State Press at ASU Publishes Final Print Issue, Reflects on Legacy & ‘Post-Print’ Future

After 123 years, nine months and 13 days, The State Press has published its final print edition. The last ink-stained version of the Arizona State University campus newspaper devotes many of its column inches to both its print legacy and its “post-print” future.

As I previously posted, the State Press is shifting from digital-first to all-digital come fall semester, shedding its weekly (and once daily) print presence. As a special staff editorial in the final print issue confirms, it is the latest evolution for an outlet that over the years has repeatedly changed its content focuses, size, design template and even its name. In respect to the latter, interesting fact alert: Prior to being known as simply The State Press, the pub existed as The Normal Echo, The Tempe Normal Student, The Tempe Collegian, The Collegian and The Arizona State Press.

A portion of the editorial: “The first readers of The Tempe Normal Student picked up a small tabloid with ads for farm loans each week. Students reading The State Press in the ’50s and ’60s found stories about student government sandwiched between advertisements for cigarettes. Two front-page stories in one of the first issues of 1999 featured a proposed smoking ban and parking problems, proving that some things never change.”

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The heart of the paper’s “Farewell to Print” issue is a three-page collection of memories shared by former State Press staffers. A mix of lighthearted and awwww-inducing, my favorite time-machine glimpse is one shared by former EIC, ME and sports editor Tom Blodgett. As Blodgett recalls, the first time he spoke to his future wife in the State Press newsroom, they fought over a dummy mistake:

“It was like the second or third day of production, and Amy had been hired as a brand new production worker. I was the managing editor and was in charge of the front page, and Amy on her first night was doing production for the front page. I went to the backshop and found the front page had a thumbnail-sized hole of white space in the middle of it. I pointed it out, and Amy said something like ‘I don’t know, that’s what your dummy says.’ I pointed out to her that the dummy did not have any such a hole in it. We got into it a little bit, and eventually we figured out the source of the problem. She fixed it, but by then we were a little ticked off with each other. So I stormed back to the newsroom, walked in and announced, “Who is that new girl in the back shop? She is such a –’ and here I used an unkind word that I would no longer use about her. A year and a half later, we were dating. Almost four years later, we were married.”

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State Press at ASU Shifting from ‘Digital-First’ to ‘All-Digital,’ Dropping Print Newspaper in Fall

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