The Dartmouth: Over 200 years of campus journalism

by John Teti | 9/16/02 5:00am

Four hours every day. That's how long the offices on the second floor of Robinson Hall are quiet when The Dartmouth is in production.

The rest of the time -- from 7 a.m. when carriers arrive to begin deliveries until 3 a.m. when the last night editor leaves -- students are working to put out "The D," the campus' only daily source of news and opinion.

Founded in 1799 by a student group that included Daniel Webster (Class of 1801), The Dartmouth is the oldest college newspaper in the United States. The Class of 2006 Freshman Issue that you're reading now is one of over 150 issues that a staff of student writers, photographers, editors, cartoonists and others will produce this year.

And like this issue, every edition of The Dartmouth is distributed free. Students can pick up a copy of the most recent issue at over a dozen locations on campus -- look for the forest green boxes when you arrive.

Inside The Dartmouth

The first section every reader notices, of course, is The D's news coverage, which keeps readers abreast of the latest developments on campus. But there is more to The Dartmouth than news.

Op-Ed, for instance, is probably the most-read section next to News. This is where members of the Dartmouth community debate not just campus controversies but also issues of national and international scope. While students are the most frequent contributors, it isn't rare to have faculty, administrators or local residents weigh in on a salient issue.

The Sports section is where you can follow the action of Dartmouth's athletic teams. Sports news is usually found on the back page, except on Monday, when The Dartmouth publishes the Big Green Sports Weekly pullout section, in which you'll find campus sports coverage that ranks among the most in-depth of any college newspaper.

Movies, CDs, books and theatre are all fair game for the reviewers in Arts & Entertainment. This section is also the home for profiles of campus artists and coverage of happenings at the Hopkins Center.

You've received a sample of the weekly Arts & Entertainment pullout, The Dartmouth Mirror. In the Mirror, writers produce lighter fare that explores a new topic in lifestyle or entertainment each week. The Mirror also includes an events calendar to help you plan your weekend.

Last but not least, there is the comics page. This year, The Dartmouth has recruited an unprecedented number of student cartoonists, each with a distinctive style -- and each with a group of passionate fans.

All of The Dartmouth's coverage can also be found online, at The site is a popular home page for students and parents. Online content is updated with every new issue, and whenever there is breaking campus news.

Independent journalism

As mentioned above, The D is run entirely by students. This means that students produce the paper, of course, but it also means that the College administration has no editorial or financial involvement in the organization.

The Dartmouth is incorporated in the state of New Hampshire as a non-profit organization, and the paper leases its Robinson Hall offices as a corporation unaffiliated with the College. This independence is critical in The Dartmouth's ability to provide news and commentary on the College without a conflict of interest.

Getting involved

If you pay a visit to The Dartmouth -- and you'll have a chance to do so during our fall open houses -- you'll hear one mantra from editors again and again: "no experience necessary."

We say it so often because it's true. Whether you were editor of your high school paper or have never written an article before, The Dartmouth allows you a chance to make your mark immediately.

Journalism may seem like an intimidating prospect, but dozens of students join the paper each year and discover that they are more talented than they thought. That happens because the editors want to see you succeed, and they'll work hard to get you started in whatever aspect of the paper suits your interest.

Whether it's writing, photography, layout or business, The D offers you a chance to gain hands-on experience that will pay off during your college career and beyond.

In recent years, staff members of The Dartmouth have held internships at CNN, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Fox News Channel, Cox News Service and the Hearst newspaper syndicate -- and we have alumni working at many of these organizations, as well.

Some of The D's high-profile alumni include Paul Gigot, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal; former USA Today editor-in-chief Peter Pritchard; Fox News host Morton Kondracke; and New York Times writers David Rosenbaum, Jacques Steinberg and Christopher Wren.

Dartmouth is a rural community, but don't underestimate the audience your work will receive if you join The Dartmouth. The print edition reaches students and staff that are here in Hanover, but thousands more -- including many parents and alumni -- log on every day to check in on campus news.

Additionally, when Dartmouth College comes in the national spotlight -- as it did during the 2000 presidential primaries and after the tragic murder of professors Half and Susanne Zantop in 2001 -- The Dartmouth becomes an important source of information for other media organizations. During the Zantop investigation, for instance, staff members of The Dartmouth were interviewed by such media outlets as CNN, BBC, NPR and the Los Angeles Times.

History of The Dartmouth

The Dartmouth, Inc., is a $350,000 corporation run by a student-controlled board, but it was not always such a large enterprise.

When it was founded in 1799, it was called The Dartmouth Gazette, and published quite irregularly.

In June 1820, the Gazette became The Dartmouth Herald.

Another two decades passed and in November 1839, The Dartmouth Herald changed its name to The Dartmouth. Around 1875, it became a weekly paper, and in 1920, the student editors voted to go to the current daily format.

You can fill out The Dartmouth subscription form in this issue and mail it to us to begin receiving The Dartmouth at home once Fall term begins. (Let us keep your parents up to speed so you can concentrate on your studies or ... extracurricular activities.)

And if you're at all interested, please drop by our open houses at the beginning of Fall term. Many of the paper's editors and current writers will be here to tell you everything you need to know about America's oldest college newspaper.

Until then, we look forward to meeting you and introducing you to Dartmouth College's one and only school in undergraduate journalism.