Daily Histories: Greenlee School’s centennial Iowa State Daily: A History

Iowa State Daily histories

1901: I.S.C. Student editorial

1965: 75th anniversary section

1990: The 100-Year Book

• 2005: Greenlee School centennial

Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication celebrated its centennial in 2005 and to commemorate the milestone, the department put together a website to celebrate its history, share stories and photos, connect with alumni, and sell some merch. The site, which can still (somewhat) be found here, included a detailed history of the Iowa State Daily with a section dedicated to each decade.

The version that appears here has been slightly edited to a cohesive style. The original was done in student teams, and the style of the publication name could slightly vary from one to another.

Iowa State Daily: A History

Behavioral scientists — and Iowa State has plenty of them — haven’t yet determined what makes us do it. “It” is the production of the Iowa State Daily, 115 years old this year. When something turns 115, there’s a tendency to wonder how things used to be, particularly at a place where people are in the door one second and out it another and staffers last, at most, six years (like a certain recent editorial cartoonist). That’s the purpose of this history project you’re reading now.

From the most pure, heart-wrenching decisions about ethical journalism to the most mundane, maddening, deadline-smashing crises with technology, employees of the student-run Iowa State Daily have seen and done it all. Today, the paper involves a 24-hour news cycle, online and printed publications and a $1.5 million budget. To keep up, reporters work their beats from dawn to dusk (and beyond, in the case of a Veishea riot or two).

Why’d we all do it? I tend to think it’s in part because of a deep-seated love for Iowa State University. Certainly the higher calling of journalism has something to do with it. We all want jobs when we leave. And putting out a paper is the most fun you can legally have with … oops, sorry, that newsroom-speak probably isn’t appropriate for this forum. From Beardshear to Geoffroy, from Old Main to Hoover Hall, from Jack Trice to Bret Meyer, this is the history of the Iowa State Daily.

Lucas Grundmeier
2004-05 Iowa State Daily editor in chief


Shortcuts: 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s


1890s

Team: Amy Herridge, Ashley Metz, Phil Storm, Kathy Summy (captain)

In the spring of 1890, a group of students at Iowa Agricultural College, led by F.E. Davidson, began printing a news sheet titled the Clipper. “The students did this on their own initiative, and without support from college officials.” This publication soon led to the creation of the Iowa Agricultural College Student, and the beginnings of what would one day become the Iowa State Daily.

Davidson was an interesting character. In 1888, Davidson was one of 150 students expelled because of rioting by students who opposed secret societies. According to ISU’s Greek Affairs Web site, the riots of May 25, 1888, included the breaking of windows in the chemical and physical building. “Cyanogen gas in combination with carbon bisulphide was liberated in the lower halls for the purpose of driving the societies from the room,” reported the Des Moines Register. Davidson was arrested on May 30 for organizing the riot and was expelled from IAC. He was readmitted a year later and helped found the I.A.C. Student.

During its first few years of publication, the I.A.C. Student was published on a bi-weekly basis until 1894 when it became a weekly newspaper. The newspaper publication schedule followed the school terms, which typically lasted from the beginning of March to June and late July to November. The I.A.C. Student was financed by both subscriptions – 50 cents per term and 5 to 10 cents an issue, as well as advertising. Some of the most common advertisements were for the meat market, florists, hardware and laundry.

On March 15, 1897, the I.A.C. Student formally became The Student, and switched its format from eight pages to around 16 pages. The I.A.C. Student newspaper staff was made up completely of I.A.C. students. Editors were not designated for specific sections, such as Alumni or Athletics, until 1895.

The I.A.C. Student was not really focused on hard news, but rather personals, editorial-based stories, literary pieces and athletic news. Some of the sections included local, alumni and society news. These featured very personal tidbits, such as, “Miss Lottie Laybourn spent Sunday and last week in Des Moines, where she met her sister and attended the Fair.”

Almost all pieces took strong editorial stances, either re-directing wrongs or encouraging students to be more diligent in their studies. In an article titled “Students, what are you here for,” the paper told them to “make the best of your time while here … you are working for your own good.”

Athletics, especially baseball and football, were emphasized at I.A.C. These programs began to be more developed at the college during the mid-1890s. A major story in the November 10, 1896, I.A.C. Student was when the college beat Grinnell to win the state football championship. The newspaper proclaimed that the team’s opponents that year had been “left in the path of the ‘Iowa Cyclones.'”

1900s

Team: Andrew Killinger, Morgan Ginther, Leann Mears, Sam Robinson, Melanie Snow, Marisa Stadlman, Lucas Grundmeier

The first 10 years of the 20th Century brought great change to Iowa State College, and these changes were presented to the student body by the school newspaper, the Iowa State Student. From fires to deaths of presidents, ISC met great change and sorrow, inevitably strengthening the structure on which the institution was founded.

In 1902, a front-page headline of the first edition of the Iowa State Student was “Services in Honor of Our Departed President Dr. W. M. Beardshear.” William Beardshear was the president of Iowa State College for 11 years before he passed away Aug. 5, 1902. During his memorial service, he was remembered for his ability to lead the college to academic achievement in agriculture, engineering and veterinary medicine. The Central Building, built in 1908, was renamed Beardshear Hall in 1938.

On this spot originally rested the Old Main building. In December 1900 the campus landscape was changed when two-thirds of the building burnt down, leaving many students briefly homeless. On Dec. 10, 1900, The Student reported on this event as being a loss of $100,000, having called the horse-drawn fire fighters from Boone. The building was permanently destroyed in 1902 from another fire while it was under repair.

