20 Years of News and Views: a Voice Introspective
Christina M. Frey
Volume 20 Issue 02 2012-01-13
2012 is a big anniversary for The Voice Magazine: we’re in our 20th year of publication! To commemorate this milestone, we’ll be celebrating all year with special content that gives glimpses into our past, outlines some of our history, and showcases some of our highlights.
This week we’ll go all the way back 20 years, to the very first Voice issue. Published in the spring of 1993, it had a very different look, feel—and medium!—than the current format. Five things you never knew about The Voice’s first years:
• The Voice Magazine arose out of a project of the Athabasca University Students’ Association (AUSA), the forerunner of AUSU. Newly-elected AUSA president Mike Ryan wrote in the first issue that his “first priority” was to “communicate with . . . fellow students.” Publishing the newspaper would be “one of the mechanisms” for students to be heard, facilitating communications between students and their student association.
• Early issues were formatted newspaper-style—and printed in paper copy, then mailed to all AUSU members. The Voice did not move over to its current online format until many years later.
• It was intended to be the voice of the students, but initially it wasn’t called The Voice. Simply labelled The Paper, its first issue advertised the “AUSA Name the Newspaper Contest” and solicited student suggestions. The winning name was selected by the editorial committee later that summer.
• The Voice published just two issues in its first year, gradually moving to three, four, six, and eight annually. It wasn’t until midway through 2000 that issues started appearing weekly.
• Content in the first issues was very different than what you’ll find in a typical Voice issue today. The premiere issue focussed on AU news and student-specific issues, and contained material from AUSA councillors and AU staff. Gradually the focus shifted to a broader sense of what interests the AU student.
Want to take a look at a piece of history—and read the very first Voice issue for yourselves? It’s available here. And more is on its way: soon we’ll be uploading additional archives to the website so that you can get a real sense of The Voice’s growth throughout the past two decades.