Happy birthday to The Simpsonian


by Amelia Schafer, Editor-in-Chief

A lot has happened in the past 151 years, especially at Simpson. The college has had four different mascots and one unofficial mascot, buildings have been destroyed and new ones have taken their places and we’ve had 24 college presidents. Throughout all of these changes and new faces, one thing has remained – The Simpsonian. 

Throughout the past 151 years, the newspaper has changed substantially from being a monthly publication to a biweekly and now weekly publication, more changes to the masthead than I can count, and hundreds of students who have participated in The Simpsonian as an editor or as a staff reporter. 

Media itself has changed immensely in the past 151 years. In 1983, the first online newspaper, Viewtron, was launched by Knight-Rider. According to Time magazine, in the mid-90s, with the creation of the world wide web, news sources such as CNN, The Chicago Tribune and The News Observer began to shift their focus towards online news. 

In 2021, 86% of Americans use a smartphone, computer or tablet to access their news. 68% use a television, 50% use a radio and a mere 32% use print sources, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.  Recently, one topic of conversation has been whether or not The Simpsonian will ditch its print edition and migrate to a fully online version.

When Dunn library’s archivist Cyd Dyer let Professor Siebert and me into the archives to collect past editions of The Simpsonian for our homecoming celebration on Friday, I realized just how important The Simpsonian has been to campus. Cyd explained that she’s working to have the papers all sent to the east coast and microfilmed for future use, a statement that put things into perspective for me. While my experience with the paper is a minor blip in the grand scheme of it and maybe even my own life, the stories that we’re telling will last for generations to come. I saw photos of the pool that used to be on campus, the original construction of Kent Campus center, the cover of the paper that was published when the mascot was first changed and even interesting advertisements. One ad that really stuck out to me was from a 1950s edition displaying where Simpson students could get “a lovely homecoming gown.” It’s interesting to think of how much campus has changed, and The Simpsonian provides any interested party a glimpse into that past. 

While The Simpsonian has changed and grown and certainly made an impact on campus, it’s also made an impact on the students who have worked for it. 

When I came to Simpson, I was not interested in journalism in the slightest. I had my sights set on Psychology. In my first semester here, I took Media History with professor Brian Steffen and became interested in journalism. My sophomore year, he encouraged me to join the paper so I could go to Washington D.C. I thought, why not, and I took a risk – something I don’t usually do. 

I remember getting one of my weekly review papers back from Gunnar Davis, the 2019-2020 Editor-in-Chief, and seeing a note at the bottom that said he could really see me as an editor. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I was really good at something. 

Throughout the past three years, I’ve traveled to Washington D.C., I’ve driven to Fazoli’s in the middle of the night with Danielle Blake to complain about the paper and I’ve spent countless hours playing Animal Crossing and Among Us with last year’s Editor-in-Chief Alyssa Craven. 

Just three weeks ago, Morgan Flynn, the Sports Editor, brought us all Blizzards to layout.

During one of our Friday editor meetings at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, I distinctly remember sitting in my bed in the Zoom call and feeling like I fit in with these people. 

I don’t think I would have made the connections I did with these people or found my love for journalism without The Simpsonian. 

So thank you to The Simpsonian, not only for the impact you’ve played on campus these past 151 years but for the friendships you’ve forged and the memories you’ve caused.