A toast to another 130 years



The current Northern Iowan editing team. Back row (left to right): Mayra Villanueva (Spanish Editor), Diamond Roundtree (Campus Life Editor), Sophie Hoffmeier (Copy Editor), David Warrington (Sports Editor) and Mallory Schmitz (News Editor). Front row (left to right): Nixson Benitez (Executive Editor) and Emma Koehler (Managing Editor).

NIXSON BENITEZ, Executive Editor

The Northern Iowan, established in 1892, celebrates its 130 year anniversary

This year marks the 130th anniversary of the Northern Iowan newspaper. Throughout this week, our newspaper is providing a couple of events in which readers can interact with historical content and visit our office in the lower level in Maucker Union. The Northern Iowan will be hosting a Gala in the lower level of Maucker Union in our office. Starting on Monday, Nov. 7, it will be open from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m, and Tuesday it will be open from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Thursday, it will be open from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Friday, the Northern Iowan will be ending its celebration with a collaboration with the International Engagement office with a coffee hour starting at 4 p.m.

Student journalists have an important role in our community. Our journalists today draft the first page into the history books as we keep the University of Northern Iowa on record. This week, we celebrate and document our 130 years, but we also celebrate the editors, writers and photographers of our newsroom. Out of the 130 years, there have been huge accomplishments which transformed our university today as a whole. Throughout this issue, our readers will see former reporters from our history document a series of events in university’s history, including letters from former alumni sharing how the Northern Iowan newsroom transformed their life. 

With the digital landscape continuing to grow, our paper acknowledges that it had to make some adjustments. As many newspapers across the country experience financial cuts, our paper has had to make similar changes and transitions. Today’s paper and editors are an excellent example of resilience and adaptability to our community and our future demographics. 

Many of these adjustments create new paths for voices, but the 130 years also show a true test of how important it is to hold our own institutions accountable. This includes informing students and readers of events going on in the community. When the community needs an answer, our reporters are on the job. 

“Despite changing times and technology, everyone who has worked with the Northern Iowan is connected by our passion for journalism and our desire to share information with the UNI community,” News Editor Mallory Schmitz said. “The work we do as editors today wouldn’t be possible without the individuals who put together the very first issue 130 years ago. Every staff member strives for quality and greatness that has been established through our tradition and history as a college newspaper.” 

While student reporters and photographers are on the sideline writing and capturing every word of history are learning the process of reporting as we go. “This newspaper being independent and run by students leads to great, groundbreaking stories coming out that would’ve never been unearthed otherwise. It is a true accomplishment that this paper is celebrating 130 years of outstanding student journalism,” Sports Editor David Warrington said. 

Anelia K. Dimitrova, advisor and associate professor of the Department of Communication & Media said, “In writing for the paper, much like their senior colleagues elsewhere, student journalists place themselves in the front row of history. They pick, gather and report newsworthy happenings, thus creating the historic record of the times. They learn to serve the public, gain a sense of the importance of events and agency and impact their present-day peers.” 

History begins with its writers and who is involved in the process. With our editing staff being students, the Northern Iowan is unique as it allows for students to learn and grow. This platform gives the perspective of America’s next chapter and UNI’s next generation of Panthers. 

“Journalism is an excellent time capsule. It preserves monumental events, unforgettable tragedies and so much more. Seeing 130 years of consistent diligence to publish and preserve the history of our campus is an amazing accomplishment — not many school publications get to see this milestone,” Copy Editor Sophie Hoffmeier said.

Christopher Martin, Ph.D. advisor and professor of the Department of Communication & Media said. “The Northern Iowan is a platform for discussing issues at the university level at the state level (What should state support of public universities be?), and the national level (How do issues like abortion, immigration, and anti-government violence and sentiment make our country a good or bad place to live?). Those debates are crucial to all of us in becoming more informed and effective citizens. So, the practice of journalism is an incredibly important thing to be doing at an institution for higher education.” 

“It is amazing to think of how many writers and stories have made its way through the doors of these offices,” Managing Editor Emma Koehler said.

Campus Life Editor Diamond Roundtree echoed, “It’s important because UNI has a unique history, especially when it comes to literature. It is important to celebrate why we are a strong community today. It is the people who came before us!” 

Spanish Editor Mayra Villanueva said, “[The anniversary] is important because it shows the culture of UNI and the students.” 

From the first publication of the Normal Eyte to the rebranding of the Northern Iowan, this year in history marks the 130 year celebration. Today we set the next deadline, and tomorrow we continue reporting for the students, by the students. 

“If you think about the businesses that have endured the test of time for 130 years, you will be proud to know that you have contributed — albeit a minuscule footnote — to the march of history and you will be filled with gratitude for those who went before you and thankful for their gift of presence and continuity… It is a special place where the past, the present and the future converge through the conduit of the journalistic craft you learn to practice,” Dimitrova said.

Martin said, “I’m so proud that the UNI community has supported independent journalism for 130 years! The energy and commitment of the current staff gives me hope that the UNI students of 2151 will look back at us and say ‘we sustained this for another 130 years!’”