The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, December 12, 1978, Image 7

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

r./vV-.':- - '/f.
’ • i
A hundred years —
and still going strong
The Battalion celebrates hundredth year
of service to Texas A&M University
Battalion Staff
What s black and white and has
been read for 100 years?
The Battalion, which celebrates
its centenntial birthday this month,
has been published under various
names and formats since December
It started out as The Texas Colle
gian, became The College Journal in
1889 and then The Battalion in
The Texas Collegian was a
monthly newspaper published by
the Austin and Calliopean literary
societies. One of its editors was
Temple Houston, son of Sam Hous
In its eight pages, the first Colle
gian had articles concerning eloqu
ence, the antiquity of man, the
necessity of a college library and an
editorial exhorting “Youth of Texas,
do not Sow Wild Oats.”
The Collegian also informed the
19th century Aggies of upcoming
events. It advertised “Dances by
the boys every Friday night.”
However, the dances were
“Strictly Private. No young ladies
are expected or allowed to attend
them. This is to prevent duels.”
The editors of The Collegian
noted, “Not more than two boys will
be allowed to visit Bryan henceforth
on Saturdays. This is to prevent
nervous prostration.”
From 1889 to January 1893 the
publication was called The College
Journal. It was a pocket-size news
paper with a fancy gee-gaw cover
which was popular for magazines in
that Victorian era.
In the fall of 1893, the paper was
officially named The Battalion.
Although there have been many
changes in the style and format of
The Battalion, some things remain
the same.
A letter to the editor in one of the
early editions complained about too
much English homework. Another
student shot back that if he didn’t
like it at Texas A&M, he “should re
sign and go elsewhere.”
In almost every year since its be
ginning, The Battalion has printed
In its eight pages, the first Col
legian had articles concerning
eloquence, the antiquity of man,
the necessity of a college library
and an editorial exhorting
“Youth of Texas, do not Sow
Wild Oats.”
letters from people who feared that
the school’s traditions were being
violated or forgotten. In dozens of
articles over the years, criticism of
the football team was condemned.
WIN OR LOSE,” a 1938 article ad
The first pictures ever printed in
the paper were in the June, 1893
commencement issue.
By 1904, The Batt was putting out
weekly editions.
In 1908, seven juniors of The Batt
staff were suspended from school
because of an editorial which
criticized then-President Har
rington. The head of the English
0§=y xn* *i^T 104
T. C. IJ. Frogs to Arrive Friday Afternoon
tm ti.O'o'- presidev» Vfpyer VUts
i)m of fWsi
Vrni*. Squatfs
AftfHlHi h'M
Ihrm tjMn ■
, . V: :
department was then ordered to
censor all future issues of The Bat
By 1916, The Battalion proc
laimed it had “the largest college
circulation in the South!”
When World War I broke out,
the weekly editions did not get the
news out fast enough. Then a faculty
sponsored Daily Bulletin was pub
lished by the publicity department
of Texas A&M.
A Publications Board was formed
changes ‘for better’
Past editors speak out on Batt
By Diane Blake
Battalion Staff
h rts 100-year history, the Battal
ion has had a wide variety of for-
a ts, policies and problems,
of the Batt in different eras
relate just how much the news-
jfiper has changed over the years,
/our former editors, Carl Bran-
O'n, E.M. Rosenthal, James K.B.
Nelson and Thomas DeFrank talked
W°ut their experiences as editor of
th e school newspaper,
j. Carl Brannin, 09, edited the Bat-
lauon when he was a student in
• He graduated with a degree in
engineering, but says he’s
n °t an Aggie.
We were called
ack then, he said.
Long Horns
During World War II, E.M.
Menthol, 42, was editor of the
^ teas the highest-paying
)°o for students in the South-
foesf Conference,” Rosenthal
i l bme editors were elected
y the student body. The publica-
°n, a 4-page weekly, had about ° n
or four students working on it.
rannin participated in the stu-
ent uprising of 1908 in which he
1 not attend classes for six weeks
n a non-violent protest. The stu-
ents refund to a ttend because
h ey disagreed with
dent Harrir
some of Presi-
ngton’s policies. How-
er , they did attend drill and eat at
e j 11 ® 55 hall. They were not sus-
e n ed from school for their par-
nation in the protest.
Uiu-ing World War II, E.M. Ro-
; n al, 42, was editor of the Batt.
sh r) WaS highest-paying job for
Southwest Confer-
m ^ e ’, h°senthal said. “I got $55 a
n h and the editor of the Long-
0r n in Austin got $50.”
tim 1S Paper was published three
es a week and was a morning pa-
a j , worked during the day
ad it printed at night,” he said,
ton c' Sent hal became interested in
f r A ln g on the Battalion after his
eshrnan year at Texas A&M Uni-
fro S *y when he received a letter
111 the editor inviting him to work
on the newspaper.
“I was really pleased. I felt really
special and singled out,” Rosenthal
“Then I found out that anybody
that had made an A in freshman
English had been asked to work,
he said.
The former editor said the Batt
staff wasn’t “as independent as they
would like to have been” in regards
to administrative pressures over
newspaper content.
One interesting article they did
publish was on Dec. 9, 1941. The
Battalion read, “Jap planes reported
over San Francisco.”
“We were the only state news
paper that carried it because we
printed at night.”
After the war, James K.B. Nel
son, ’49, edited the Batt. In addition
to the newspaper, the students pub
lished a monthly tabloid.
The paper averaged 8-12 pages,
with 16-page special editions. Many
of the students on the staff were
veterans returned from World War
H. . ,
Nelson said that while he worked
the paper, the first Associated
Press wire service to the Batt office
began, the first automatic press was
purchased, and a radio sports pro
gram was begun.
