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Since its beginnings in 1899 as a “Normal School,” there has been a student newspaper at Western Washington University. From Normal Messenger to Northwest Viking to WWCollegian to Western Front (and other names in between), the student newspaper has chronicled the social, athletic, academic and creative life of the institution throughout its trajectory from teacher-training college to a prominent university with more than 15,000 students.
Thanks to the generosity of donations from Cindy Hacherl (Class of 1984) and Don Hacherl and Bert Halprin (class of 1971) more than a century of back editions of the student newspaper are being digitized by Western Libraries Special Collections.
Cindy Hatcherl and Bert Halprin are former Western Front student journalists. “It’s often said that journalism is the first draft of history, and thanks to this wonderful gift from Cindy, Don and Bert, the first draft of Western’s history — as published in the Front — will now be available to a much broader audience,” said John Harris, interim chair of the Department of Journalism.
The process of scanning and digitizing the back issues is ongoing but what has been scanned thus far can be accessed at http://content.wwu.edu/cdm-wfront/browse.php The culture of the times, the evolution of the campus and the sweep of campus leaders and activities all emerge from back editions. Readers can learn about campus and local life in 1899, read about how people coped with the Great Depression or local concerns as World War II loomed.
Digitizing the Western student newspaper was initiated by Marian Alexander; Tamara Belts, Sandy Celec, Leslie Lowery, and Peter Smith are library personnel currently working on the project. More than 55,000 pages will be digitized when the project is completed. Readers will be able to browse or search the newspapers from anywhere at any time.
“We hope this will be a great resource for students, the community and those doing research on local history,” said Tamara Belts, Special Collections manager.
The project was facilitated through the efforts of the Western Washington University Foundation. For more information on this or other Digital Collections available online via Western Libraries, please see: http://library.wwu.edu/digitalcollections
(repost from the Office of University Communications)