As a part of the Herald celebrating its 40th anniversary, each Wednesday we will be running some of our classic editorials from the early years of the Opinion page. Today, we offer an editorial from the first issue, Sept. 10, 1969, in which our first editor in chief introduces the Herald as an alternative to the radical Daily Cardinal.
Welcome to the pages of The Badger Herald. You, and others like you in the University of Wisconsin community, are about to witness a significant departure in the history of student journalism on the Madison campus. Since August 4, 1892, there has been but one newspaper here, and that newspaper, in spite of its official status, has considered itself “independent.” It has made all sorts of moves in recent years designed to strengthen that contention.
But there has been one big flaw in the running of “The Official Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin,” and that has been its monopoly status. The basic human drive for competition has been by default directed at the university administration, rather than at a competing newspaper, and the result, in the judgment of many, has been mediocrity at best, and demagoguery at worst.
Seventy-seven years is enough. It is time there was a truly “independent” student newspaper at Wisconsin, one which competes in the open marketplace, and must make its editorial and business decisions on the basis of that competitive market. A newspaper is not truly worthy of the name until it is clear of the artificially protective and restrictive atmosphere of “official student newspaper” status.
With true independence comes added responsibility, an item which need not be given significant attention when a student has nowhere else to turn for campus news. This newspaper will try to exercise responsibility, and will thus make a sincere effort to cover a variety of news, not just that of interest to the student of social science. This is not to say that material of a political nature is of only moderate importance. It does mean that there is legitimate news happening everywhere on campus, not just on Bascom Hill.
The search for legitimate and relevant news does not stop, either, with the political agitation of activists on the left. A basic flaw in the entire educational structure at the University of Wisconsin is a total dedication to problem?solving along the “liberal” or “radical” lines. This paper, on its editorial page, will give some attention to what are sometimes considered “conservative,” but more accurately termed “libertarian” approaches to attacking the many severe problems which plague our society. Perhaps in this way we can help stimulate some serious thought and careful introspection by those who consider themselves “intellectual,” but to date have really only devoted their “thought” to one set of alternatives.
The rest of the paper, though, should be worthy of being called “news,” and it must not be sheer propaganda. Whether or not it is construed as such by the reader is partly dependent upon the material itself, and partly upon the perspective of the reader. We will do our best, and welcome suggestions from anyone.
We welcome, too, those who are interested in staff positions with The Badger Herald. Phone or drop in at the Herald office.
This newspaper is an experiment. We are attempting to do that which has never been done before. To succeed in that experiment, we must have the support of all who believe in what we are doing.
The monopoly has ended.
Patrick S. Korten
Editor In Chief