During the past 20 years, Larry Stains, an associate professor of journalism and assistant chair of the journalism department, has walked to a newspaper stand on Main Campus and picked up the latest print edition of The Temple News.
“I started reading it as soon as I set foot on campus,” Stains said. “I can’t imagine not reading it. And why? Because I wanted to hear what the students were thinking about.”
The Temple News has provided readers like Stains with weekly content ranging from the latest campus and community news to trends and insights into student life since 1921. The publication celebrated its 100th year on Sept. 19, and students and faculty reflected on its community impact and expressed optimism about the newspaper’s future impact on Temple.
“It’s a good start,” Stains said. “I look forward to the next 100.”
The Temple News publishes daily online and biweekly in print. In recent years, they have utilized social media, making it easier for students to stay informed on campus updates. Erin Maguire, a freshman theater arts major, learned about the university’s vaccine mandate through a Temple News Instagram post.
“It was through The Temple News that I found out that the vaccine was mandatory,” Maguire said. “I find out, like different, important things like that through following it on social media. It helps me stay informed.”
The Temple News has informed students, like Matheus Fronza, a senior Latin American studies and economics major.
After reading an opinion letter from Melissa Bellerjeau, a 2019 Temple journalism alumna, about the controversy surrounding O’Connor Plaza, Fronza’s perspective on the inner workings of the university changed because he felt the Temple’s actions were contradicting messages they sent about diversity and representation, he said.
In 2017, the university renovated Founder’s Garden, located in the center of Main Campus on Polett and Liacouras walks, and unveiled O’Connor Plaza, named in honor of former Board of Trustees Chairman, Patrick O’Connor, and his wife, Marie O’Connor, an inaugural Rome Board member, The Temple News reported.
However, the renaming was considered disrespectful to both the Temple community and Russell Conwell, the university’s founder, because Patrick O’Connor defended Bill Cosby, a 1971 Temple alumnus and former Board of Trustees member, after sexual assault allegations in a 2005 trial involving Andrea Costand, former director of operations for women’s basketball, Bellerjeau wrote.
“This place reminds us of the university’s history and represents the beauty of our community and its future,” Bellerjeau wrote. “O’Connor’s name casts an ugly and negative light on that.”
The university’s lack of response and continued support of someone who defended Cosby contradicted ideals preached in their #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, which promotes diversity and safety for all students at colleges in the United States, and made him more aware of how ideals preached by the university conflict with their more business-oriented interests, Fronza said.
Temple student reporters’ ability to push back on administration and provide an outlet for more diverse conversations through Intersection and Opinion pieces is why Scott Dunn, a first-year biomedical sciences graduate student, finds The Temple News an important aspect of the university.
Dunn values the way student reporters can both recognize and provoke change through articles like “Temple: increase diversity in the classroom”, an opinion piece about Temple needing to hire more professors of color to diversify classrooms, as this type of reporting encourages learning about other people’s cultures and debunks stereotypes, he said.
“It encourages open dialogue amongst different parties, different people of different customs or religions or beliefs,” Dunn said.
Linn Washington, journalism professor of 25 years, has watched the publication grow, transform and tackle controversial and nuanced subjects like crime, budgetary processes and financial dealings of Temple administration, he said.
Washington values the way The Temple News has cultivated an understanding and appreciation for news media within the community for an entire century, he said.
“I think that any entity that has existed for 100 years deserves a compliment, and the fact that an entity has existed for 100 years speaks volumes about its role and its function,” Washington said.
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