Founded in 1867 as The Western Collegian
The Transcript (USPS 978-520) is published weekly August through May, except during University vacations, holidays and examination periods. The views expressed in letter, columns and cartoons are the opinions of the writers and artists and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Journalism, Ohio Wesleyan University or the Ohio Wesleyan Media Council.
About the Site
Welcome to the new design of The Transcript Online, as of January 2000. Below you will find a history of the Transcript; first, a small history of the site.
This site was re-created by Pete Lawrence in September, 1998. This site created on a Macintosh PowerPC 7200 using Macromedia's Dreamweaver 1.2.
When Jason Morrison took over web editor duties December 1999, he redesigned the site to have a more newspaper-like look and feel. This is a learning process, though, so all questions and comments are welcome.
Please send E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you have questions, comments, concerns or problems with this website.
This site is updated by noon every Thursday with the Wednesday edition of The Transcript.
The History of The Transcript
By Paul E. Kostyu, Associate Professor of journalism at Ohio Wesleyan Univ.
Updated and edited by Pete Lawrence ('99), Online editor.
During the 1998-99 school year, The Transcript celebrated its 131st year of continuous publication last year, making it the oldest independent student newspaper in the nation. In that time span, the newspaper has had 155 editors and saw almost just as many changes in content and format as it did in editors.
"We thought it was pretty good," said Charles J. Farran (27) before his death in 1992. He was the editor of The Transcript in 1926-27. "I thought it was good because I was the editor. We were proud of it."
The newspapers history dates to 1867 when it carried the name Western Collegian, which was begun as an individual enterprise by Joseph B. Battelle (1868). Battelle would later become a prominent journalist with the Toledo (Ohio) Blade.
From the beginning, the newspaper, which was based at the all-male University, served both a literary and journalistic function, though it was dominated by poetry, essays, reviews and scientific and philosophical articles. There was news of local interest, which included "communications on any living subject respecting the University and the [Ohio Wesleyan Female] college." Published on alternate Saturdays, The Transcript sold for 10 cents per copy, 50 cents per term or $1.50 for a years subscription. Today, it costs 30 cents per copy or $18 for a years subscription.
After Battelles one year as editor, control of the Collegian passed to the senior class. "Now students," the Oct. 7, 1868, edition stated, "it is in your hands, and dependent upon you for its success." Editors were assigned in the spring of their junior year to serve into the spring of their senior year, usually March or April, when the next class would take over. The spring appointments, which were highly competitive, allowed outgoing editors to serve as a resource for the new editor.
With the transfer of power from Battelle, the new editors said the paper was intended to serve "the interests, not of any mere party, or organization of any kind, but of the whole body of students." It has tried to keep its independent status ever since.
There were times when the newspaper admitted its voice was not quite so independent. A controversy erupted in 1869 when the newspaper awarded its publishing contract to the Delaware Herald, a supporter of the Democratic Party. The Delaware Gazette, a newspaper firmly in the Republican camp, had the contract, but the Herald offer was $200 cheaper.
"We have always deprecated the liberal course pursued by the Democratic Party," the paper wrote in an editorial defending its action. It accused the Democrats of "trampling on the rights of students and crippled soldiers." The paper said it could take care of Democratic legislators by voting them out of office and sending them to their "homes, where they would better have been their whole term listening to temperance lectures."
But the editors justified the Herald contract saying, "for us to have paid the Gazette man that amount more than the Herald because he is a Republican would have proved us to be simply political fanatics The [editorial] committee has an unimpeachable political record and an unvarying sympathy and identity with the Republican Party, but fail to discover any quality in their relation to that party requiring them to pay more to Republican than to a Democrat for the same services." Publishers of the newspaper varied over its history from among companies in Delaware and Columbus, but now, once again, it resides with the Delaware Gazette.
Among other changes over the newspapers history was its name. It became known as The College Transcript, according to the Sept. 26, 1874, edition, because it was a "more euphonious, appropriate, and distinctive title." It would not be the last name change. In 1902, it switched to the Ohio Wesleyan Transcript; and in 1972 it changed to its present monogram The Transcript.
With the first name change in 1874, the paper also lost some of its literary nature and moved toward becoming a more journalistic collegiate newspaper "in tone, coverage and format," according to Henry Clyde Hubbarts history of the University, Ohio Wesleyans First Hundred Years.
The switch to a true newspaper became complete when The Transcript faced fierce competition from The Practical Student, an alternative publication that remained on campus from 1888-1895. Literary material found a new home in a new publication, The Owl, which continues to be the literary publication at the school today. The Transcript is not without its competitors still. In 1988, The Righteous Times began publishing for the purpose of providing the campus and community with "a biased, subjective and otherwise twisted view of the Universe(ity)." In 1996, The Clean Pipe began publication on a seemingly bimonthly schedule to present alternative and somewhat less believable sides to campus news stories. It has since ceased publication.