During this time, the United States felt a great loss as well. On Sept. 6, 1901, the assassination of President William McKinley brought the entire nation to its knees. Following the event there was a short paragraph in the Saturday issue of The Student explaining what happened. There were three more articles on President McKinley, one reporting his death, another borrowing a eulogy from a Des Moines newspaper and the third giving a tribute to McKinley along with his memorial service itinerary.

There were high times as well. Sports became an important story in the newspaper. Football and baseball were at the cornerstone of the ISC sports community for many years, but there was soon a new comer to the sports frenzy. The Student reported on the new big phenomenon sweeping campuses around the nation – basketball. Although the game had been organized on campuses nationwide, Iowa State College was slow to jump onto the bandwagon. With the help of the paper publishing stories with headlines like “Basket Ball All The Rage,” students discovered the sport and headed out to the armory building to learn how to play. Most games were class competitions between the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. However, a varsity team was organized and played two games.

1910s

Team: Joe Crimmings, Jenna Jones, Luke Jennett, Clark Middleton, Zach Peterson, Melissa Rogers, Bill Scieszinski, Candace Cornick (captain)

In 1910, Iowa State was a college that was preparing itself for change. Its official newspaper, the Iowa State Student, would be buffeted by changes as the decade passed.

As the decade began, editors of the paper issued a stern rebuke to the designers and operators of the college railway, which opponents maintained was a hazard to student pedestrians.

“Wanted – someone to spank the college railway,” read an editorial in the May 23, 1910, edition. “We hardly dare print profanity, but if any of our readers can write something which might cut somewhat into the hide of the management, we would be glad to give them space in our columns.”

However, this was a much shaper tone than most of the issues of The Student embraced. Throughout the decade, the paper was more likely to run encouraging sports features and positive reports on school developments. Bad news and critical reporting were rare.

In 1912-13, The Student took on the issues of a campus-wide smoking ban and a motion by the board of education to eliminate the college for Home Economics.

However, by the beginning of the 1914-15 academic year these things had given way to a frantic focus on Iowa State football. The first issue of The Student featured two articles on the front page about the team and its chances for the year.

In 1914, major change occurred for the staff of The Student. Starting that year, a front-page notice blared that The Student would publish three issues a week, as opposed to two. This would require a significant amount of effort on behalf of the staff. The major issue was the extra $1,000 a year required to fulfill the promise.

It was a promise made by the editorial staff the previous spring, apparently due in part to the demand to have Sunday coverage of Iowa State football games. At the time, the games were a staple of life on campus.

The Student was available by subscription and purchase only, and the front-page bulletin declared that the service would only be possible with 2,000 total subscriptions to the paper. An issue taken up during the course of the year clearly illustrates the paper’s relationship with the university, and in particular the administrative heads of the college.

The paper’s status as a clearinghouse for favorable reports about university life is confirmed by an item in the Feb. 18, 1915 edition, in which the then president Pearson met with editors with concerns about the coverage in the paper. In a story titled, “Tells Student Paper to Protect Readers,” Pearson reportedly sat in an editorial meeting with the paper’s staff and outlined his perspective on the matter of the Student’s scope.

It is unclear what caused this intervention by the president. It is only clear that he suggested to editors that they be careful about what they allow to run in the paper, which, he told them, represents the college. He reportedly gave several helpful tips for “better serving the interests of college.” He called for the staff to protect readers from stories, sources and letters that could contain misstatements of facts or dangerous ideas.

He also suggested changing the publication board, adding students so the composition would be two faculty members and six to eight students. This board, he suggested, should have complete control over the editorial and business content of the paper.

What is perhaps most surprising is that the editors seemed only too happy to take on these extra restrictions. This suggests that the concept of journalism as a watchdog for the public was non-existence in Ames at the time.

By 1918, the newspaper’s size decreased to four pages after having been an eight-page rag for several years. The war caused the staff to cut back its output.

The Student of the 1910s provides a stark contrast to the contemporary student paper and paints a picture of the time in which these old four- and eight-page issues were published. It was a time when the student body was unified in its love of football and civility, and when journalism had not yet begun to become as institutionalized as a profession as it is today.

International news did not get much coverage. The favored news items generally included local events such as a coal strike that would later threaten to shut down the college and an outbreak of influenza.

1920s

Team: Ava Brannon, Ed Clark, Keith DuCharme, Karissa Lohf, Emily Oliver, Melissa Rogers, Machaela Morrissey (captain)

Reporting on college athletics, sorority and fraternity life, and campus activities on nearly a daily basis, The Student was an Iowa State student’s source of information on current campus events. Unlike the student publications of today, however, The Student appears to have little focus on news outside of campus. With rare mention of any city, state, national or world events, the Iowa State Student was closed off from the outside world.

After World War I ended, students at Iowa State College felt the need to build a memorial to commemorate their fellow students who had died in the war. After initial concepts for the memorial building were discussed and planned, the project launched in 1920. The Student followed the progress of the building campaign closely.

Early issues of the Student in the 1920-1921 school year featured articles on student union facilities at other institutions. Each article had a tone of admiration, inspiring Student readers to want their own such building on the Iowa State College campus. Many front-page articles throughout the school year blatantly urged – sometimes even demanded – students to donate money to the memorial building fund. The fundraising efforts continued into the next school year. 

