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Opinion

The Student Voice celebrates 100 years of student journalism

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December 15, 2016

A century ago, the Student Voice was created. In the last issue of 2016, we look back at the 100-year-old newspaper and how it has changed, what is has gone through and why the tradition of university newspapers is so important.

In the spring of 1916, the Student Voice was started by a group of students as simply a junior class project. The paper at the time was a folded sheet of paper, about 8 by 10 inches in size and was printed in the school’s print shop, with all the type set by hand and all the content written by the editor. In January of 1917, the Student Voice was accepted as the school newspaper, but received no financial aid and cost two cents a copy.

As you read this in our eight-page newspaper, it is clear that a lot of things have changed throughout the 100 years that the Student Voice has been serving the community, with many different focuses and looks. From the professional and clean-cut look of the 1930s, the unconventional look of the 1970s and where we are now, each batch of students brought its own unique personalities and voices to the Student Voice, leaving a permanent footprint on the history of the university.

Of course, like any newspaper, the Student Voice has faced some challenges throughout the years. The newspaper has experienced massive budget cuts, attacks from student government and even a rival newspaper called the “Stupid Vice” when students believed that the Student Voice was not representing their voices.

Through all of this, however, this longstanding tradition of free speech and student journalism has prevailed, and will hopefully continue to thrive as long as UWRF is still standing.

As the editor-in-chief of the 2016-2017 Student Voice, I feel an immense sense of pride as I take a stroll back in history to see the work of the editors before me. I have been involved with the Student Voice for four years, first as a columnist, then a page editor, then assistant editor and now as the editor and reporter. The Student Voice means so much to me, and I am thrilled that I was here for the 100th year and that I am able to make my mark on a century-long tradition.

Looking through the archived newspapers that spans 100 years, one can see the history of UW-River Falls and the River Falls community as a whole and feel a sense of pride to see the work of countless students who committed themselves to the truth and spent hours upon hours working to put out something that they could be proud of.

The university and the Student Voice have come a long way since 1916, and will continue to grow and change as time goes on. What won’t change, however, is the need of students to find the truth and make their voices heard. The Student Voice is the place for such students, and I will always be proud of that.

Natalie Howell is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during the 2016-2017 academic year.