The center of the front page of the March 30, 1922, edition of The Easterner read, “The Easterner comes forth to fulfill the needs of the school.” With this statement, The Ball State Daily News was born.
The staff of The Easterner reported for the Indiana State Normal School - Eastern Division, and maintained its name when that school became the Ball State Teachers College, soon after its initial publication. The publication began to outgrow its name, and by Feb. 26, 1937, The Easterner officially changed its name to The Ball State News. Although the staff of this edition called the previous name a “misnomer,” they reiterated the previous paper’s thought that, “As the school grows, the paper will grow right along with it.”
The Ball State News changed once more to The Ball State Daily News Sept. 12, 1968 and has made history under that name for the past 50 years. Despite the name remaining static since then, the paper has held true to its mission and continues to grow with the student body. In 1995, The Daily News launched its first website, a simple directory of archived material and HTML versions of recent articles. The website was relaunched every few years until its current version was revealed to readers in 2018.
But The Daily News has evolved in more ways than its digital presence. Throughout its 100-year history, the publication mostly maintained a large, broadsheet format; in 2017, that was changed to the current square, tabloid format in order to prioritize innovative new design and photography philosophies.
The Daily News has strived to evolve and change with its community. Through the persistent determination of each editorial board to make the paper better we aim to raise our editorial standards for captivating articles, powerful photos, eye-catching designs and an engaging online presence.
The Daily News’ history since our beginnings has been full of storied achievements and moments of excellence for our staff and readers alike. In terms of awards, The Daily News has earned multiple Associated College Press (ACP) Pacemaker awards, unofficially known as the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate journalism. When the ACP founded its collegiate journalism Hall of Fame in 1987, The Daily News was part of its first class of inductees.
As such, it’s each year’s editorial board’s purpose and expectation to uphold the standards and achievements of generations of collegiate journalists before us set. Beyond ACP recognition, The Daily News has been widely associated with quality since its beginnings. The National Scholastic Press Association, an early predecessor to the ACP, rated The Daily News as an “All-American Newspaper” as early as 1930, its highest classification for papers of its kind at the time, just eight years into our publication history. That rare standard of consistently high quality since our inception keeps our ambitions high to this day.
The Daily News has also earned Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Gold Crown honors for overall excellence in print and online content, spanning writing, editing, design, photography and more. Staff writers and editors have also earned individual honors from ACP and CSPA for design, writing and reporting. Alumni who have graduated from our paper have gone onto lead newsrooms at USA Today and work at countless prestigious and respected newspapers in the United States. The Daily News continues to offer a training ground for young journalists to learn and develop their crafts, for which they can later be recognized for their determination and excellence.
The awards received by The Daily News and expectations to strive for greatness comes from the love of our community. Without the student body’s support and courageous mentors from all departments, The Daily News would not be able to say it has been publishing as the watchdogs of Muncie for a centennial. The Muncie community and student body of Ball State’s campus create the news our staff has the opportunity to cover, and without our readers we’d have no purpose at all.
The past 100 years have been dedicated to community development and news that can change the world. The Daily News has proven it reports for the people — from publishing same-sex partner profiles in the 1980s to coverage of a 2020 student protest after a professor called the police on a Black student during class, The Daily News has been there, and we will continue to be. Through the university athletics wins, the national crises and the fear of COVID-19 freezing the world for months, the Daily News kept its readers informed. It hasn’t always been easy, but the resilience seen in the past century has been dedicated to the community The Daily News serves, and we are thankful for the 100 years of role models and readers who have helped get us through.
The past few years, we have seen people’s perceptions of journalism change. We have seen some people turn their backs on newspapers and the work we do as journalists, calling us liars and fakes. We have seen people in power degrade the work we do. This is the turn of a corner for not just The Daily News, but journalism as a whole as we enter this new environment where our work may not be valued. However, as The Daily News turns 100 and we celebrate, we realize our jobs now are as important as ever. The work doesn’t stop just because we’ve turned 100. In fact, the work has just started.
It is clear, as we look at the past 100 years of The Daily News, that our newspaper has seen changes some of us can’t even fathom experiencing. It has looked hardship in the face more times than any of us will in a lifetime.
The changes and obstacles The Daily News has seen over the past 100 years will continue to test our paper for as long as the news landscape changes, but true storytellers – at their core — will always remain true storytellers.
And The Daily News, as long as true storytellers stand behind it, will remain a reliable, credible, historical source of information for the Ball State community and beyond, hopefully for another 100 years to come.
-The Daily News Editorial Board