The paper was dominated by campus events all year long. The only national story was a running collection about trade agreements with Britain and Japan, but the biggest event at Iowa State came in the spring. This academic year marked the beginning of the annual spring campus event, Veishea. The paper focused heavily not on previewing the event, but giving the celebration full coverage, talking to students, faculty and alumni in separate articles.

The 1923 school year was a devastating one for the students, faculty and community. Jack Trice, who was Iowa State’s first African American athlete, was killed in a football game against Minnesota on Oct. 8, 1923. The Student reported on his death, funeral and even printed the letter Trice had written the night before from his hotel room. This was the first time an Iowa State athlete had been killed in an intercollegiate competition. He suffered injuries during the first half of the game when he broke his collarbone and then was thrown on his back and trampled on by three Minnesota players in the third quarter. He died in a hospital from internal injuries.       

In 1924, a reoccurring topic in the Iowa State Student was the fundraising efforts made by students to open the Memorial Union. This support and encouragement continued into the latter part of the decade. In 1927, with few years of fundraising the building began construction. 

On April 26, 1927, John P. Wallace, president of the Memorial Union, mounted the steam shovel on the union Site and scooped the first wagon load of dirt from the basement. This marked the signing of the general contract for the Memorial Union. The Iowa State Student covered this story as well as others on the progress and set-backs in the building of The Memorial Union. Many Iowa State faculty and students worked hard in ensuring the completion of the Union. It is evident that the building of the Union had quite an impact on the community. Iowa State students made lifetime pledges that kept the construction of the Union in progress. This gave the students a sense of responsibility that brought the tight knit community even closer. This sense of community was reflected in issues of The Student throughout 1927 and 1928.

The 1920s were a time of prosperity and wealth, but on Oct. 24, 1929, the stock market crashed, leaving many Americans broke and panicked. The Iowa State Student did not cover the economic uncertainty. A person reading the Iowa State Student newspaper at the time would have no idea of this, though, as the paper conveyed a quiet life that was unaffected by this event.

One of the larger events that took place during this year was the dedication of the new campanile bells. This dedication ceremony was for the 26 new bells that were imported from England. Edgar Stanton, dean of junior college, donated the first 10 bells in memory of his wife Margaret. They were valued at $50,000. To recognize this event, Iowa State invited everyone from across Iowa to attend. It was held at the Iowa State campanile and was broadcast by the student radio station, WOI. Auton Brees, an internationally known carillonneur, played the new bells for the first time at the ceremony.

1930s

Team: Lindsay Green, Emily Oliver, Carrie Rosman, Hwajung Song, Kyle Williams, Aaron Butzen (captain)

The Student of the 1930s read more like a detailed bulletin board than like a newspaper. Initially published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the Student seemed to know of and report on every event and occurrence that went on at Iowa State, from sporting events to small group meetings to fraternity parties. However, stories concerning major news events were noticeably absent from the paper during the 1930s.

If the editors of the Student didn’t try to keep their readers well informed, they at least tried to keep them literate. In addition to the regular essays published in the paper and a sporadic section of student literary works called “The Undergraduate Portfolio,” The Student also occasionally contained a supplement titled The Literary Student. This supplement was printed on smaller newsprint than the newspaper itself and contained works of poetry and prose.

Although many current events of the time weren’t reflected in The Student, social attitudes were. In pictures of Iowa State sports teams from the 1930s, every player on every team is white, and the paper often made a distinction when a subject of the story was a minority, such as the following quote from 1931: “Jerry Hayes, a popular colored band of Des Moines, furnished the music.”

The paper also reflects different, almost condescending attitudes towards women, such as in a 1938 headline that reads: “Sage Predicts 1850 New Undergrads: Nice School, Nice Girls – Freshmen.” An article from the same year is entirely about how Michigan State debaters think the girls are better looking at Iowa State – an absurd newspaper topic today. A quote from a source in the story reads: “Take that precious creation in pink over there – I’ve never seen anything of the sort at Ann Arbor.”

The Student changed its name to the Iowa State Daily Student in 1938 and for the first time began publishing five times a week, excluding Sundays and Mondays. The paper also underwent design changes in this same year.

1940s

Team: Catie Maloney, Ji Eun Lee, Patrick Roberts, Jennifer Bertling, Amy Darnell, Camden Ackerman (captain)

World War II caused a number of changes in the Student. In the 1930s, the newspaper consisted of eight pages per issue, but in the early 1940s it shrunk to four pages. This was the result of financial problems at the college because of the war effort. 

In 1942-43, the editors focused on that. Nearly every part of the newspaper had some link to it, whether it was advertising or stories about the war effort on campus. There were sections of the paper added because of the war. “War Detail,” by Marion Loofe, detailed the efforts being made by students to help with the war effort. A section called “Iowa State Men in the Services” began appearing Nov. 12, 1942.

In 1943-1945, the Iowa State Daily Student started to largely cover women in the paper. A new section titled “Women in Society,” became a part of every issue, along with headline stories focusing on women. Some other features that were introduced were wedding stories, retirement of female faculty, sorority initiations, and even decorations of residence halls. This shift in the paper occurred because a lot of males students had gone to fight the war and more women were attending Iowa State.

When World War II ended in 1945, the paper focused on entertainment around campus. Stories were about Veishea, campus events and student-faculty awards. On April 13, 1945, the newspaper featured a whole front-page story on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death. 

