For those daring enough to brave the dim staircase, which descends into a bunkered newsroom, the journey proves to be formative and foundational.
The Daily Texan has served The University of Texas campus for more than 100 years, providing news coverage and entertainment value, yet it also exists as a worthwhile training ground for budding journalists and their ethos carried into real-world practice.
Likewise, daily editions serve a dual purpose. Each issue contains the news and stories of the day, forever chronicling the historical trends of UT Austin’s campus and community, and also capture the time and commitment of every staffer who is devoted to learning on the job.
Thanks to the persistence of many, including “The Friends of the Daily Texan” alumni network, the paper’s complete archive is now available for all to see online. These digital archives, housing all editions dating back to 1900, showcase the university’s rich history and the people who championed it into print.
“It’s an important thing to happen,” said John Reetz, Friends of the Daily Texan president. “It’s significant to everyone, current students included.”
Reetz and fellow Texan alumni initiated the idea to put the archive online as many as five years ago. The digital archive, they reasoned, has historical, educational and financial worth. More than a look into the past, it is also a resource for research and records.
Certain prints could also be marketed as commemorative keepsakes. In today’s news climate, “every dollar counts,” Reetz said.
“If you look at it with a marketing mind, what in the archive has value?” Reetz said.
Reetz credits Gerald Johnson, Director of Texas Student Media, for his persistence and willingness to keep the digitization project on track. Johnson enlisted Paul Rascoe, who served UT-Austin as a campus librarian for nearly 40 years, to manage the project.
Rascoe worked with Newspaper Archive to oversee the scanning of 118 years of newspapers.
“The fun part is now reading them online,” Rascoe said. “The history of the university is very interesting. It’s fascinating, and it’s about time it’s all available to students and faculty.”
Archives are available at newspaperarchive.com, and all current UT students and staff can access the archive for free. Those interested in supporting the ongoing archival effort can visit friendsofthedailytexan.org/donations.