The South End

The South End

:"This article is about the student newspaper. For the Boston, Massachusetts neighborhood, see South End."----Infobox Newspaper
name = The South End

caption = Front page of "The South End", November 4, 2004.
type = Daily
format = Tabloid
foundation = 1967
price = Free
owners = Wayne State University
publisher = WSU Publication Board
editor = Kyle Stefan
language = English
circulation = 8,000
headquarters = 5425 Woodward
Detroit, MI 48202
website = []

"The South End" is the official student newspaper of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, published in print and online. It was founded in 1967, and its publication is funded partly from university funds and partly from advertising revenues, and is distributed free of charge.

The paper is published five days a week during the fall and winter terms, and twice weekly during the summer. The daily printed circulation is 8,000 and the online readership community is over 30,000.

Because WSU is still largely a commuter school, most readers of the paper see it semi-regularly during their years on campus, and only sporadically (if at all) before matriculation or after graduation.

Sections of the paper

"The South End" has individual sections, namely: news (with a focus on campus news), sports, arts & entertainment, features, and perspective (opinions).

Syndicated features currently run by "The South End" include a weekly crossword and sudoku, provided by a McClatchy Wire Service.


Cartoons currently run by the paper have included "Perry Bible Fellowship" and "Melby Comics", the latter by a local Detroit artist, and occasionally cartoons by staffers and students. "The South End" has always had cartoons on a sporadic basis, but these have never had a full page of their own.

Craig Davis was a frequent, almost daily contributor until his graduation in 2004, with his "C'toons" concerning themselves mainly with national headlines. By contrast, Pedram Farnia's "Campus Life Comics" focused more on the foibles of the campus experience; these were approximately weekly and continued until the cartoonist's graduation in 2005. Aside from Brandon van Meter's "Not That Funny" in 2006 and Tomek Jankowski's cartoons in 2007, all the cartoons published in "The South End" since then have been from the McClatchy wire service.

Many of Jankowkski's cartoons are of the "Fearman" series, about an unlikely superhero; his other cartoons concern themselves with current events, such as the smoking ban in France or an address by President Bush. In the summer of 2007, Jankowski was officially recognized in the paper's staff box on page 2 as the cartoonist of the paper.

History of the paper

All old issues of the paper are archived in the Walter Reuther Library on campus.

The 1960s

Before "The South End", the paper was called "The Daily Collegian", having been "The Wayne Collegian" and "The Detroit Collegian" earlier on. The last year of "The Daily Collegian" was Volume 57, while the first year of "The South End" was Volume 58, in 1967. William Rea Keast, the University president at the time, objected to the name, which was intended to reflect the newspaper office's location in the south end of the campus, a working-class area that was the focal point of leftist politics at the time. The logo of the paper then consisted of the name in lowercase over a drawing of a city skyline. In its first few years, "The South End" published a lot of poetry.

On September 26, 1968, when John Watson took over as Editor-in-Chief, the paper changed radically, both in design and in editorial policy. What had been a more or less ordinary student newspaper became a radical broadside, with a more casual approach to layout, spelling, and some would maintain, accuracy. A drawing of a small black panther facing to the right was added on both sides of the logo, which remained the same. From October 15 to the end of the year, the black panther on the right was flipped to face left, for symmetry. This symbolized the paper's ties with the Black Panthers and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. The LRBW was an organization founded by Watson with other black radicals including Ken Cockrel that aimed to link the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) and other Revolutionary Union Movements in other auto plants, associated with the Panthers and active in Southeast Michigan in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During this era, the newspaper also ran a standing quotation under its masthead to the effect that, "One class-conscious worker is worth 100 students."

The 1980s

Twice during the late 1980s, left-leaning editors refused to run advertising from branches of the U.S. military. This resulted in at least one case in which the editor, Patricia Maceroni, was removed by the SNPB. She later resumed her editorship following a court challenge to the firing.

