By Megan Cavanaugh
From the flashy frocks and tailored trousers, high waisted pants and fancy hats of the 1920s to the buttoned-up shirts and cuffed-jeans, suede oxfords and snapbacks of today, style has changed over the years, but the journalism practices of The Scroll have not.
Just as Bethany Lutheran College has seen different phases, stages, so has Bethany’s student run newspaper: The Scroll. From transitioning to a co-ed two-year, and later a four-year college and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod claiming Bethany and it’s doctrinal practices to passing the presidential baton, The Scroll has captured these moments and more since 1926.
Although there are many differences between the oldest and newest editions, the journalism reporting style hasn’t changed. The second-fifth pages of this current issue are the pages of the very first issue, and it has been designed to mimic first issue.
Though The Scroll was admittedly hard to start because of the small enrollment (27 women), the first issue was published in October of 1926. It has since has evolved beyond the bounds of this 800 word article.
In the ‘20s and ‘30s, the news was just what was going on around campus. “The president almost always had a column, at least into the ‘60s,” said Erling Teigen, college archivist.
“As a student, it’s different than if you work here. There wasn’t as many feature stories as when I was a student,” said Steve Jaeger, retired VP of student affairs. “Over the years I’ve seen it be a more polished publication, more varieties, always a spiritual dimension. I’m really pleased that there is something related with that.”
Jaeger said there were always articles on big events, specific dates, but there wasn’t as much to report on back when it was a two-year school. Everyone already knew what was going on.
The Scroll included sports sections once Bethany athletics were established, the president’s column, college happenings and also always included humor in some way. Today, The Scroll strives to keep tradition, but also hopes to branch out more, giving students more opportunities to write about broader topics.
“Now days, The Scroll has been reaching out, trying to say something about national and world affairs news,” said Teigen. “There might be [a] philosophy that says that this is a learning experience for students. Some might go into journalism as quite a few have. That’s why The Scroll has the opportunity for students to write a variety of stories.”
One student who came to Bethany in the ‘80s was interested in sports journalism. Thankfully, The Scroll was able to help him pursue that passion, and although he now works at Bethany, he often writes sports columns and blogs on the side.
“The stuff that I did back when I was a student at Bethany for The Scroll is still taking off as I am in this stage of my life,” said Don Westphal, director of athletics. “I’ve found that with The Scroll, no matter what the student has an interest in, [it] has always been [a place] to explore that opportunity, to take that interest, that passion and get exposed. That’s what college is all about, to hone that craft and let the creativity take over.”
Even since Westphal began working at Bethany in ‘93, the ‘incorporation of color has changed so much.’ Through the advancement of technology in desktop publishing, graphics, ads, photography, etc, color has been incorporated into the paper.
“Technology has changed the publication and production of it, but it’s still the same elements of journalism,” said Westphal. “The same goal of getting out there, reporting, leading conversation through questions and putting together a story, that has stayed the same.”
“The more you can put your writing out there and have people read it and critique it, that’s critical, and that’s one thing that I think has been there the 90 years since The Scroll’s existence,” said Westphal. “College students are being creative in a journalistic realm, but then you can get things out there, great for a resume, the core essence is the same of The Scroll.”
Jaeger has witnessed that everyone anticipates The Scroll issues. “I would put The Scroll in the same category as the Fidelis. People can save money, yeah, but I believe it takes away creative energy if it ends or goes online. I think it’s dangerous to think that we can preserve things electronically [only],” said Jaeger.
In regards to the quality of The Scroll, Westphal and Jaeger alike are pleased. Aside from the few mishaps every once in awhile, it has proven to be a high-quality student newspaper.
“I would say, all-in-all, it’s a more professional looking student paper,” said Jaeger.
As styles change, opinions differ and breaking news happens, The Scroll will continue to cover it all to the best of its ability.