By Josh Bennett
The year is 1970, and California State University, Bakersfield has only been offering classes for three months. At a table inside of Pizzaville, a meeting was held to organize and work on a newspaper for the campus. Forty-five years later, that dream is still a reality as The Runner remains as the only independent student newspaper on campus.
Before The Runner’s first issue in September 1975, there were a group of other newspapers on campus that tried to fill the void eventually filled by The Runner, following an advertisement expressing interest for a newspaper in February of 1971 in The Weekly Roadrunner. There were five other newspapers on campus that existed before the formation of The Runner, that were put together by various clubs on campus. Those papers include:
The Paper expressed their explanation in their first issue in November 1971 is as follows. “This paper is being brought to you by “The Club”. We felt the students at Cal-State needed some form of informational service on this campus.” The Paper covered controversial issues and seemed to have a more liberal stance on stories.
The Albatross was created from that Pizzaville meeting in 1970. Their stance was written in the Feb. 25, 1972 debut issue. “Each of us has a desire to guide The Albatross into the mold of high journalistic standards… This newspaper is not a reply to The Paper. We began organizing prior to The Paper. We believe that the two newspapers can complement one another, and in doing so better serve the college.”
The Activista was an activist paper put on by M.E.Ch.A. Their first issue from about 1974 explained, “Activista is aimed at the college student. It hopes to shed light on some of the critical issues of our time so that the student may read, analyze, interpret, and form opinions about some of the many questions we all face as members of the community of mankind.”
The Statesman was put on by a club that seemed to specialize in newspaper reporting. They put together the newspaper themselves and charged five cents per issue. The first issue was published in September 1972.
The Project was led by Dr. Michael Flachmann in March of 1974. Not much is known about this, as there was no statement present within the first issue, but one unique fact was that there were only five people on the staff and it was the final paper to exist before The Runner.
All these papers ended up dissolving, with the exception of The Weekly Roadrunner, which was more of a bulletin put out by the university since its inception. The Weekly Roadrunner would eventually allow students to submit news briefs and articles as the years went on, but when The Runner was formed and started in 1975, and The Weekly Roadrunner would be absorbed in 1976, leaving The Runner as the only newspaper on campus.
With the newsroom housed in Faculty Towers 302-e, English 214/414 began as a bi-weekly publication; lead by advisor Marla Iyasere and the first Editor-In-Chief Floy Blair.
The first few years of existence were difficult as many thought The Runner was the voice of the university and not of the students.
The Oct. 26, 1978 issue of The Runner put an end to those doubts and disbeliefs.
Over the past 40 years, The Runner was there for every major story on campus, and even had a voice on impactful city and world events as well. As CSUB began finding its footing as Bakersfield’s and Kern County’s university, The Runner was there to show this growth to the students, and the community.
When the campus expanded with newer buildings, such as the Student Union, the Walter Steirn Library, the construction of Science II and III buildings or the new dorms, The Runner was there. When new rules, regulations, and fees were placed upon the students of CSUB, The Runner was there.
The Runner also covered the growth of the athletics programs and its transition into Division I; the history of the Greek life and dorm life, entertainment; and crime on campus. Also, when current students, faculty, and alumni made CSUB proud, The Runner made sure to feature them.
So dive in and take a look at the past 40 years of not only The Runner’s evolution, but CSUB’s evolution. Usually, the 40th birthday is seen as the start of the “over the hill” years, but The Runner is anything but over the hill.
The Runner, which is currently in the process of becoming the Student Media Center, will move staff members out of the classroom and into a more interactive, modern and rewarding environment. The Runner Student Media Center will give students, faculty, and the community more methods to absorb their news, including audio, video and radio.
I am honored and grateful to be a piece of these past 40 years for The Runner, and even though I will be long since have graduated, I look forward to the next 40 years and beyond for The Runner.