Not long after George Washington Minns and several instructors turned Minns’ Evening Normal School into the West’s first public institution of higher learning for teachers in 1857, the faculty and students decided they needed a publication to regularly inform students, faculty and staff members.
In this, its 79th year, the Spartan Daily at San Jose State University is the latest of several such periodicals. It has never missed a scheduled date of publication.
Early predecessors — The Acorn, The Index, The Telescope, The Journal and The Pennant — didn’t last long enough to call themselves newspapers, but The Normal Times did. It was published as the first weekly newspaper of the San Jose State Normal School in 1909.
By 1928, it was a semiweekly and six years later, Dwight Bentel was hired to help The San Jose State College Times staff members publish every weekday. The Spartan Daily officially produced its first issue on Sept. 21, 1934.
Bentel formed a journalism department in 1936, served as chairman until 1967 — in absentia with Dolores Freitas Spurgeon at the helm during World War II — and retired in 1974. Today, more than 600 advertising, journalism and public relations students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications take classes in the building that bears his name, Dwight Bentel Hall. He observed his 103rd birthday on April 15, 2012, and died a month later, on May 16, just hours after the Daily printed its final edition of the Spring semester. Professor Emerita Spurgeon, who was the second editor of the Daily, died July 25 at the age of 96.
Under a reorganization of its curriculum to merge reporting-editing, photojournalism, broadcast and magazine emphases into one multimedia course of study, the Daily publishes Tuesday through Thursday mornings on newsprint as well as online 24/7 as spartandaily.com. Journalism majors in the JMC school also produce Access and SHiFT magazines along with Update News and Equal Time television programs.
Journalism students enroll in these newspaper, online, magazine and TV productions in courses for credit.
Professor Bill Tillinghast, Ph.D., a longtime journalism instructor and former Daily adviser, is apt to remind any SJSU student, faculty or staff member that the Spartan Daily is the only campus laboratory that publishes its results for evaluation every day. And when Tillinghast and other advisers have been asked why the Daily never improves, they remind their inquisitors that each semester the Daily and our other media begin with a new staff of reporters and photographers, many of whom have never written a story or shot a photo for publication or broadcast.
To contact the Spartan Daily editorial board, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about advertising online and/or in print, email email@example.com.