In 1946 and ’47 the paper took a few changes in the format. The paper still consisted of four pages. However, some of the stories were written more for a wider public, not just the students. More local and national news were featured along with politics around campus and nationally. The section that was had been titled “Women in the News” had changed its name to “The Feminine Side.”

A huge decision was announced on June 8, 1947. The Iowa State Daily Student would change its name to the Iowa State Daily. Lee Schwanz, the editor at the time, observed that the campus had a whole new generation of students who had gone off to war all over the world. These men who fought in Europe and the Pacific, and Schwanz thought the paper out to include international, national, state and local news. Many of them were now in college because of the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which made college education affordable.

In 1949, the paper took a steady break from the normal way in which the paper was conducted. As the year went on, panic slowly began to grip the nation and the Iowa State campus. The coverage of the Cold War increased as the nation began to deal with the security threat posed by the Soviet Union.

1950s

Team: Nathaniel Knutson, Erin McCuskey, Katie Piepel, Janet Schenk, Christina Thomas, Chris Mackey (captain)

The Iowa State Daily was largely void of hard news issues during the 1950s. Despite important national and world issues such as the Korean War and the Cold War, the Daily focused largely on soft news events. The cover of the Daily was generally full of briefs and university announcements. In fact, the paper even seemed to be viewed as a university bulletin board by students of the time, as noted in a March 23, 1950 editorial: “There have been charges in the past that the Daily is a ‘mouthpiece’ for the administration. This is not true. On various occasions, the Daily has attacked the administration for its policies that have seemed contrary to your best interests.”

In searching the paper, there were very few instances in which it appeared as though the Daily “attacked” the administration. The editorial went on, however, to state that the editorial intent of the paper was meant to justify the highly internal focus of the news content: “It is also our aim to find praiseworthy objects and issues wherever and whenever possible. We feel that this is especially important in this world of today where men are constantly finding fault with each other.”

During the 1951-1952 school year, the Daily gained nationwide attention for one story.

“We did something that K.R. Marvin, head of the department, said was one of the greatest things The Daily ever did,” said Don Muhm, editor of the Iowa State Daily during the 1951-1952 school year. “We had a World Peace Contest.”

Muhm said the Daily asked students to submit an essay in which they wrote what they would do to further world peace. The Dec. 12, 1951 issue of the newspaper included a two-page spread of the top three winners’ essays as well as excerpts from other entries and a “meet the judges” article. The winner of the contest was Richard Stanley, whose essay was published in the Post-Dispatch in St. Louis as well as The Christian Science Monitor. Muhm also said The Chicago Tribune was interested in printing it, but he doesn’t know if that paper ever did.

In 1953, Iowa State College gained national attention again, but this time for riots caused by the loss of a Monday holiday in late October. The riots were covered in Life Magazine.

In 1954-55, a story addressed the threat and changes brought by communism. The article was titled “Says We Must Keep Alert…Polish Escapee a Student Here.” Vladimir Dvorak escaped the Iron Curtain with his young wife in 1952. He had powerful comments in the article: “Americans are rushing madly through life in pursuit of the dollar and are failing to observe the world crisis of spreading Communism.” Dvorak continued: “Seeing through the eyes of a European, it appears that many of the people in this country are interested in two things-money and automobiles. They seem to have little time for their neighbor, much less the rest of the world.” Dvorak made some cogent observations. However, he didn’t want to be interpreted as anti-American. He continued to say that he had applied for citizenship and would, without the least hesitation, put his life on the line for this country in the face of a communist threat.

News in the Iowa State Daily covered Women’s Day on Feb. 4, 1958. Women were let out of class early so that they could attend lectures and activities throughout the day. Many outstanding women scholars were also presented with awards for their achievements. The Iowa State Daily celebrated this day by having an all female staff. For this event, the paper also concentrated more on stories concerning women. Two headlines of interest were “Women Find Careers in Scientific Fields” and “Sports, Dance Interest Jan.” The former headline shows a change in why women came to college. During this time, many women attended college to get an education and to meet their future husband. They would then get married, have a family and never use their education again. This headline hints that women would start going to college to get an education and enter the work force. The latter headline is of interest because it is the only mention of women in the sports section of the Daily during this time period.

Queen contests did not only make headlines on the front pages, they also made their way into the editorial pages of the Iowa State Daily. Editorial writer Thomas Emmerson wrote an editorial titled “Campus Queen Contests Need a Thorough Evaluation.” This editorial was brought up because not only were women starting to run campaigns, but others were taking it as far as stuffing ballot boxes so their candidate would win. Even though Emmerson, later a journalism professor at Iowa State, wrote that he would like to see the contests discontinued, he realized that he was in the minority on this topic. He instead urged the Cardinal Guild to look into how the queen contests were run. He even offered suggestions like having Homecoming queen nominations come from men’s residences instead of women’s residences.

In the end of his editorial, Emmerson summed up his thoughts and announced a change by writing, “We think queens are an unnecessary aspect of college life. With this in mind the Daily will adopt a new policy starting this fall. We will…print pictures of only the Homecoming queen, Veishea queen and Bomb’s beauties. We hope the day will come when queen contests become so numerous that ‘everyone’s a monarch’ and the whole business disintegrates.”

Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union, visited Iowa State Sept. 23, 1959. His tour was not without protest. David Pate, furniture store manager form Denver and chairman of Committee Freedom for All Peoples, wanted to stage a peaceful protest against Soviet Premiere. He was organizing local groups all across the country in every city he visited to stage their own protests. Pate called Khrushchev “A Master Salesman of Atheism.” On the day of his visit the Daily ran a headline in Russian saying “To Mr. Khrushchev.”

Also in 1959, Albert Robinson, a graduate student and assistant in the Psych department was hired by the athletic department to tutor athletes in a Psych 104 help class. After being needled by some of the athletes, he revealed one answer off of the final exam and then talked about 10 concepts from his notes that closely resembled questions from the final and another 27 that showed signs of similarity. A Daily reporter who posed as a basketball player discovered him. In the end, Robinson had his assistantship taken away but was allowed to continue his studies in psychology.

During the 1950s, the Daily maintained a similar appearance. The “Socially Speaking” section contained engagement and wedding notices, parties, sorority-fraternity events and church notes. It also contained “The Women’s Pages,” published up to three times weekly. This feature frequently focused on advice for “young men,” which advised them to determine what type of wife a woman would be by becoming well acquainted with her mother. It also contained information on women’s sports, which sports department rarely covered.

The editorial section usually blended into the news section. It sometimes was longer, and sometimes was missing completely. The editorials were generally meant to be humorous, with titles like, “Combating Sophmoritis.” This section always included a column called “Ballytrot,” which was made up of random musings “From the Wastebasket,” jokes and riddles.

1960s

Team: Amy Boruff, Stephanie Loiacono, Brett Myers, Jessics Strieper, Adam Vos (captain)

During the sixties, the Daily endured a decade of war, confusion, love, experimentation, rebellion and, ultimately, social change. The publication struggled to maintain a sense of neutrality, saturating itself with the fads and crazes of the time.

The Daily started the 1960s by promising to devote more time to national and international news. This was initiated by the thought that students often relied on the Daily despite availability of other papers. The Daily frequently devoted time during the fall quarter of 1960 to covering election polls and candidate visits to the state.

The first major story of the decade was the appearance on campus of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union on Jan. 22, 1960. King delivered a speech titled “Moral Challenge of a New Age” to an overflow crowd of more than 1,500, almost all of them white. The Atlanta minister, who ate dinner with the Delta Delta Delta sorority the night of his speech, said: “The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slave from slavery, and established him as a legal fact, but not as a man.” King also spoke the next day, at the MU’s gallery.

The Daily, still heavily covering local and campus news, often exhibited a style of campus news much different from what you would find today. In 1960 it was common for the Daily to report events that would today be considered campus gossip. The Daily would report couples that were pinned, that is, when the male in the couple would give the female his fraternity pin as a sign of affection.

In the mid-1960s, the Daily covered Lyndon Johnson as president, go-go dancers as Ames’ latest fad, a 107-minute space walk and repeated visits by Juanita Castro, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s sister. Fashion talk found its way into the newspaper, discussing new fashion trends at length. Entire issues were dedicated to fashion and beauty for the fall and spring in 1966. Churches dominated the ads in the paper in September of 1966. The Daily featured ads for “The Bomb” yearbook, reminding students to pick up a copy.

The mid-1960s also brought sexism and racism into the spotlight at the Daily. During 1965 and 1966, the paper covered numerous stories about the life of college women. Stories focused on women as the object of beauty contests. Other articles focused on women who had become victim to rape or harassment.

Racism was a constant issue as well. The paper contained many stories about more blacks becoming students at ISU. In 1968, the paper extensively covered grievances by the Black Student Organization, which complained of racism towards blacks on campus, including in the athletic department.

Sports was covered intensely by the Daily during the early 1960s. The football team achieved a 7-3 record in the Big 8 Conference. The Daily would often devote two whole pages in an eight-page publication to the football team.

Interestingly, sports coverage bled into the editorial section of the publication, offering the first-hand perspective of Joy Cassill, a female sports reporter covering football with all-male colleagues. Cassill’s column ended with her being disappointed that she could not go into the locker room like her male counterparts to interview players. This predated the debate over female sports reporters in the men’s locker room.

Many namesakes that we recognize today were active in the mid sixties. Robert Parks, after whom Iowa State’s library is now named, was president. Virgil Lagomarcino was the first dean of the new College of Education. Barbara Forker was head of the Department of Physical Education.

During the late sixties, the paper changed its logo from a clean-cut Times New Roman font to a bubbly Arial logo. The placement of the title also varied throughout the school year during the late sixties. Sometimes it was found near the middle of the page; at other times, near the top, as we would expect today. During the ’60s, the Daily continued a practice of publishing Monday through Saturday, often heavily devoting a thinner Saturday newspaper to the football team. Most news stories did not include bylines.

The late ’60s brought to the Daily an era of change and rebellion. While professors debated the legalization of marijuana, students formed resistance movements in opposition to the draft and the war in Vietnam.

Toward the beginning of the 1968 school year, the Daily devoted multi-part stories chronicling the violent riot that occurred at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

The Iowa State Organization of the Resistance, led by three ISU students, took part in the national resistance movement in 1967. The Daily reported that “The resistance is a group of men who are bound together by one single and clear commitment: on October 16 we will hand in our draft cards and refuse any further cooperation with the Selective Service System.” The Daily filled the front page with a story covering twenty-eight members of the ISU community accepting draft cards and then turning them in to support non-violent resistance to the draft.

