Throwback Thursday – The Evolution of WKU Student News Media

This week Throwback Thursday visits the Student Publications media offices at Western Kentucky University, remembering the printed weekly editions of the College Heights Herald and the annual Talisman yearbook. Home of these two media outlets, plus the Cherry Creative Agency and Student Publications Advertising, the Student Pubs office functions similarly to a modern news hub.

Producing the Herald and Talisman gave students real life newsroom experience to sharpen their journalism skills with reporting, editing, meeting deadlines, and even finding advertising revenue streams to keep the paper or yearbook in print.

The first Herald was printed in 1925, and the student-led newspaper became the campus trusted news. Winner of 18 Pacemakers, the Herald is nationally-celebrated for its excellence, especially in these last dying days of daily and weekly print media as readers choose digital news over the tangible ink-smeared bylines. The Herald ceased printing its weekly paper last year, and has transformed into a daily e-newsletter sent to more than 25,000 emails with a busy social media presence. The only edition of the Herald being printed this year is a monthly newsmagazine with more in-depth investigative stories.

The same fate has been sealed for the Talisman. First published in 1924 as an annual feature of student life and campus activities, Talisman has won 21 Pacemakers to date. In 2016, the annual yearbook print ceased, and morphed into a semi-annual magazine with a sharp eclectic online presence.

Director of Student Publications Chuck Clark says the College Media Association has applauded these changes, featuring WKU Student Publications in educational sessions highlighting student media departments around the country for leading the way during this evolution of journalism and the way news is consumed.