The 1990s

Much of the 1990s was spent trying to upgrade the paper's notoriously lax standards with in-house style and grammar guides, strict editorial policies banning opinions from articles, a coherent editorial page featuring opinions from both sides of the political spectrum and the introduction of the Associated Press wire to allow editors the use of AP stories in what was a steadily growing newspaper. Many of these standards fell by the wayside in subsequent years with the high turnover in staff common at university newspapers.

The hard work paid off. In 1995, the newspaper won a gold medal from the College Newspaper Critique of Columbia University. During 1996 it featured exclusive interviews with the state's gubernatorial candidates and first-hand coverage of the national election. In 1998, "The South End" changed from a tabloid to a broadsheet format, and added color pages. Weekday papers averaged 16-20 pages each, and special issues approached 72 pages. Distribution was extended as far as restaurants and bars downtown to the south and the New Center area to the north.

The 21st century

The 21st century brought considerable change to the paper, not all of it positive. Circulation of "The South End" spiked when guest columnist Joe Fisher wrote a controversial column entitled "Islam Sucks" in the February 26, 2002 issue. The column was mentioned by noted journalist Jack Lessenberry in his "Metro Times" column, saying that it should have been titled "Fundamentalist Islam sucks." "The South End" received so much mail about Fisher's column that they were printing letters for days, including letters from anti-defamation leagues.

Following the controversy the paper often lurched in an ideologically opposite direction, reflecting its lack of a coherent editorial philosophy at the time. When a student group consisting mostly of Arab-American women got together on campus to protest the 2003 occupation of Iraq on April 13, 2004, the paper reported on the protest the next day with a distinctly slanted headline reading "Students Rally for Justice." On January 19, 2006 the paper also provided an objective report on one of the Five Pillars of Islam with a headline reading "Performing The Hajj." And when the controversy over the Muhammad cartoons erupted later on, "The South End" consciously decided not to reprint the cartoons even though other student newspapers around the country did.

In 2003-2004, the circulation was highly unreliable and spotty when the task was entrusted to WSU's interoffice mail, which is often accused of losing documents. Although there are stands for the paper at many points throughout campus, they were sometimes either full of old issues or completely empty. It was that school year that a gray line drawing of a tower of Old Main (a campus building) was added to the paper's name atop the front page.

In April 2004, the Conservative Union, a student group at Wayne State University started a biweekly (now monthly) newspaper, "The Wayne Review", without university funding, to counter with a conservative viewpoint what was seen as the "South End"'s radical left-wing bias. Wonetha Jackson, then editor in chief of the "South End", wrote a column extending good wishes to the new paper. The "Wayne Review" often includes on its last page a section called "The Back End," an obvious parody of "The South End". "Wayne Review" editors often write letters to "The South End". In 2004 the Knight Ridder wire horoscope was occasionally replaced by the "Warrior Spirit Horoscope", with predictions meant for WSU students made using aspects invented by Johannes Kepler.

Another start-up newspaper, the "Warrior", has been publishing on and off since spring 2004. Its staff includes former "South End" staffers who've graduated.

For the April 1, 2005 issue, the paper ran a satire issue called "The Rear End", printed the date as "March 32, 2005" and ran fake news stories, such as "WSU partiers conquer, reign" "Raisin mistaken for roach, student still catches buzz" and "Warriors Basketball awarded National Championship." The issue was code-named "Onion", after the satirical newspaper "The Onion". For that issue, the paper had a color logo of humorously anthropomorphic Old Main tower with rear end exposed.

After that issue, the old gray line drawing was replaced by a color photo of the facade of Old Main with a blue sky, though the blue sky was removed after three issues. Although "The South End" often has misspellings in its articles, it occasionally has misspellings in its headlines. The headline of the June 8, 2005 lead story read "CULMA to be disolved [sic] " and its secondary headline was "Vote closes 18-year-old urban studies school and moves it's [sic] programs throughout WSU". "The South End" very rarely runs corrections.

In summer 2005, the Fusion (science and technology) and Campus Life section were cancelled to make more room for prepared full pages from the KRT wire service.

