A Note from the Editor: Carrying on a 122-Year Legacy

The Gettysburgian's magazine (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

The Gettysburgian’s magazine (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

By Benjamin Pontz, Editor-in-Chief

On March 9, 1897, a group of Gettysburg College students published the first issue of The Gettysburgian. The following week, on March 16, 1897, the fledgling newspaper published excerpts from a series of letters received about that opening issue.

“The pluck, energy, and enterprise you manifest is worthy of the very highest commendation,” one alumnus wrote.

“It is exactly what was needed,” said another, who added, “Find enclosed [one] dollar for my subscription.”

Over the past 122 years, this student publication has presented news in a variety of shapes and sizes: newsletter, tabloid, broadsheet, and, the most recent additions, a website and social media. Today, you hold in your hands the newest entry to that veritable roster of formats: a magazine.

While a magazine carries several obvious (and some less obvious) changes, I want to open by affirming what will not change. The Gettysburgian will seek to publish stories that get to the heart of what Gettysburg College is and what it ought to be while providing a first-rate educational experience for those involved and upholding high standards of journalistic integrity as part of a constant endeavor to be a trusted institution within the campus community.

What will change is one medium for how we will pursue that vision.

This summer, I led an organizational strategic planning process that resulted in our editorial staff adopting three goals: recruit and train a talented and diverse staff, develop a distinctive print product while bolstering our online platforms, and articulate a content strategy that informs, inspires, challenges, and empowers our audience.

The concept of a magazine that enables deeper storytelling with more texture, nuance, and context is part of a broader initiative to reaffirm and reanimate our commitment to tell great stories in compelling ways. We envision this magazine being something to read slowly while thinking deeply about the community in which we each play a role. Rather than try to amalgamate troves of incident reports and game summaries—a task much better suited to our website, which continues to serve thousands of readers each week—this magazine will tell just a few stories. We hope those stories will illuminate the rhythms of Gettysburg College that point to broader themes, enrich our understanding of one another to inform campus conversation that is equal parts passionate and compassionate, and provide a little bit of insight as to how we might rise to the many challenges facing our liberal arts college.

So, on behalf of our staff, we thank you for playing the most crucial role of the journalistic process: that of a reader. We hope you will grab a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable, and take some time to read our newest project. Of course, if you feel so inclined, do feel free to let us know what you think. My inbox is always open … and who knows, in another 122 years, perhaps your letter will be quoted in a new format of The Gettysburgian.

This article appears on page two of The Gettysburgian’s September 26, 2019 magazine.

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Author: Benjamin Pontz

Benjamin Pontz '20 serves as editor-in-chief of The Gettysburgian. Previously, he served as a staff writer, event coverage coordinator, news editor, and managing news editor. During his tenure, he has written more than 150 articles, and he led the team that won first place in the 2017 Keystone Press Awards for ongoing news coverage of Robert Spencer's visit to Gettysburg College and co-wrote the package of editorials that won first place in the 2018 Keystone Press Awards. He has interned with "Smart Talk" at WITF in Harrisburg and with PA Post. Ben is a political science and public policy double major with a minor in music, and he reads up to seven newspapers daily. Follow him on Twitter @benpontz.

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