The State News

The State News

name = The State News

type = Daily newspaper
owners = Independent
format = Berliner
foundation = 1909
headquarters = East Lansing, Michigan
website = []

"The State News" is the student newspaper of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. It is supported by a combination of advertising revenue and a $5 refundable tax that students pay at each semester's matriculation. Though "The State News" is supported by a student tax, the faculty and administration do not interfere in the paper's content. "The State News" is governed by a Board of Directors, which comprises journalism professionals, faculty and students. Unlike many newspapers, "The State News" does not employ an Ombudsman. In 2008, the Princeton Review's guide to the top 366 colleges [] ranked "The State News" as the #11 best college newspaper in the country. Also in 2008, the Society of Professional Journalists named "The State News" among the nation's three best daily college newspapers.


"The State News" traces its roots to March 10, 1909.It was first dubbed "The Holcad", chosen by the president of the then-Michigan Agricultural College. Holcad was the name of a ship that carried news from seaport to seaport in ancient Greece. The newspaper was seen as a way for students to defend themselves against charges of hooliganism by the Lansing press.

In 1925, the newspaper changed its name to the "Michigan State News". Eventually, this got clipped to "The State News". The paper was overseen by a university-run publications board.

In 1971, the newspaper was spun off from the university into a nonprofit corporation, State News Inc., governed by its own board of directors. The move was designed to protect the student publication from interference by university administrators who might disagree with its content. Its incorporation also protected the university from liability of anything published in "The State News". The newspaper's masthead references this, referring to the publication as "Michigan State University's Independent Voice."

In August 2005, "The State News" moved its offices from the Student Services Building, where it had resided since the building's opening in 1957, to an off-campus location at 435 E. Grand River Ave. Prior to its location at the Student Services Building, the newspaper had its offices in the MSU Union.

Controversy and criticism

Conservative critics argue that "The State News" has a liberal lean because the paper's editorials often support Democratic candidates and positions.

The paper's liberal cartoons have also been controversial. In 2000, "The State News" published "Fetus-X" which regularly contained psychadelic pictures of Jesus breakdancing with dead babies. After protests from the Catholic League, "The State News" fired artists Eric Millikin and Casey Sorrow.

On Veterans Day, 2005, editorial cartoonist Mike Ramsey drew a piece that showed a World War II soldier who liberated concentration camps conversing with a modern-day soldier who was shown holding a torture device. In response, Young Americans for Freedom and the College Republicans picketed the offices of "The State News" and called for Ramsey's dismissal. Ramsey was not fired.

"The State News" has also come under fire for running advertisements from controversial sources. In 2003, an advertisement showed Palestinians celebrating in the street while Israelis lit candles and prayed. The caption stated that these were the reactions to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Pro-Palestinian groups protested outside the Student Services building and demanded their taxes be refunded.

In 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments regarding "The State News"' lawsuit against MSU over Freedom of Information Act issues.

Journalistic opportunity

Many of the paper's staffers have gone on to professional internships and jobs at the nation's largest newspapers. Alumni of "The State News" work for news organizations around the world. The newspaper has won the Associated Collegiate Press' Pacemaker award 15 times. The award, considered one of college journalism's top prizes, was won most recently in 2006. It won in 2003 for coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and a campus riot later in the spring of that year. Reporters often travel to cover news, especially to out-of-state sporting events. Clinics and professional development opportunities are provided. A staff photographer at the paper has been named Michigan's College Photographer of the Year by the Michigan Press Photographers' Association each year for most of the last decade.

Publishing and distribution

Free copies of the paper are available [ online] or at green-colored newsstands around campus and the city. "The State News" prints 27,500 copies of the paper Monday through Friday during the Fall and Spring semesters, and 14,000 copies five days a week during the summer. Those circulation figures make "The State News" one of the largest collegiate newspapers in the country. The paper is not published on weekends (however, does have a weekend edition distributed on Friday), holidays, or semester breaks. "The State News" has a readership of more than 48,000 students, faculty, staff and residents of the cities surrounding the university.