The paper did not recover from the usual summer advertising slump. As a consequence, the vast majority of issues of the Fall 2005 semester were 6 pages, with 8-page issues being the exception rather than the norm (compared to the Fall 2004 semester, when most issues were 8 to 10 pages, sometimes even 12).

A major redesign of the surface details of the paper took place with the first issue of the Winter 2006 semester. Justified paragraphs, a constant source of layout problems in the past, have been discarded completely in favor of ragged right margins like the "News" uses in many of its sections. The picture of Old Main on the front page has been removed, and the listing of the staff has been moved to a less prominent position on the second page using a smaller font.

The June 15, 2006 issue marked a 3-year record low number of pages, with just four.

The May 7, 2007 issue showed another redesign of surface details, including the use of lowercase in the masthead.

In September 2007, the paper changed from a daily to a weekly, distributed on Wednesdays (the same day as the "Metro Times" and "Real Detroit Weekly"). The change from broadsheet to tabloid scheduled for October [Kyle Stefan, "To our readers" "The South End" September 5-11, 2007, p. 3] took place with the October 3 - 9 issue.


The editor-in-chief is a student, usually a senior classman, who is selected annually and traditionally enjoys some autonomy in staffing and editorial decision-making. There is a general tendency for new editors to be selected from among the existing staff of the newspaper.

"The South End" is governed by the University's Student Newspaper Publication Board. This board consists of six student members appointed by the Student Council and three members appointed by the university president. According to the SNPB charter, the administration's appointees include one working journalist, preferably an alumnus/a of the WSU journalism program, a faculty member from the Department of Communication, and a financial professional from the university's operations division. The advisor to the paper and the editor-in-chief serve in (non-voting) ex-officio capacity. The board is responsible for oversight of the paper (particularly its budget and major expenditures and contracts, and for selecting its editor each year. A board chair (and vice chair) are elected by the members from the student members. The university administration hired a full-time professional general manager for the paper in 2004.

According to the WSU FY 2008 Budget, SNPB voted that "The South End" will be printing once per week during that fiscal year. Thus, daily external advertisements will not be realized and instead, all ads will be done on a weekly basis, albeit at a slightly higher advertising rate because the paper shelf life will be seven days versus one day. The internal revenue will increase slightly; however, university offices are not spending funds on "South End" advertising and are instead advertising via, pipeline, Warrior Net News, and other forms of less expensive promotion.

"The South End" is very dependent upon university subsidy and needs to meet their revenue goals in order to operate without loss. Thus, any change in publication schedule will impact advertising revenue.

During FY 2006 and FY 2007, TSE employed a full-time General Manager. Due to the decreasing revenue stream, the paper will not retain the services of a full-time General Manager for FY 2008. The administration is reviewing the option of consolidating the financial responsibilities within the Dean of Students office. As "The South End" moves to a weekly paper in FY 2008, based upon the recommendation of professors in the Journalism Department and studying trends in the newspaper industry, the financial aspects can be adequately serviced through consolidating these within the Dean of Students office and hiring of a student to cover the responsibilities of an advertising manager.

The printing and duplication costs will decrease due to going from a daily publication to a weekly publication. However, the paper will go from a six page paper to a 14 to 20 page paper depending on the amount of ads that are sold. The ration of ads to copy is approximately 50/50.

In addition, the focus on the daily news will shift to the website. The new website will be developed and maintained by College Publisher, a subsidiary of MTV, Inc., who specializes in creating college and university student websites. The new website should be up and running during the early part of the Fall 2007 semester. The development and maintenance of the website by College Publisher is entirely free.

Other expenses have increased based on the anticipation of establishing a better Web presence. This would include ancillary equipment such as live streaming, video and digital cameras, and software. At the same time, supplies and other expenses are being closely monitored and eliminated (i.e, unused telephone lines) when necessary.


External links

* [ "The South End" Online] Official website
* [ Text of Joe Fisher's article, and official email to the Wayne State University community that followed]
* [ "The South End" at] Temporary website because "persistent technical problems have kept our main website ... down."

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