Further change on the ISU campus included the first female GSB president, Mary Lou Lifka, who preceded “bearded, motorcycle riding GSB president, Don Smith.” Smith, a member of Students for a Democratic Society, was a radical who would eventually become a national expert on wind-powered energy. Smith, who didn’t like wearing socks and was therefore known as the “Sockless Rebel,” wanted a student bill of rights. The GSB president told the Daily that he had used marijuana, and that caused a major stir on campus. After only 40 days in office, Smith boarded his motorcycle and drove to California, thus ending his reign as GSB leader. Smith’s tenure ushered in a period of student activism and dissent. Iowa State would never quite be the same.

1970s

Team: Jess Jochims, Randy Webb, Beth Wolfswinkel, Christy Hemken (captain)

During the 1970s, the Daily’s reporting followed the boundary-pushing nationwide social climate. The book America in the Seventies states that during the 1970s “censorship laws were struck down, sex districts in cities flourished, and heterosexual couples flocked to X-rated movies.” Following this trend, issues such as drugs, sex and women’s rights were among those covered in Iowa State’s student newspaper.

The Daily faithfully followed the rapidly developing trends and belief systems of the 1970’s, following and documenting the campus through such things as Nixon’s election and the lowering of the legal drinking age. With the onset of marijuana’s popularity, the Daily was right there, conducting a poll that found that one in three ISU students had at least tried the popular plant.

During the sexual changes of the decade and the strengthening of feminism and the Women’s Libertarian Movement, the Daily maintained a cutting edge and was sure to report campus events and beliefs pertaining to the cause. Many articles were printed having to do with alternate sexuality, lesbianism and abortion.

In April of 1970, athletics and racism came to a head, when ISU wrestlers started a fight with black students at the Red Ram. The Daily reported the actual accounts “of two black and three white observers.” It appears that Chuck Jean, ISU wrestler and a national champion, approached a black student at the bar and tried to pick a fight, although future Olympic champion Dan Gable intervened.

Following the fight, a statement was issued from Roy Snell, president of the Black Student Organization. It stated: “There was a vicious, brutal attack on black persons around. This is a statement to all the white people on the Iowa State Campus. If any black man, black woman or black child is harassed in any way by a white person, there is going to be war up here. I mean W-A-R war.”

In 1974, The Daily sports staff had an intriguing policy of enlisting athletes to write about their own sport, such as Geery Forge, starting linebacker on the football team, who wrote game recaps in September of that year. In retrospect, Warren Madden, then the assistant vice-president for business and finance at the Daily, said that “it is not such a good idea to have a player write about his sport” because it would be “hard for [Forge] to be objective about his sport.”

Madden also said that “a lot has changed since those days. Certainly the development of Title IX has come a long way. The university expanded gender equity programs which created more women’s sports.” By 1977, the sports section began allotting much more space to women’s varsity sports.

Intramural sports enjoyed much attention in the Daily’s pages during the ’70s. Most Tuesday sports pages in 1974 were devoted to covering recent tournaments and also on Tuesday McDonald’s sponsored “The Intramural Highlights” by Rich Gill, Intramural Publicity Director. Surprisingly, most articles on the sports page were not written by Daily staff members. In effect, the newspaper was printing public relations material on its sports pages.

The need for a new campus recreational center was acknowledged. On March 13, 1975, an article containing a proposal for the new facility was published. The plethora of intramural opportunities combined with the increase in Title IX female athletes had made more athletic space a necessity and the Daily participated in the campaign for a new facility by printing articles and editorials on the subject.

Despite the lack of monumental events or controversies during the latter third of the 1970s decade, editors Tom Hanson and Jim Blume and Daily writers continued to cover the everyday news pertinent to students and those involved with Iowa State University. The staff worked hard to follow controversial or crucial issues through to their conclusions, even though this could be quite some time, as evidenced by the many issues which appeared time and again as the faculty, GSB or city council decided the next fate of ISU students.

The 1970s were a time of exploration and change and the Daily evolved with American culture, right down to a total redesign on Nov. 28, 1978, which updated and modernized the paper’s appearance. A continued free press enabled the staff to cover issues and events as they transpired.

1980s

Team: Dante Sacomani, Jason Jenny, Lauren Burt, Tom Barton (captain)

The 1980s were an eventful decade for the Iowa State Daily, beginning with a divisive conflict on the newspaper’s Publication Board and including award winning opinion writing and in-depth coverage of events.

In 1980, a religious student group on campus, ISU Bible Study, became upset with the content of The Daily, claiming it “allowed objectionable advertising and inaccurate reporting into the paper.” Members of this group served on the Daily’s Publication Board, leading some within the newspaper to worry the Daily would be taken over by religious fundamentalists. Ed Blinn, the Daily’s faculty adviser, resigned his position, citing “Continuation of the attack on the Daily by members of groups associated the ISU Bible Study.” The paper went to great lengths to separate itself from the ideologies of the Publication Board and defend its news coverage and advertising decisions. 

After intervention from the ISU Government of the Student Body, the Graduate Student Senate, two college councils, and the Sciences and Humanities Councils, the issue was settled by the creation of a code of ethics for the Daily and its Publication Board that defined the paper’s professional guidelines and basis for news judgment.

In the following years, the student paper’s coverage became like that of any other paper – it covered state, national and international issues as well as local ones, and offered robust and unfettered opinions on its editorial pages. In 1983, the Daily’s editorial board won a national award for a staff editorial calling for the university to name the football stadium after former football player Jack Trice. The editorial board took on all issues with an emphasis on pragmatism and non-partisanship. Members of the 1983 editorial board ranged from “quite conservative to quite liberal to those who hated politics altogether,” said Jeff J. Hunt, the editor in chief that year.