The Transcript was also once threatened by another publication claiming to be The Transcript. In 1991, then editor John Wareck took the newspaper off campus. However, the original on-campus Transcript continued to publish under a new editor. The two Transcripts battled for advertisers and student readership, but both papers ended up suffering from the split. The sporadically-published off-campus Transcript eventually folded after two years due to financial losses.
Though both the Collegian and The Transcript included female writers on their staffs from the beginning, the editors slot was the male domain. The Collegian extended a formal invitation in 1871 to the womens college to participate in the newspaper to provide "regular and systematic support" for the female college students. With the Oct. 4, 1873, edition, Emma Gray and Carrie Downs were recognized in the masthead as the editors representing the womens college.
But the male editor bastion wasnt breached until 1918 when Mary M. Morrison (19), was named to temporarily lead The Transcript for a six-week span. Hubbarts official history of Ohio Wesleyan recognizes Morrisons brief stint as editor, but credits Jacquelyn Staats (45) as the first full-time female editor during the 1944-45 academic year. In fact, Hubbart overlooked Morrisons return as full-time editor during the 1918-19 year, when she replaced Charles B. Mills, who was editor but joined the military to fight in World War I. Morrison was likely to have been one of the first if not the first woman in the country to direct a college publication. Twenty-three other women would follow her lead to direct The Transcript.
Staats, now Mrs. William G. Cobbledick, led a female-dominated staff, including a female sports editor, Mildred Mooney, when there were few sports activities for women and long before women were allowed into male residence halls nonetheless male locker rooms.
Cobbledick, 72, parlayed her experience at The Transcript into a journalism career at newspapers in Cleveland, Ashtabula (Ohio) and Tucson, and in public relations and journalism teaching at the University of Arizona. "I probably deserved to be editor," she said, explaining that issue editors actually did more work than the editor-in-chief.
Issue editors were responsible for a specific issue from cover to cover. "I feel I did a lot more work as a junior when I was an issue editor," she said, noting that it was a natural step to go from issue editor to editor. In fact, an issue editor under Cobbledick, Grace Putnam, became in 1945-46 The Transcripts third female editor.
"There was a lot of journalism background in my family," Cobbledick said. "I really liked it and still do. I learned a lot [at The Transcript]." Though retired, Cobbledick works part-time as a copy editor for the Arizona Daily Star.
Cobbledick recalled that she was "too young to have the fire in the belly" attitude about being aggressive in her pursuit of stories. "Our stories were pretty soft," she said, recalling that even the discovery of bedbugs leading to the closing of a couple of rooms in Monnett Hall did not generate a story.
If the "fire in the belly" ever existed among journalists on the OWU campus, it may have shown itself best during the 1960s and 1970s when campuses around the country were erupting with anti-Vietnam War fervor. Student journalists felt invigorated to challenge administrative authority.
Verne Edwards, who served as advisor to The Transcript during his 33-year tenure as a journalism professor, recalled stories that showed the OWU Bookstore as a delinquent taxpayer and others that demonstrated that Monnett Hall was dangerous place to live because fire escape doors were nailed shut.
"The administration used to be scared to death of the paper," Edwards said. "But I think our paper showed more responsibility than most student papers of that period."
Gary K. Shorts (73), recalled that when he was editor, "we still had chapel, no coed dorms, no alcohol and still had hours. Then all of a sudden we were protesting, marching in Washington and growing hair."
Campus-wide, students were more challenging of authority, "and the paper reflected that student aggressiveness," Shorts said, but admitted he was less politically active than other editors.
"I remember distinctly going on an interview[of an administrator] with the academic affairs editor and afterward she said, You didnt go after him. I said, Why should I? She felt like I had let him off the hook.."
But Shorts said he saw himself more as publisher than editor and left it up to the other editors and reporters to tackle the hot issues of the era. Shorts said his role was to try to save The Transcript financially.
"We were in trouble," he said, explaining that the paper lost a substantial amount of its alumni subscriptions and local advertising because the newspapers political activism had alienated people. "we were very close to losing our independence by having subsidization from the University."
Joseph M. "Chip" Visci (75), also valued the independence of the newspaper. "There is no doubt Verne had a lot of influence on us," said Visci, now working for Knight Ridder Newspapers in Florida, "but he didnt put his hands on our stuff before the publication. Verne set the standards for us and we didnt always live up to them each week."
