The inaugural issue of The Whitworthian, dated Jan. 16, 1905, states: “Our policy is to achieve, through this official medium of the Student Association, a knowledge of our social environment, a sense of individual freedom and responsibility, and an everpresent consciousness of our relationship to all college institutions and functions.” Though much about Whitworth’s student newspaper has evolved since its first printing in Tacoma, Wash., this statement continues to ring true for the publication that features diverse voices and reports on campus news, events and issues.
In its early days, The Whitworthian featured inside jokes to entertain its small readership. One popular section, “Exchanges,” featured updates about social clubs and events at colleges around the Tacoma region. As Whitworth’s enrollment grew, the paper expanded to provide coverage of events outside the social realm, and by 1916, the editorial staff had taken a firm stand on the necessity of a national prohibition of alcohol.
After World War II, news of international affairs became more prevalent in the paper, and students became more vocal in expressing their political opinions. In the 1960s, student activists used The Whitworthian to discuss campus regulations and issues, as well as larger social issues surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. When the 1980s brought new technology for journalists, The Whitworthian office was outfitted with Apple computers that opened new worlds for students to produce creative layouts.
Through the years, The Whitworthian has been a launchpad for aspiring writers and journalists who have helped to elevate the standards for college newspapers. In 2009, the paper won an Associate Collegiate Press Online Pacemaker Award, considered one of the most esteemed honors in student journalism. In 2010, the paper won first place in its division at the 2009 National Mark of Excellence Awards, after winning first place earlier that spring in the regional awards, sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, during The Whitworthian’s centennial year, alumni reflected on their time as student editors. Nearine (Marcus) Baugh, ’48, wrote, “The most frustrating experience was to catch the Whitworth bus to town, the city bus to the print shop, walk four blocks (several weeks on crutches), do the proofreading, and paste the mock-up. Then came the reverse transportation hassle, and I would arrive back on campus after ‘lock-up.’ My housemother complained. The dean of women called me into her office, and I was told to make other arrangements or give up the paper. Thereafter, I either cut classes or hired a cab, but I didn’t give up the paper.”