The opinion page handled its fair share of difficult issues through out the decade and so did the paper’s newsdesk. In 1985, the paper reported on perhaps one of the most tragic events in the school’s history. On November 26, a plane carrying five members of the women’s cross country team crashed outside Des Moines, killing all five runners along with their coach and the pilot. The story dominated the front page for the month after the event keeping the students updated on all the case’s developments. ISU President W. Robert Parks resigned several months after the crash. Parks held the university’s top post for 21 years, the longest tenure in school history.

“It was one singular moment that pulled the entire campus together,” said Finn Bullers, the year’s editor. “We had to put together a special memorial edition to help remember the students.”

In addition to the content the paper also followed the nationwide trend of taking a more visual approach, thanks in large part to the colorful, modular layouts of USA Today.

The paper’s editorials slammed students for being apathetic. Activism declined in the 1980s, and interest in student government and national and international issues waned. One thing that continued to spark students’ passions was Veishea, the annual rite of spring. In 1988, a riot occurred on Welch Avenue when students began to light couches on fire.

Another major issue for ISU’s journalism students and faculty was the duplication of the mass communication programs at Iowa State and the University of Iowa. Originally, a recommendation was made by a university committee to scrap the school of journalism and make it into a science journalism program. However, the faculty estimated that such a program would draw approximately 50 students, too few to make it worthwhile. Then the Board of Regents for the Iowa system hired an outside firm to look over the program. The outside accountants determined that the ISU program should be eliminated. Rallying behind the leadership of department chair Tom Emmerson, the program was able to save itself thanks in large part to alumni and the efforts of the Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette and other media in the state.

And Iowa State’s mass communication program remained known for producing competent journalists who have gone on to work for media organizations all over the world and who have won several Pulitzer Prizes. Later, Bob and Diane Greenlee announced they would donate $9 million to the program, and the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication was born.

1990s

Team: Nicole Bordelon, Ben Bramsen, Alison Dreeszen, Kelly Ferneding, Ashley Lamb, Courtney Stull, Erin O’Gara (captain)

Although the excesses of Veishea in the 1990s rivaled the 2004 riot that caused the celebration to be suspended for a year, Magic Johnson, the Los Angeles Laker star, contracting AIDS was the biggest story of the year. The Johnson story caused an outburst of discussion not only on the Iowa State campus but also in the country as a whole. Through constant dialogue about how HIV is contracted and how to protect against it, the AIDS epidemic permanently changed the country’s views of the disease in 1992.

Some of the events that happened in 1993-1994 that were mentioned in the newspaper included: the floods of 1993, a new top for the Campanile, the Clinton administration, ISU basketball, abortion and death penalty issues, campus diversity, Bosnia conflict, WACO stand-off, WTC bombing, and the Veishea 1994 riot. The newspaper contained so many advertisements that only a few stories would be on each page. Thus, the paper continued to grow financially.

One of the first frequently occurring stories of the year was that of several football players – and one female basketball player – who had been charged with check forgery. The reported stolen checks had been taken from Larch and Elm halls. Other big issues of this year were coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial and domestic abuse accusations against Cyclone football coach Dan McCarney. In 1995-96, the Simpson trial was covered extensively, but there was relatively little news about the Oklahoma City bombing. It is interesting that an event of this significance to the United States was relatively ignored even under the leadership of editor in chief Troy McCullough.

The most significant story to happen to the paper in the mid-1990s was the lawsuit filed against the Iowa State Daily by Partnership Press, Inc., the owner of the Ames Daily Tribune. Until this lawsuit, it was virtually unheard of for a student-run paper to be sued by a corporately run media company. The Tribune won the lawsuit, and the Daily had to stop circulating for free around town. Instead, the student paper had to be distributed for free only on campus.

The major event in the 1996-97 school years was the controversy over the renaming of the Botany Hall to Catt Hall. Carrie Chapman Catt had fought for women’s suffrage, but she was accused of making racist remarks in order to influence Southern politicians. The September 29th Movement, led by Milton McGriff, Meron Wondwosen and Allan Nosworthy, opposed naming the building after Catt. Yet it failed to persuade the administrators and the hall was not renamed. However, the September 29th Movement, using sit-ins, hunger strikes and rallies on Central Campus, raised the public dialogue on racism. The Daily ran a series of spirited editorials, op-ed columns and letters to the editor. The U.S. Justice Department briefly intervened to mediate the discussions between the administration and the Movement. In 1998-1999, editor Tara Deering, one of 19 female editors for the Daily, became the first African-American woman to serve in this capacity.

There were many changes that took place at Iowa State during the 1990s that were covered by the Daily. Iowa State expanded and evolved by the construction of Lied Recreation Center, the addition of eight international exchange and developmental programs, the dedication of Durham Center, and renaming of Cyclone Stadium in memory of Jack Trice, Iowa State’s first black student-athlete. ISU Security was renamed to the ISU Department of Public Safety and the athletic department included men’s volleyball, baseball and tennis teams, all eventual victims of Title IX. A new no-hazing law was introduced and containers and bottles were no longer allowed in Cyclone Stadium.

