The Ever-changing Optimist

Looking back

Flashback to Thursday, August 1st, 1912: Abilene Christian College newspaper – the Optimist – produces its first edition. Circulation was monthly, a subscription was only 50 cents per year and the only staffed position was the business manager, Arthur Slater. The news from the first edition was as follows:

  • Discussion of Christian education and the dangers of public schooling,
  • Encouragement for boys and girls,
  • News from Merkel, Texas,
  • Information regarding athletics and student organizations,
  • Editorials and,
  • Advertisements.

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The Optimist’s change

As technology and media have changed, the Optimist has advanced as well. By the 1920s the Optimist was being published weekly; then bi-weekly in the 80s. AS technology advances and we have entered a time period where news stories are written within three hours of the event, the Optimist hopes to be able to produce minute-by-minute news to its audience as well. The goal of the Optimist is to move alongside advancing technology and media trends.

The Optimist goals

When talking with Brittany Jackson, the current Editor-in-Chief of The Optimist, she explained that in order to be able to provide more immediate news to it’s audience – students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni – the Optimist has moved their print date to only Fridays but has increased its online activity allowing for quicker access for their audience to the latest ACU news. Jackson emphasized her goal to “emulate the current journalism market as much as possible” in order to provide more experience as well as reach it’s audience better.

As the Optimist advances, “I see the publication becoming more aligned with publications found in bigger schools who tend to reflect mass media journalism market.” With these advances, more people will have access to the current and breaking news at ACU and I think this will be a benefit to those off campus but still interested in the happenings of campus life.


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