Former Traveler Staffers Inducted to Hall of Honor
The Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism inducted four alumni into the department's Hall of Honor during a reception Nov. 4 on the eve of Homecoming. Phyllis Dillaha Brandon, Jim Faulkner and Cone and Betty Magie were honored during the department's sixth induction.
Dignitaries at the event included Alan B. Sugg, president of the University of Arkansas System, and Dave Gearhart, vice chancellor for advancement, and his wife, Jane Gearhart, an alumnus of the journalism department and the Traveler staff.
Brandon, the editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's High Profile section in Little Rock, worked on The Traveler in mid-1950s, first as a staff writer and then as associate editor.
Faulkner, who now lives in Little Rock, worked as a staff writer in 1949 and a sports writer in 1950. After graduation, he founded Faulkner and Associates, on of the state's most successful advertising agencies.
Cone Magie worked as reporter for The Traveler in 1946 after discharge from military obligations during World War II. He and his wife, Betty, started the Cabot Star in 1955 and soon bought out the other newspaper in town, forming the Cabot Star-Herald. They have since acquired other community newspapers nearby, and their son, Mark Magie, a UA journalism alumnus and former Traveler staffer, still runs the papers.
Other journalism alumni who attended the Hall of Honor included Brenda Blagg, Robert McCord, Gerald Jordan, Jeff Smith, Gina King, Laura Jacobs, Donna Lonchar, Jerry McConnell, Jerol Garrison, Holly Brain Williams, Michelle Parks and Denise Malan.
Other Traveler staffers previously inducted to the Hall of Honor include Skip Rutherford, Jerol Garrison, Jerry McConnell, Robert McCord, Ron Robinson and Jim Morriss.
Jerol Garrison and Jerry McConnell look through a bound edition of The Traveler while attending a reunion of former staff members to celebrate 95th anniversary in 2001.
A Trial Run at a Reunion
In 2001, Traveler editor Jeff Smith and his staff organized a reunion for the 95th anniversary of the beginning of the newspaper's publication.
More than two dozen former editors and staff members attended the anniversary celebration in the offices of The Traveler on the first floor of Kimpel Hall. The Traveler staff compiled and printed a list of all former Traveler editors as well as a history of The Traveler in the newspaper.
Smith presided over the event, which included old photos of editors and Traveler operations enlarged from the Razorback yearbook. Among the university dignitaries attending the anniversary were John A. White, chancellor of the University of Arkansas; Johnetta Cross Brazell, vice chancellor for student affairs; G. David Gearhart, vice chancellor for advancement; and Roger Williams, associate vice chancellor for university relations.
As part of the festivities, former editors in attendance posed for a photo. Front from left: Simon Lee, 1993-94; Kay Carson, 1968-69; Jeff Smith, 2000-02; Sarah Glass, 1999-00; Charlie Alison, 1981-82; and Tammy Williams, 1998-99. Back from left: Robert McCord, 1950-51; Skip Rutherford, 1971-72; Steve Wilkes, 1990-91; Brenda Blagg, 1969-70; Denise Beeber, 1984-85; Mike Gauldin, 1980-81; and Steve Kirk, 1976-77.
One mid-century assessment of college newspapers expressed the notion that each of five campus groups had its own perception of the role of a college paper:
Administrators often viewed the paper as an official publication of the university that, as such, might involve the college in outside entanglements.
General faculty viewed the campus paper as offering a medium for publicity.
Students believed the paper to be the representation of their views.
Journalism students thought of the college newspaper as part and parcel their own creation.
Finally, journalism instructors saw the newspaper as a hands-on laboratory.
The University Weekly and its successor, The Arkansas Traveler, fulfilled each of these roles to some degree but leaned toward representing the students’ interests. The paper was started by students and financed from their own pockets for most of the twentieth century, either by subscription or by publication fee. The staff members were beholden to the university administration for office space and some level of official permission to distribute the paper on campus. However, the natural power dynamic between administrator and student forced most editors to weigh their words when pitted between student and administration. On more than one occasion, the student editors who threw caution to the wind faced the possibility of suspension or expulsion.