Visci credits his term as editor of The Transcript in 1974-75 as the best training he could have had to prepare for a journalism career. "I wouldnt trade the experience for anything," he said. "It was the single most important thing in my professional life."
Visci said the experiences he had at the college paper parallel those he had when he worked as editor of local news at the Detroit Free Press. He recalled an editorial a Transcript columnist wrote that poked fun at a major advertiser. The columnist changed the reference to avoid losing the advertiser. "That was an ethical dilemma," Visci said. "Im not exaggerating when I say stories we have written here have cost us $1 million in lost advertising."
Edwards admitted that The Transcripts effectiveness as a journalistic enterprise fluctuated with the editors who led it. "Sometimes, we wouldnt get as good an editor as I would have liked," he said.
At other times, The Transcript found itself on the verge of not having any editor at all. Over the six-year span from the fall of 1984 to the spring of 1990, The Transcript had 10 editors.
Jody Chatalas, editor in 1987 and 1988, decided to make the paper free to students on the OWU campus in the Spring of 1987. Prior to that, students who didn't have subscriptions (which were placed in their mailboxes weekly) had to search around the campus for a copy to buy. After crunching numbers Chatalas felt on-campus revenue was so low anyway that going free wouldn't make that big a difference, and that perhaps a larger circulation would encourage more advertisers.
Kris Adamo (91), did not want the job when she was appointed in the fall of 1989.
"The previous editor quit because she couldnt get a staff together," Adamo said. "There was no staff. My goal was to bring some semblance of order, to establish a standard." She noted that the paper had few ads, was $3,000 in debt, was mostly filled with pictures and was only being published sporadically.
"No one wanted to be editor because it was a mess," Adamo said.
Adamo said she believed she had some success. "I got some good people around me and Melissa Jones [who followed her as editor] was excellent."
Throughout its history, Transcript editors have been proud of the papers independence, though the claim has been disparaged because it has been housed in campus buildings. In the 1950s, The Transcript was located in a Quonset hut where Bigelow-Rice Hall now stands; it moved to offices in the natatorium in the mid-1950s, before going to the Memorial Union Building. Its fourth home was in a building where Mowry Alumni Center now stands. Then the paper moved to the first floor of Slocum Hall, before moving to its current location in an office on the third floor of Slocum.
"I believe the independence was crucial to making The Transcript a good educational tool," said Edwards, now assistant to the publisher of the Delaware Gazette. "Editors made their own decisions and lived with the consequences. Most were incredibly responsible, I found."
Fast Facts About The Transcript:
Editors of The Transcript
1867-1868: Joseph B. Battelle
1868-1869: L.W. Welsh
1869-1870: O.J. Nave
1870-1871: Davis W. Clark
1871-1872: J.H. Bethards (fall) & C.W. Fairbanks (spring)
1872-1873: W. H. Greene
1873-1874: N. Luccock
1874-1875: C.B. Wright (fall) & T.H. Armstrong (spring)
1875-1876: J.R. Bowdle
1876-1877: Frank R. Fry (fall) & Henry Whitworth (spring)
1877-1878: J.N. Barnes (fall) & B.F. Jackson (spring)
1878-1879: W.O. Robb
1879-1880: J.W. Luccock
1880-1881: H.D. Ketchem
1881-1882: C.E. Jefferson
1882-1883: H.B. Newson
1883-1884: D.A. Hayes
1884-1885: A.A. Sayre
1885-1886: F.P. Irvin (fall) & C.W. Durbin (spring)
1886-1887: S.L. Zurmehly
1887-1888: Charles W. Evans
1888-1889: Ben U. Rannells
1889-1890: V.K. McElheny Jr.
