Through the 1930s and into the 1940s, President John Morrison and Dean Russel Olt had experienced frustrations with an unoffical student paper, the Orange and Black. The administration did not like the lack of direct control of the publication and its contents. This gave President Morrison and Dean Olt reservations when the conversation of a new, official student paper came to their desks. They did not want to be bothered with this sort of thing.
In the 1946 school year things were changing a bit. John Morrison was on sick leave, his adamant voice of opposition to the newspaper was temporarily gone. The acting president, Morrison’s brother Earl Martin, was much more open to a student led, but faculty advised, newspaper. Further, Robert Reardon had just come in as an assistant to the president and was looking at expanding the college’s experiential learning. In the middle of the 1946-47 school year, the college gave the green light for the beginning of an official student led newspaper if three conditions could be met. First, the papers could not be printed on campus; therefore, the students had to find an external company to print the paper for no more than $15. Second, the new paper had to have 400 one-dollar subscriptions for the second semester (Spring of 1947). Third, getting funds for the paper could not rely extensively on advertising because the college was beginning fundraising campaigns to upgrade campus infrastructure. The administration did not want to flood potential donors with lots of different fundraising campaigns.
A newspaper staff had not been established yet, so friends Melvin Goerz and Kenneth Hall began the process of meeting the college’s requirements. They found a printer in Fortville, Indiana who was willing to print the paper for $15. Even though he would operate at a loss, he did it because he speculated that he might attract more college printing to blossom into something more for him. After securing printing, Goerz and Hall were able to set up a table at Spring Semester registration in the old gym (now Byrum Hall), and sell 400 subscriptions; therefore, avoiding any necessity for advertising. The college’s requirements had been met, so Goerz and Hall set up a staff and began to get the paper out. Under the suggestion of Hall, it was named The Andersonian.
The goal of the Andersonain was to create a record of what’s going on in the life of the college. It was not intended to be a student voice on influencing policy. The layout of the early Andersonian editions follow the same basic format as today’s editions. The front page was mostly straight news. The second page was student written and edited editorials. The third page had announcements about engagement parties and other social events. The fourth page provided a weekly round-up of sporting events. Like most student publications, the Andersonain has caused grief for the administration, but for the most part, the Andersonain has worked well with the college. The most significant problems the administration has run into with the student-led paper is the pushing of social boundaries.
Since 1947, the Andersonain has been publishing regularly. The newspaper is extremely valuable to the history of the University because it is a record of hundreds of small, yet notable, events in the life of Anderson University.
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