Category:The Universe

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The Universe

The Universe is the laboratory newspaper for Brigham Young University and was started shortly after the school was founded. It was first titled Y News, which was then changed to The White and Blue, and finally to The Daily Universe. In April 2012, The Daily Universe transitioned to a weekly print edition and a digital online product; the name also changed to The Universe.

General Information

The paper is printed once a week, except during school breaks and some holidays. It is distributed free of charge on BYU campus and is sent around the world to alumni and friends of the university for a small fee.

The editors, writers, photographers, and copy editors are all students. The opinion pieces in the paper are overseen by an editorial board that includes student staff, professional staff, university professors and local professionals.

One of the paper's most popular features are the letters to the editor, which routinely become a forum for campus issues or ideas. Some issues will be argued back and forth for weeks. Some (in)famous topics are parking on campus, Right v. Left politics, dating, the wearing of socks with sandals, and various mistakes stemming from the student editors' collective inexperience.

Predecessors

  • The Academic Review (1884-1885)
  • The BYA Student (January 1891 – May 1891)
  • White and Blue (1898–1923)
  • The Y News (1921-1948)
  • Brigham Young Universe (1948-1956)
  • The Daily Universe (1956-2012)

History

In 1898, Brigham Young Academy published a student newspaper entitled White and Blue. Today, White and Blue is undergoing the process of being digitized for historical preservation and online access.

In the early days of BYU’s campus newspaper, the student body oversaw all aspects of production. The managing editor was selected by the students and students occupied all editorial and staff positions. Participation was voluntary, drawing in students from all majors and emphases.

In 1948, without asking for or receiving approval from university authorities, the newspaper editor, Kenneth J. Pace, changed the name of the paper to The Brigham Young Universe from its then-title, The Y News. Though the name change initially created a stir on campus, the name change stuck and eventually evolved into the The Daily Universe, which held until 2012 when the name changed to The Universe.

During the 1950s, the newspaper started receiving criticism for its amateurish style. Stories featured social activities rather than news. Readers frowned upon the alliterative headlines popular in the newsroom such as, “Bunker’s Babes Battle Big, Bad Basketballers,” and “Waddie Windis Whip Worries Waiting Watts.”

In 1966, members of the Journalism Department began efforts to convert the paper to a mentored laboratory structure. The change was initiated under President Ernest L. Wilkinson, and was finalized under the administration of President Dallin H. Oaks in 1970.

Students and faculty involved with The Daily Universe during those formative years credit President Oaks with helping the paper develop the reputation it deserved. He saw the value of a free press and the need for a meaningful lab experience to foster the skills students need to become successful journalists.

As the paper matured, more of the content focused on national and international news. Daily circulation in 1956 was around 7,000, and in less than 20 years, circulation skyrocketed to 20,000. It has been estimated that by 1975, 72% of the student body read the paper daily, and 99% read it at least once a week. In 1997, The Daily Universe became part of a larger news organization called BYU NewsNet, which was the first integrated (web, radio, newspaper, and television) news organization in the world.

In light of the changing nature of how the public receives news, and of the evolving curriculum requirements in the department, The Daily Universe announced in January 2012 the decision to transition the paper to a weekly print publication and a digital online product by late April 2012. Simultaneously, the name changed to The Universe.

Awards and Recognitions

In 2004, The Universe took second place behind the UCLA, Daily Bruin, for "Newspaper of the Year." It was also awarded six first places, two second places, and one third place at the Society of Professional Journalists Regional Conference in March 2004, with other numerous awards at the Utah Press Association.

In 2008, the paper also received awards for its spring 2008 coverage of the aftermath of the Milford Flat fire and for its package on the life of Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In 2009, The Universe was named the second best newspaper in its division at the Society of Professional Journalists Utah Headliners Chapter banquet in June.

At the 2012 CNBAM awards festival, Alyssa Watson and James Gardner won first place for Display Ad Campaign. Watson also took home the second-place award for Display Ad-Color. The Utah Press Association awarded The Universe the 3rd-place prize for Best Staff Produced Ad, Best Staff Produced ROP Campaign, and Best Use of Ad Color. The Universe received 2nd-place for Best Website and 1st-place for both Best Ad Idea and Best Circulation Promotion as well.

The Society of Professional Journalists also honored BYU students in 2012. Luke Hansen won 1st-place for Sport Photography and Chris Bunker received the 3rd-place award in Photo Illustration. Additionally, Jade McDowell and Brooke Ward each received 2nd-place awards for Editorial and Feature Writing, respectively. At the Utah Headliners Chapter of the SPJ The Universe was awarded third place for best newspaper in the Newspaper Division B category. Additionally, ten student reporters won first-place awards for their work.

The Universe and its staff were also awarded with several Mark of Excellence awards in 2013. At the National Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Advertising Contest The Universe received a general excellence award. In addition, several elements of the paper designed by the staff also received awards. In January 2013, The Universe was once again recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists with 18 separate awards. Nine of these award were first in their category, including the In-Depth Reporting Category. The Utah Press Association Better Newspapers Contest delivered 22 awards to The Universe website, which was the only student website recognized at the competition.

In July of 2013 The Universe was named General Excellence winner in the National Newspaper Association's most recent Better Newspaper Contest. The Universe also claimed first place in Promotions, and Typography Excellence, with other awards for Promotions, Best Use of Ad Color, and Feature and Sports Photos. Also in 2013, The Universe received first place awards for the Breaking News Coverage and College News Design contests from the Student Society of News Design, as well, as "General Excellence Winner" and first place in "Promotions/Typography" and "Better Newspaper Contest" from the National Newspaper Association.

Former Universe staff members have gone on to jobs at many newspapers and magazines, including all daily papers in Utah, The Orange County Register, The Washington Post, The Hollywood Reporter, and Newsweek.

The Universe now receives world, national, and regional news through the AP wires. Nevertheless, the paper remains committed to informing students, reflecting student opinion and serving as a lab for the Department of Communications.

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