History of editors in chief

* Mel Reiter 1958;
* Ben Burns early 1960s;
* Bruce Fabricant 1963-64;
* Jim Spaniolo 1967-68;
* Edward Brill 1968-69;
* Susan Ager, 1974-75
* Michael Tanimura 1977-78;
* James L. Smith, 1978-79;
* Jim Mitzelfeld 1982-83;
* Joe Serwach, 1985-86
* Kevin Roberts, 1987-88
* Kelly Root, 1988-89
* John Secor, 1989-1990
* Bill Frischling, 1992-1993
* Suzette Hackney 1993-94;
* Rachel Perry, 1994-95
* Christine Macdonald 1996
* Chris Solari 1997
* Jonathan Brunt 1998;
* Sharon Terlep 1999;
* David Miller 2000;
* Mary Sell 2001;
* Jeremy Steele 2002;
* Kevin J. Hardy 2003;
* Ed Ronco 2004;
* Amy Bartner 2005;
* Nick Mrozowski 2006;
* Margaret Harding 2007;
* Laura Misjak 2007 (summer);
* Laura Misjak 2008;
* Matt Bishop, 2008 (summer);


In 2006, the State News Alumni Association [] honored the first 15 inductees to its State News Hall of Fame. The first class included:

* A.A. Applegate, MSU journalism chairman and mentor to students at "The State News", 1936-55;

* Len Barnes, news staff and editor, 1938-42, who along with Sheldon Moyer, is credited with taking "The State News" from a three-day-a-week paper to a five-day-a-week paper featuring a wire service;

* Lou Berman, general manager, 1961-1972, who is credited with saving the newspaper from potential ruin;

* Ben Burns, reporter and editor, 1958-63, who is a former executive editor of "The Detroit News" and head of the journalism program at Wayne State University;

* Phil Frank, cartoonist, 1961-65, who went on to publish the strip "Farley" in the "San Francisco Chronicle";

* Carole Leigh Hutton, reporter and editor, 1975-78, who helped hold "The State News" together during a staff walkout in the 1970s and the first female publisher and editor of the "Detroit Free Press";

* Charles P. “Lash” Larrowe, faculty columnist, 1971-1989, who was an economics professor emeritus famous for his satirical column;

* Ron Linton, night editor and editor, 1947-1950, who was a senior consultant for the Carmen Group, served in high-level positions in Congress, worked on John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign and was named director of Economic Utilization Policy at the Department of Defense;

* Dick Milliman, news staff, 1946-50; board member, 1978-85, 1991-96, 2002-present, who is the founder of Milliman Communications, which has published more than 25 community newspapers in Michigan.

* Jim Mitzelfeld, editor in chief, 1982-83, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 as a reporter for "The Detroit News" and is now an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department

* Jim Quello, editor, 1935, who served on the Federal Communications Commission for more than 23 years, including 11 months as interim chairman in 1993;

* Dave Rood, news staff, 1946-50, who in 1977 as editor of "The Escanaba Daily Press" was asked by his paper’s corporate publisher to run two stories about President Jimmy Carter. When Rood refused, saying the stories were shoddy journalism, he was fired. His stand for journalistic principles earned him national attention and a place in the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame;

* Jim Spaniolo, editor in chief, 1967-68, a former dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences who in 2003 was named president of the University of Texas at Arlington;

* James P. Sterba, news staffer, 1960s, a foreign correspondent, war correspondent and national correspondent for three decades at "The New York Times" and then at "The Wall Street Journal". He is currently a senior correspondent in the New York bureau of "The Wall Street Journal";

* Jerry ter Horst, reporter and night editor, 1941-43, who served as President Gerald Ford's press secretary but resigned one month later to protest the pardon of Richard Nixon.

External links

*"The State News" is online at []
*As of August 2006, "The State News" has a new entertainment website that includes a Lansing area Dining Guide, Music/Movie Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and a calendar with upcoming events. The website is called Lansing Lowdown and is online at []
* The State News Alumni Association is online at

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