Coverage of national and international news was relatively minimal and was presented in brief, encapsulated form. Most often wire stories appeared on pages set aside for international news. Retired journalism professor Giles Fowler explained that the Daily did not do much with international news. What reporters would do is develop local sidebars to AP stories, where there was special Iowa or Iowa State interest. For instance, when several Asian nations were hit by severe economic setbacks, forcing some Asian students to drop out of college and return home, the Daily published a sidebar about ISU students who were facing that predicament. At another time, as Britain was pulling out of Hong Kong and transferring it to the People’s Republic of China, the Daily interviewed some ISU students from Hong Kong who were profoundly worried about the impact on their families when the Communists took over.

During the 1997 Veishea, Harold Sellers was fatally stabbed at Adelante fraternity house. After that, ISU President Martin Jischke declared that Veishea must be alcohol-free. Students reacted negatively to Jischke’s decree, but the president did not give in. The majority of student organizations decided to support Jischke rather than lose the celebration permanently.

The 1998-1999 school year was filled with local, national and international violence and controversy. The Daily staff, led by editor Tara Deering and under the guidance of faculty adviser Tom Emmerson, focused primarily on local news or local reaction to national and international stories. The major national story of the year was President Clinton’s impeachment trial. Local news focused on the battle over Jischke’s dry Veishea policy.

2000s

Team: Nicole Bordelon, Adam Calder, Brady Carney, Josie Fey (captain)

“Objectivity, that’s the old standard people thought you could reach. You can’t reach objectivity, or if you can it would be a pretty boring story.”

Mark Witherspoon, Daily Adviser

Conflict was a reoccurring theme in the first half of the 1990s. At the turn of the century, hopes were high for new beginnings, and it was evident in the Daily’s news. Grades were now being posted on Access Plus, a campus-wide intranet, instead of mailed to students, ““Next Friday”” hit the box office, and George W. Bush replaced President Bill Clinton in the White House after a narrow election in the pivotal state of Florida.

The conflict that dominated the decade occurred on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. The World Trade Center twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon building just outside Washington, D.C., were crashed into and bombed by hijacked aircrafts. More than 3,000 were wounded, killed and missing. Both towers in New York came crashing to the ground.

Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor, observed in the following days Daily: This is the biggest thing that has happened since the bombing of Pearl Harbor … During World War I, we were never attacked by enemy forces. This is an attack on the mainland, and the civilian casualties are huge.”

This issue of the Daily was the most important of the decade. It contained a timeline of events from the previous day, a picture of the towers just after the collision and editorials from various members of the community. The United States would eventually be drawn into war and, in the issues to follow, the coverage continued.

On a more local level later that school year, in February of 2002, three Daily editors were fired for posing in a picture that would be included in a satirical advertisement for “Toons,” a weekly tabloid devoted to cartoons. It was titled, ““More Nice Girls” at ISU.” The cartoon had tongue-in-cheek traits next to their names, such as editor of “obscenities and slander for” Sara Tennessen, “tomfoolery and fiction” for Valerie Dennis and “libel and maliciousness” for Wendy Weiskirchev, the three who were forced out.

Editor-in-Chief Andrea Hauser wrote in the story that announced the dismissals: “I trust the Daily staff to be up front every day with new information they present and how they represent the paper, and that’s something I have to take seriously.

“Whether or not our readers believe that [the Toons advertisement] is the truth, it does reflect on the Daily in a negative way, and it is directly attributed to them [the editors]. There’s nothing in there saying ‘this is a joke’ or ‘this is directly what they said.’ And to anyone who’s just reading that, it would affect their perception of the paper,” she said.

The three editors said they were shocked at the firings but did not ultimately appeal their terminations. An onslaught of letters to the editor followed. One, form a journalism professor in New Jersey, claimed Hauser, not her three editors, had acted unprofessionally because the cartoon was obviously satire. Richard Lem, editor of “Toons,” even challenged Hauser to a duel. GSB even looked into the matter, and the Pub. Board considered changing policy and not allowed the top editor the power to fire sub-editors.

The sports story of the decade was the undefeated career of wrestler Cael Sanderson, who would eventually win a gold medal in Athens in the Summer 2004 Olympics. Sanderson, a native of Utah, subsequently became an assistant coach for his mentor, Bobby Douglas, who also coached the U.S. Olympic team.

The sports story of the decade was the undefeated career of wrestler Cael Sanderson, who would eventually win a gold medal in Athens in the Summer 2004 Olympics. Sanderson, a native of Utah, subsequently became an assistant coach for his mentor, Bobby Douglas, who also coached the U.S. Olympic team.

In typical fashion, the spring 2004 conflict that provided many stories for the Daily was on a large scale. Riots broke out during the VEISHEA celebration of the year. It received national news coverage.

Several articles about the riot aftermath permeated the Daily’s coverage in the summer. Task forces were convened, meetings were held and committees investigated. Time after time the reports were the same: students are to blame, the police did their jobs and the future of VEISHEA is forever tainted.

The latest event under this decade’s umbrella of big conflict would be the Presidential election of 2004. Republican incumbent George Bush would defeat Senator John Kerry in one of the most heated and split elections of the modern day.

The Daily also reported that alumnus Ted Kooser, the U.S. poet laureate, had won the Pulitzer Prizer for poetry for his collection “Delights and Shadows.” The 1965 ISU graduate is a visiting professor of English at the University of Nebraska.

Lucas Grundmeier, the 2004-05 editor, will be replaced by Tom Barton in the fall of 2005.