On 100 years of service to the SDSU community


by Leonardo Castaneda

A good newspaper is many things. It is timely, accurate and well written. It should be informative yet entertaining. But I believe playwright Arthur Miller put it best when he said, “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.”

In that spirit, The Daily Aztec has strived to be a good newspaper by being the San Diego State campus talking to itself. In this commemorative centennial issue we look back at how that conversation has changed in 100 years of The Daily Aztec reporting.

Working on this issue, I saw the highs and lows of SDSU reflected in the pages of the newspaper. I saw a campus at war with itself during the ’70s and ’80s triggered by racism and discrimination from the administration through Associated Students and athletics.

I also saw a campus rally together after the tragic death of three engineering professors at the hands of a graduate student in 1996.

The life of SDSU is reflected on those pages. As the hopes and fears of the campus community evolved, so did the newspaper’s coverage. However, through all the changes one thing remained constant: the students who wrote, edited and published those stories.

Every year, a new staff comes in to The Daily Aztec’s offices. New students enroll and others graduate, and a new editor in chief determines his or her vision for the year to come. Whether they wrote for the original The Normal News Weekly in 1913, The Paper Lantern in the early 1920s, The Aztec or The Daily Aztec, they shared one thing: a passion and commitment to journalism at SDSU.

Looking at the names of editors in chief, it’s a unique honor and responsibility to not only recognize the past century of Aztec reporting, but to ensure it will continue for generations to come despite the troubles facing newspapers throughout the country.

This year we have monumentally adapted the newspaper to the changing times. For the first time in history the newspaper has launched a mobile app that allows members of the Aztec community to access news and information about SDSU wherever they are.

As part of our centennial celebrations we launched the Alumni Codices, in which SDSU alumni share their experiences as students and how that shaped them into the men and women they are today. You can see an example in this issue where an alumnus recalls seeing President John F. Kennedy speak at SDSU, and the president’s subsequent assassination.

Earlier this year we also launched a new Spanish section to better connect with the significant Hispanic population on campus.

Even as we grow and improve in mobile and online content, our print schedule has also changed this year to publish twice a week. Every Monday and Thursday a more robust edition of the newspaper is published and distributed on campus.

This change allows us to focus on timelier breaking news online and on social media. For the first time in years, we’re a true daily publication, publishing new content online every single day of the week.

Being a twice-weekly publication also allows us to save in publishing costs and to reinvest that money into creating a more attractive, in-depth newspaper. With that comes another first. The newspaper has had many names throughout the years, but for the first time ever it has two at the same time: The Daily Aztec and The Aztec.

As a daily news organization online, we are proud to continue calling ourselves The Daily Aztec, with our print publication (Th Aztec) taking on our older name to reflect its new print schedule.

As we look back on Nov. 26, 1913 when the first issue of The Normal News Weekly was published, we also must consider the future of the newspaper.

Today, the newspaper is solely funded by its own advertising revenue, although this wasn’t always the case. For years student fees, subscriptions and other funding sources were used to supplement the cost of providing news and information to the SDSU community.

In the coming years we must look back at the old models to find the key to a fiscally sound future.

It was best stated in that first issue, where an editorial titled “Support The Normal News” said: “You voted for the establishment and maintenance of a school newspaper. I is now up to every one of you, individually, to meet this responsibility. You know that a paper cannot subsist on San Diego climate and fricasseed air.”

How the newspaper is supported, and how it’s published and distributed, will surely change in the years to come. But on behalf
of a century of The Normal News Weekly, The Paper Lantern, The Aztec and The Daily Aztec staffs I make this promise: We’ll be here keeping the conversation with the SDSU community alive for the next 100 years.