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History of the Student Newspaper

In December 1916, the students of Washington State Normal School published the first issue of Student Opinion. For the first year, students published the newspaper every two weeks, using limited advertising to help defray expenses. By the following year the newspaper had become a four-page weekly with a mailing list of 455 readers. During the 1920s, financial problems plagued the newspaper, but it managed to regain solvency by increasing student fees.

In 1927, the newspaper's name was changed to the Campus Crier. For a time, the Associated Student Body demonstrated its influence over the Campus Crier by selecting the paper's editor. However, beginning in 1932, a faculty adviser made this selection.

At times in the mid-twentieth century, the newspaper addressed controversial topics like war and peace, the United Nations, UNESCO, civil rights, and freedom of speech and press. On campus, the newspaper played an important role in shaping university policy. For example, it successfully encouraged the adoption of the constitution for the Student Government Association, advocated an Honor System at Central, and opposed sororities and fraternities on campus.

In 1984, the newspaper's name changed again to the Observer. At present, the newspaper is published on a weekly basis during the academic school year. As in the past, the newspaper seeks to provide complete, accurate, dependable information to the CWU campus and community; to provide a public forum for the free debate of issues, ideas and problems; and to be the best source for information, education and entertainment news.

To learn more, please see: Samuel R. Mohler. The First 75 Years: A History of Central Washington State College, 1891-1966. Ellensburg, WA: Central Washington State College, 1967. See also: "About." CWU Observer.