1890-1891: H.C. Robinson
1891-1892: J.M. Butler
1892-1893: F.L. McVey
1893-1894: L.A. Busby
1894-1895: O.W. Patrick (fall) & J.P.C. Kalbfuss (spring)
1895-1896: W.R. Bass
1896-1897: Gordon N. Armstrong
1897-1898: Frank C. Goodrich
1898-1899: C.E. Vermilya
1899-1900: L.C. Marshall (until April 5, 1900) & W.W. Marquardt (until June 2, 1900)
1900-1901: Edward W. Hamill
1901-1902: Edward W. Hamill
1902-1903: Fayette H. McDonough
1903-1904: John H. Korns
1904-1905: John H. Moist
1905-1906: E. Louis Martling
1906-1907: C.C. Dill
1907-1908: G.H. Easterbrook
1908-1909: George H. Whitehead
1909-1910: Andrew P. Martin
1910-1911: Paul T. Mahon
1911-1912: Harold S. Hoover
1912-1913: Stephen C. Ladd
1913-1914: Albert B. Elliott
1914-1915: Wallace Morrison
1915-1916: Sherlock L. Banks
1916-1917: Cecil J. Wilkinson (until April 5, 1917) & John B. Rosebrook (April 12-May 3, 1917) & Mary M. Morrison (May 10-June 12, 1917)
1917-1918: John B. Rosebrook (until April 17, 1918) & Charles B. Mills (until June 12, 1918)
1918-1919: Mary M. Morrison
1919-1920: Gardner H. Townsley
1920-1921: Robert J. Havinghurst
1921-1922: Paul J. Powell
1922-1923: Lawrence "Cotton" Thomson
1923-1924: Hartley W. Barclay
1924-1925: Charles B. French
1925-1926: Victor W. Free
1926-1927: Charles J. Farran
1927-1928: Paul R. Anderson
1928-1929: Fred E. Merwin
1929-1930: James W. Havinghurst (until Oct. 22 & from Nov. 26, 1929) & Gilson Wright (Oct. 29 Nov. 19, 1929)
1930-1931: Ormond S. Culp
1931-1932: Robert F. Taylor
1932-1933: C. Robert Abbey
1933-1934: Charles L Merwin
1934-1935: Homer M. Davies
1935-1936: Richard W. Darrow
1936-1937: Paul H. Merwin
1937-1938: Robert V. Guelich
1938-1939: Oliver H. Townsend
1939-1940: George Eyrich
1940-1941: Paul Carpenter
1941-1942: Sidney Rowland
1942-1943: Charles Truax
1943-1944: Ray Oviett
1944-1945: Jacquelyn Staats
1945-1946: Grace Putnam
1946-1947: Bill Diem & Anne Newdick
1947-1948: J.E. Starry
1948-1949: Norm Cornish
1949-1950: Ed Dehart
1950-1951: Ken Gettelman
1951-1952: Norma Jean Allison
1952-1953: Bill Elbon
1953-1954: Duncan White & John L. Miller
1954-1955: Jay Smyser
1955-1956: David J. Miller
1956-1957: Diane Wrassmann
1957-1958: Bob Henretty
1958-1959: Jack Batty
1959-1960: Bill Darrow
1960-1961: Ray Esch
1961-1962: Mike Maharry
1962-1963: Stu Rose
1963-1964: John Woolley
1964-1965: John Hoberg
1965-1966: Chuck Babcock
1966-1967: Larry Heinserling
1967-1968: Sherry Jorgensen
1968-1969: William Diem
1969-1970: Barbara Goode
1970-1971: Robert B. Palmer Jr.
1971-1972: Robert Marc Stein
1972-1973: Gary K. Shorts
1973-1974: Scott P. Livingston
1974-1975: Joseph M. Visci
1975-1976: James Henke
1976-1977: Ted Daniels
1977-1978: Wendy Spirduso
1978-1979: Randy Bennett
1979-1980: Steve Sawicki
1980-1981: Reuben Frank
1981-1982: Janet Fillmore
1982-1983: Mary Barton
1983-1984: Colin McMahon
1984-1985: Rene M. Townsley (fall) & John Johnson (spring)
1985-1986: Rob Davis (Sept. Oct. 1985) & Bill Stump (Oct. 1985 March 1986) & Robert Fernandez (March 1986- May 1986)
1986-1987: Robert Fernandez (until February 1987) & George J. Chatalas (until June 1987)
1987-1988: George J. Chatalas (fall) & Steve Payne (spring)
1988-1989: Steve Payne (fall) & Amy K. Meyers (spring)
1989-1990: Kris Adamo (fall) & Melissa Jones (spring)
1990-1991: Jason Cohen
1991-1992: John Wareck (until Oct 1991) & Kim Aslanian (until Dec.) & Chris Walsh (until Feb.) & Devaraj Southworth (interim editor) & Einar Tjorborrsan (through May)
1992-1993: Marcia Hartman (until Dec. 1992) & Chris Masters (Jan. 20 Feb. 10) & Andrea Maze (as Managing Editor from Feb. 17 May)
1993-1994: Jody Peacock (fall) & Bob West (spring)
1994-1995: Bob West (fall) & Seth G. Daniel (spring)
1995-1996: Seth G. Daniel (fall) & Betsy Malony (Jan 24 Feb. 7) & Wendy Scott Feb 14 May)
1996-1997: Wendy Scott (fall) & Nicole Waksmundski (spring)
1997-1998: Andrea Misko (fall) & Pete Lawrence (spring)
1998-1999: Pete Lawrence (fall) & Karen Green (spring)
1999- : Karen Green (fall)