As we all wrap up classes, projects and papers for the semester, The Bison concludes a semester of work as well. After nine issues and 16 weeks of work, we distributed the last paper of 2019 today. Not only is it the last paper of the calendar year — but it is also the last paper of the decade. So, as we bid farewell to the ’10s, it seems only appropriate to look back at The Bison’s first issue of the decade on Jan. 29, 2010.
Under the direction of Blake Matthews as editor-in-chief, The Bison of 10 years ago certainly had some differences from the publication you may be used to now.
The overall design of the newspaper has changed a lot in the last 10 years. The 2010 regular edition was 12 pages, rather than our now normal eight. However, only four of these pages were printed in color, with the rest in classic black and white. In general, there seemed to be fewer photos per page, and the stories were arranged in six columns rather than four.
The content would certainly seem out of place in a current issue as well, which makes sense for a newspaper, of course. The main news stories in the 2010 issue were a summary of President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address and Harding’s efforts to provide aid to Haiti after the devastating earthquake Jan. 12, 2010.
There was a whole page dedicated to entertainment, and the story topics here included the unveiling of the first iPad and Simon Cowell leaving “American Idol” for his new show, “The X Factor.” Other interesting pieces of content included the announcement of Harding’s physical therapy graduate program, weekly crossword and Sudoku puzzles, and a story about two Harding University in Florence students getting arrested by mistake in Italy.
While there were many elements starkly different between the first issue of the decade and this last one, I was also shocked by how much stood the test of time.
In the opinions section, Michael Claxton had already established a regular residence, although his column had yet to be titled the beloved “Just the Clax.”
The opinions editor had a weekly column, and the editor-in-chief contributed a piece as well.
At the bottom of one of the pages, multiple tweets from students had been printed, just like we occasionally do now. My favorite came from @sarahjanekyle: “I’m going to be that crazy old lady that escapes from the insane asylums, not because I’m crazy but because I want to see if I can.”
There was a news story about Harding students striving to increase recycling efforts, and stories of athletic successes in the sports section, especially for men’s basketball guard junior Sam Brown. While the details of most of these stories would not make sense if printed today, the overarching topics and themes wouldn’t be too out of place.
Though The Bison looks different now, I’m encouraged that the purpose and mission seems to have held fast — to serve and inform the Harding community. That community has changed in the last decade, so it makes sense that the paper has changed some as well. But at its core, I think much more has stayed the same.
There’s no telling how different The Bison will be in another 10 years. The format may be unrecognizable; the content may be related to topics we can’t even imagine yet. Who knows?
I am fully confident, however, that those future students will be doing what they can to serve and inform the community, just as we try to do now. So, as we look back at the ’10s, I am also looking ahead to the ’20s. The Bison will do our best to start the decade just as we’ve ended it: serving and informing.