He said the newspaper was not
reviewed before publication by the
faculty, and the administration was
“very interested in having a strong,
active, quality newspaper. >
However, Thomas DeFrank, 67,
found in 1966 when he became
editor that the administration s at
titude toward censorship had
changed. , . . , „ ^
He was fired from his job as Batt
editor in October 1966 in a dispute
over censorship. The president of
the University, Earl Rudder, and
the student publications director,
Jim Lindsey, felt that the Battalion
should be a puff sheet for the admin
istration,” DeFrank said.
“They felt that nothing in the
paper should be critical of the Uni
versity and they had sole authority
over what was critical,” he said.
“They had the right to see every
thing before publication. We left all
copy in the copy basket at night and
if Lindsey didn’t like something - a
cartoon, editorial, or news story - he
threw it out,” DeFrank said.
DeFrank said he thought this
type of censorship “stifles student
DeFrank is now Newsweek
magazine’s White House corre
spondent. “If my life had gone to
hell I might have been bitter,’ he
said of his dismissal.
“I feel I had the last laugh,” he
DeFrank said the Battalion “has
come a long way from the basemenl
of the YMCA building” where the
Batt office was located in the early
“It has really grown up. The;
people who run it have become
more enlightened. Texas A&M has
really changed for the better,” he
“To work for the paper you
have to be crazy or love it,” the
White House correspondent
Today there is no censorship
exercised by the administration on
the content of the Battalion, said
Bob G. Rogers, head of the De
partment of Communications.
DeFrank said there were about
12 student staff - members when he
was editor, and the newspaper
looked much as it does today. How
ever, then the newspaper had no af
filiation with the journalism de
Battalion staffers got no course
credits for their work on the paper.
“It was a labor of love,” DeFrank
“To work for the paper you have
to be crazy or love it,” the White
House correspondent said. “I love it
and I’m probably crazy, too.
“Then the paper was the center of
your universe or you didn t last
long. We really had to hump it to
put the thing out,” he said.
R-o.t. c
in 1931, with goals of putting an end
to “slipshod, haphazard” ways of
After being published weekly for
36 years, in 1939, The Batt began
publishing three times a week.
That year also was the beginning
of publishing during the summer.
However, during World War II,
paper, printer and student short
ages forced The Batt to return to
once-a-week publication.
The Battalion resumed publica
tion three times a week in 1946.
In the school year 1947-48, The
Batt got its first news wire, the As
sociated Press, and its first automa
tic press.
In February 1954, the entire staff
resigned their positions at the paper
to protest a Student Life committee
action which they charged would
censor the college newspaper.
The committee adopted a resolu
tion to create a student publications
committee which would “advise
with and assist the editors in” the
forming of policies.
The then co-editors, Ed Holfjnd
Jerry Bennett, said censorship could
result from the committee because
if an editor didn’t follow a commit
tee member’s suggestion concern
ing newspaper content, he could be
In 1958 several hundred copies of
The Battalion were burned in pro
test of the newspaper’s stand on
coeducation. Editor Joe Tindel also
found about a hundred copies in his
office — torn neatly in half.
The previous issue contained an
editorial which said the move to
ward coeducation at Texas A&M
could be accomplished if it were
implemented gradually.
“After an ample period in which
both the Corps and Civilians are
deeply cognizant of their respon
sibilities to A&M’s future and its
traditions in relations to the stu
dents, co-education on a full-time
basis can be instituted,” the edito
rial said.
The result would be “Strong
Corps and Civilian groups embrac
ing the young women of Texas to
make to Spirit of Aggieland even
stronger,” it continued.
In 1966, the censorship again was
a problem. Editor Thomas DeFrank
was fired in a dispute over whether
the Student Publications Commit
tee head should review copy before
the paper went to press.
Many changes have occurred at
The Batt in the 12 years since De-
Frank was fired. Now the paper’s
content is solely the responsibility of
the student editor, with no censor
ship by the faculty or administra
The office has moved from the
YMCA building to Reed McDonald
and in 1975 journalism students
began submitting stories to The Bat
talion as part of some course re
For the first time, student publi
cations and the journalism depart
ment would be coordinated. The
new program was designed to
provide student with more profes
sional working experience and The
Battalion with an increase in man
In July 1976, The Battalion ob
tained its own computer system
which eliminates the need for spe
cially trained typesetters for news
At the beginning of the 1977-78
school year The Battalion became a
daily for the first time, and the fol
lowing summer it began three-
times-a-week publication for the
first time.
The first elected woman editor,
Kim Tyson, was elected to head The
Battalion starting this semester.
One other woman, Roxie Hearne,
took over the editor’s position for a
spring semester, when David
Breedlove resigned in the fall of
1975. And Debbie Krenek was
elected summer editor this last sum
mer. Since the early 1970s, when
women were admitted to Texas
A&M, they have held various ed
itorial positions on The Battalion
The paper has seen other changes
in 1978. The Batt now averages 12
pages an issue. The advertising vol
ume is also up about 27 percent
from 1977-78.
Other additions have been
“Focus,” an entertainment section
published every Thursday, and The
Agriculturist, which was published
for the first time Dec. 3 as a tabloid
insert by agricultural communica
tions majors, and is scheduled to
become a once-a-semester publica
tion. .
“We worked all night and
glected our studies and killed our
selves to get the paper out,” De-
Frank said.
“Well, we have Infantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery,
and Navy, but no Waves . . . yet!”
Courtesy of University Archives
Riilrwn Bin
Sih L«trps \rea
?****• <«* T; VggW* to H*y IMis
I..«*>•<- „ j y\»,
vi,i,r.>« i-at
Intramural <m»H
1« (« t I ruirr
wav Thiv Beck