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Varsity News: Celebrating 100 Years!

Varsity News, the student newspaper is published by the University of Detroit Mercy. It has been running almost continuously for 100 years. There have been a couple of gaps, one for the 1922-23 academic year (I have not found any explanation for the gap), and it almost died in the fall of 2003.  It seems that it was coming out of the department for Student Life as an activity, instead of as a part of a journalism course. There was also an issue of finding a journalism advisor to oversee the operation.

Like the current state of news reporting, the VN was not without its controversies. In the archive files there are letters and memos on inaccuracies and/or misrepresentations about articles that have been published. There is one item of particular interest. It seems that the Detroit News (Dec. 26, 1972) picked up an item that was published in the Varsity News. A couple had sent a letter to the University President about an article with the title " "U of D newspaper pictures nude male."

That would certainly grab anyone's attention! I do not know what, if anything else, was posted with the picture in the Detroit News.To save you the trouble of checking out the picture in question, it is posted here:

(He could be wearing a bathing suit)

The President agreed it was in bad taste. He did let the students know that "their attempt at satire fell flat and they have been advised that such articles are not in their best interests nor the interests of our University."

There is some speculation that "sex" might have been the reason the Varsity News was temporarily shut down for a period in 2003. In the February 18, 2003 issue there was an article " Lets Talk About Sex, Baby" which was about birth control, use of condoms and  STD's. There were some people that felt it crossed the line on what is acceptable for a student's newspaper. When the paper returned in October 13, 2003, the staff writer suggested that article was the real reason, although administration cited "lack of leadership". That was the same time the advisor stopped advising and the VN office was locked for the rest of the year.

The Varsity News has been publishing on a regular basis so far. Just be aware of any "fake news" you might find in any April 1st issue such as these items in the Varsity News, April 1, 1960.


Permalink Last updated 09/11/2018 by P. Higo

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