In its 116 year existence, UConn’s student newspaper has transitioned from a four-page black and white monthly publication into the highest circulation college daily newspaper in Connecticut. Now its readership is about to get another boost when the UConn Libraries digitizes issues dating back to its origins and places them online.
“We get requests about the Daily Campus on a fairly regular basis,” says University Archivist Betsy Pittman, a proponent of the initiative, which began in the spring of 2012. While the Archives holds bound copies as well as issues on microfilm, the film was starting to show wear from usage, giving impetus to the digitization effort, she said. That usage, coupled with a strong desire to provide the campus community and other interested parties with 24/7 access was the rationale for the project.
“It’s hard to document the student experience on campus because when they graduate, they take all those experiences with them,” Pittman asserts. “The student newspaper is a wonderful record of campus life because it’s what happens as seen through students’ eyes. It’s not the Journal Inquirer, the Willimantic Chronicle, or the Hartford Courant; it’s far more personal.”
When the project is completed, readers will be able to view each issue in its entirety and track the evolution of the University and its student newspaper from the Storrs Agricultural College’s The Lookout, a monthly publication, which debuted in May, 1896. It transitioned to a twice monthly publication in 1899, when it became the Connecticut Agricultural School, and to The Connecticut Campus in 1914, which became a weekly and later a thrice weekly publication, followed by the Connecticut Daily Campus, and then finally the Daily Campus in 1984.
Thus far, years 1896 to 1906 have been completed and may be viewed in the University’s institutional repository, UConn’s Digital Commons, at: http://digitalcommons.uconn.edu/dcamp/.
Other issues of the newspaper will be added as they are digitized with issues published through 1990 expected to be completed by next summer.
‘Real Life’ Experience
In addition to being an historical record of the University’s evolution, the newspaper has
served as a training ground for budding journalists. A number of Daily Campus former staffers have become accomplished journalists after graduation and have been featured in the University’s alumni magazine including: former New York Times sports editor, Frank Litsky, now retired; Eric Owles, who is the multimedia producer at the Times; Leigh Montville who wrote for the Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated; Les Payne, who is a syndicated columnist for Newsday, and John Yearwood, who is world editor at the Miami Herald.
“I think this is a wonderful effort,” said Elizabeth Crowley, the current editor-in-chief of the Daily Campus. “Digitizing the DC means that UConn will have a comprehensive historical record. This record will show daily, as well as major, milestones and give an account of the general consensus and feelings the community had about events, which can be lost in broader historical accounts. This is fantastic for both the University and the paper.”
The retrospective Daily Campus online conversion project is managed by the Libraries’ Digital Programs Team (DPT), a department within Archives, Special Collections, and Digital Curation. Since 2008, DPT has overseen digitization of thousands of volumes and millions of pages from UConn’s stacks, via in-house capture as well as through out-sourcing vendors with the goal of providing 24/7/365 ubiquitous access to the rich information resources held here. Inquiries and suggestions from the UConn community are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1881 — Storrs Agricultural School founded
1893 — The school is re-named Storrs Agricultural College
1896 — Students of the Storrs Agricultural College establish a student newspaper, The S.A.C. Lookout. It begins as a monthly, and the first issue is published on May 11, 1896.
1899 — The school is re-named Connecticut Agricultural College, and the paper becomes The C.A.C. Lookout. At this time, the publication has a magazine-like format.
1902 — The paper transitions to the simpler title The Lookout.
1914 — The paper changes its name to The Connecticut Campus and Lookout, and is published semi-monthly during the college year. It also takes on the standard newspaper format.
1917 — The paper simplifies its name to The Connecticut Campus.
1919 — The Connecticut Campus begins publishing weekly.
1933 — The school is re-named Connecticut State College.
1939 — The school is re-named University of Connecticut.
1942 — The Connecticut Campus launches semi-weekly. The newspaper appears Tuesdays and Fridays, but will go back to being a weekly again two years later.
1946 — With the end of the war, and a huge increase in student enrollment, The Connecticut Campus resumes semi-weekly issues during the school year.
1950 — The Connecticut Campus is published three times a week.
1953 — The Connecticut Campus becomes a daily.
1955 — The paper is renamed The Connecticut Daily Campus, and is published each weekday morning on newsprint.
1984 — The school paper again simplifies its name, becoming The Daily Campus.