Staff Editorial: Relentlessly Civilian Since 1922 | Opinion

The most basic part of good journalism is persistence. This includes perseverance to keep working by editing articles. To persevere in pursuing a story that keeps running away. Persistence in seeing through red ink and struggling through red tape to find needed information. Simply put, good journalism must be relentless. It takes many hard-working journalists, editors, photographers and writers. This special issue is a collection of stories about the many staff members who contributed to the first century of The Eastern Progress.

The first issue of The Eastern Progress was published in February 1922, with front-page articles titled “Current enrollment equals 650” and “Eastern Normal may become college”. Burnam Hall was a year old and Keen Johnson Hall would not be built for 17 years. The Progress continued publication through the Great Depression of the 1930s and into World War II, even as Eastern Kentucky State College students died overseas during the war and enrollment fell below 300 in 1943.

The tumultuous 1960s led to rapid growth at Eastern Kentucky University with Progress’s coverage of civil rights marches on campus and University Drive. Doug Whitlock, a former Progress staffer and student, was relentless in his pursuit of student opportunities when he served as the university’s president several years after graduation.

Marla Ridenour, The Progress’s first female sports editor, tirelessly reported that she was striving to gain access to spaces previously reserved for men. Rob Carr discovered his talent for photography in the 80s while working for The Progress, and went on to pursue a career in photojournalism that spanned decades and continents. Devone Holt and Ted Schultz both reported in the 90s, as the pace of change in newspapers accelerated. In 2001, the staff stood firm as it covered the first foreign attacks on American soil since World War II.

Wesley Robinson didn’t give in, as he not only managed to work for The Progress, but also graduate from college on his second chance. Jacob Blair lobbied for transparency at the university. And we won’t back down now because the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the way we report the news.

The Eastern Progress has strived to provide reliable information during wars, depressions and recessions, a pandemic, and periods of university growth and decline. Despite these challenges, thousands of students have been helped through these pages, either by contributing to them or by reading them.

It is a great honor and a privilege to be able to work for this newspaper, and especially to be able to mark 100 years of incessant reporting and to be the voice of the students. We look forward to another century of The Eastern Progress.

About Julius Southworth

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