Early in the newspaper’s history, members of the faculty at Arkansas could readily seek publication of stories favorable to their research, either by submitting stories themselves or conferring with a student writer. During the first two decades, the newspaper rarely ran into problems finding space for stories. From the late 1930s to the early 1970s, editorial space in the paper became tighter as the number of advertisements continued to grow but the paper’s size did not. Professors appeared to have had more difficulty finding publicity during this period but no more or less so than students trying to publicize upcoming campus events.
As for journalism students, no official journalism department existed until the 1920s, and the editor and business manager were popularly elected until the mid-1940s. Between the early 1920s and 1940s, though, the editor was required to be a journalism major and to have worked for The Traveler for at least a year prior to applying for the editorship. Journalism students could usually work on the paper if they were willing to work for whomever was editor at the time. Many of the staffs included former rivals for the editorships.
The Traveler’s independence meant that its relationship with the journalism department varied over the course of its history. The journalism department was never in charge of the paper, although it maintained a symbiotic and collaborative relationship with the student newspaper through most of the last seventy-five years. After the College of Arts and Sciences approved a major in journalism for the 1929-30 school year, students who enrolled in the department’s courses contributed work toward publication of The Traveler. However, the submitted material was used at the discretion of The Traveler staff, which maintained its editorial independence despite occasional attempts by the department to insinuate control and at least a couple of efforts to place the student paper completely under the control of the journalism department.
Ernest J. Hopkins. “Educational Approach to Supervision.” NCCPA Review 2:5 (January 1957)
Over the years, student reporters covered their share of famous politicians. Quite early in its life, The University Weekly reported on the visit of former President William Howard Taft to Fayetteville in 1917. Taft, whom The Weekly described as a former Fayetteville resident, spoke at the Ozark Theatre about the war in Europe.
Often, whenever someone of political or cultural significance visited Fort Smith, The Traveler sent reporters or photographers to cover the event. In 1961, Johnny Woodruff photographed the visit of President John F. Kennedy. In 1970, Susan Leek and Ann Pride covered Vice President Spiro Agnew during his visit.
When Kennedy returned to the state for the dedication of Greers Ferry Dam in 1963, editor Marian Alford and photographer Johnny Woodruff covered the event. Kennedy praised the rapid strides being made by UA President David Mullins and expressed his hope that the U.S. Senate would pass a bill already approved by the House that would enable universities to use federal funding for construction of campus buildings.
At the end of the decade, Traveler staffers covered the visit by President Richard M. Nixon to the university campus to see a football game between Arkansas and Texas. Jimmy Carter came to speak at the university campus in 1975 prior to announcing he would seek the Democratic nomination for president. In 2000, on the eve of the election, Traveler staff members including Kristin Netterstrom, covering George W. Bush in his last campaign stop at Northwest Regional Airport before voting began the next morning.
The Traveler covered various appearances by Bill Clinton, from his first unsuccessful run for Congress when he was a UA law professor to his many recurring races for governor, his two successful bids for the U.S. presidency and, most recently, his return to campus for the dedication of the statue of the late Senator J. William Fulbright in 2002.
In 2004, staff members covered the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, which included coverage of four of five living presidents -- Clinton, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
The University Weekly, November 14, 1917 The Arkansas Traveler, October 31, 1961 Ibid., October 4, 1963 Ibid., December 8, 1969 Ibid., October 9, 1970
This website provides historical notes about the student newspaper at the University of Arkansas. The University Weekly began publication on Oct. 10, 1906. Its name was changed to The Arkansas Traveler in 1920.
A student-owned and student-operated newspaper from the beginning, The Arkansas Traveler has seen its share of colorful staff members, newfangled production methods and occasional challenges from weather, fire and boards of publications.
Over the century, production of The University Weekly and The Arkansas Traveler reflected the changes in the publishing industry, sometimes stepping ahead of the trends and sometimes following. The following photos show some of the changing methods used by reporters and editors to get the paper to press.