came out daily. However, this year, we have made the switch back to being a daily and publishing Monday-Thursday. Although many studies show that people have left papers for the online versions, we believe that no Apple device, smart phone or computer can replace the feeling of the slightly rough newspaper held between our fingers as we flip through the pages, digesting the news and photography.

The birthday issue is dedicated to the remembrance of all the editions of The Traveler and in honor of the hard work throughout the years. I am honored to be part of this tradition and hope that after my name goes onto the wooden plaque of Traveler editor’s hanging outside the Traveler office, there will be many more to come, who carry on the legacy of perseverance and hard work and continue to build the paper on the foundation of truth. 

 

Saba Naseem is the 2011-2012 Traveler editor. 

 

 

 

 

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