By Hannah Schultz, Features Editor
This year, the Asbury Collegian celebrates its 90th birthday, ringing in decades of dedication to journalism and service to Asbury’s students. From its inception, the newspaper has always been a collaboration on the part of its staff, faculty advisors and community voices. The Collegian hopes to stay authentic to its original purpose and its unique history, while always striving to serve the student body with the incorporation of progressive trends and dedication to journalistic integrity.
Asbury’s campus newspaper was first published in 1915, and it was called The Asbury College New Era. The editor-in-chief was Z.T. Johnson, an Asbury student who would later become the college’s president, and students had to pay for subscriptions.
After administrative advice, The Asbury College New Era changed its name to the Asbury Collegian in 1925. The first editions of the newly christened Asbury Collegian were a boy’s issue and a girl’s issue. This stemmed from the Collegian staff deciding to have a competition to see who could put the best newspaper together.
In the 1930s, the Collegian was notably filled with ads for businesses in Wilmore, Nicholasville and Lexington — from banks, to jewelers, to clothing and shoe companies. The content was also much different from the modern Collegian, including short pieces of literary fiction or an entire section dedicated to “Religious Articles.”
In the 1940s, the Collegian moved from tabloid format, with pages that turned like a book, to broadsheet format, which is the more traditional newspaper format. The Collegian focused on Asbury-centric news articles about campus improvements and expansion and the lives of faculty members.
In the 1950s, the Collegian continued to serve campus as the chronicle of student activities. Of note is an article about open dorms: one special night, students were hosted in the different guy’s dorms with decorations and refreshments to reveal to the girls “how the fellows live,” and the “fellows [got] a chance to see what goes on in dorms other than their own.”
In the 1960s, the Collegian saw a broadening of reporting, from just Asbury to news stories happening outside the campus community. In one article, the Collegian documents how a UK student was forced to withdraw from the university because she failed to sign out of her dorm that night and arrived back 40 minutes past curfew.
In the 1970s, the Collegian continued its move towards a more global perspective, touching on social issues and activism, which was a popular movement during the period. More developed sections began to appear, separating the newspaper into distinct parts.
In the 1980s, the Collegian was celebrated for its dedication to outstanding journalism as the newspaper and the journalism department became more solidified under the guidance of current professor Marcia Hurlow. The Collegian won 10 awards in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association conference in 1985.
In the 1990s, the Collegian was filled with intelligent discussions on religion and politics, as well as provoking news pieces about the college itself. Notably, more articles surfaced about the media, and hand-drawn cartoons often addressed heavy issues with a sense of lightheartedness. The content was divided into a news, “viewpoints,” “what’s happening” and sports section.
In 2011, the Collegian rebranded itself, reverting to tabloid format and incorporating bold pictures and graphics alongside the content, following modern magazine design trends. It became the familiar newspaper Asbury students recognize today, with the news, features, opinion and sports section.