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History of The All State

An integral part of any college or university is its student newspaper. Since 1930, The All State has served as the main source of information for student, faculty and alumni of Austin Peay. Wednesday, Nov. 26, 1930, marked the publication of the first issue of the newspaper. At that time, the paper, under the sponsorship of Felix G. Woodward and Louise Jackson, was four pages long and was printed every other week. A year’s subscription sold for 75 cents.

The first editor-in-chief of The All State was Malvin Utleye. His staff included three associate editors, a sports editor and two assistant sports editors, a joke editor, feature writers and two class reporters. Business affairs were handled by the business manager, circulation manager and exchange editor, with an associate for each of these three positions.

Apparently, many students were, and possibly still are today, puzzled by the name of the newspaper. Halbert Harvill, then dean at Austin Peay, submitted “All State” in the contest held to choose a name. According to an editorial explaining the name: “The inherent rightness of The All State, as name for the school organ of the Austin Peay Normal School, should be apparent, we believe, to anyone acquainted with the purpose for which the normal school was established.

“The unique function of the institution is the training of elementary teachers for the rural schools of Tennessee.... Thus, for a paper which heralds the activities of an institution which serves all the state, what name for fitting could there be than All State,” the editorial said.

From 1934 to 1949, Woodward co-sponsored the paper along with several other faculty members at various times. Other co-sponsors were Miss Annie Laurie Huff, J.P. Riebel, Fred W. Wolf and Charles Waters. Waters became sole sponsor or adviser in 1949 and served until 1960, when Sherwin Clift assumed the position. Various advisers have served in the position since. 

In 1963, subscription costs reached a high of $3 per year, but by 1966 had decreased once again to $1.50. Today, The All State is published through advertising revenue and the staff and department are supported through student fees, but off-campus businesses, organizations and individuals may subscribe to the newspaper for a nominal yearly fee.

The 1962-63 school year was one of advancement for The All State. Weekly rather than semi-monthly publication began, reflecting more comprehensive news coverage. Also in that year, the offset printing process was initiated, replacing the letterpress process.

Growth of the college naturally necessitated growth of its newspaper. Thus in 1963, an eight-page issue was published on alternate weeks, and the following year each weekly issue contained eight pages. Circulation was 2,500 in 1963. Special editions of 16 and 48 pages were published in 1966-67 and 1967-68 respectively.

A look at The All State’s ratings shows the quality the newspaper has always maintained. For 13 years, the paper was a member of the National Newspaper Service, which rated it twice yearly. The All State received two B-plus ratings, 12 As and 12 A-plus ratings. Ratings by the Associated Collegiate Press for those same years included four-second class, 16 first class and six All-American ratings. The All State was also featured in 1970 in a national magazine as “the complete university newspaper — informative, attractive, entertaining and a pleasure to read.” In 2003, The All State was ranked No. 10 in the Best in the South Competition sponsored by the Southeast Journalism Conference (SEJC). In 2007, The All State earned third place in the same competition. In 2016 The All State was named Best College Newspaper in the southeast at the Southeast Journalism Conference.

The design on the flag of the newspaper was for the first 36 years simply the words “All State,” printed over an outline of Tennessee. In 1966, a circular seal replaced this; 10 years later a more contemporary design was adopted to keep up with the ever-changing university. After that, the image placed on the front reflected the Browning cupola, a distinctive image of Austin Peay State University. Since 2007, the masthead has been updated multiple times reflecting the rapidly changing world of journalism.

Established in 1966, the Board of Student Publications served as the guiding council of The All State. It was comprised of both faculty and students and aimed to “help maintain the best standards of collegiate journalism in student publications” at Austin Peay. The university, under the leadership of Dr. Sherry Hoppe, dissolved the board in Fall 2004.

The present and future of The All State hold prospects of continuing expansion. For the first time in its history, the 1976-77 newspapers were laid out in a six-column format rather than five. Today, it contains anywhere from eight to 12 or more pages and has a circulation of 2,000-3,000. 

The newspaper was again redesigned in Summer 2011 by then Editor-in-Chief Patrick Armstrong and Managing Editor Jenelle Grewell. The paper was redesigned to steer focus to its improving digital product, TheAllState.org, and its blossoming social media efforts.

Under Armstrong's leadership, The All State again earned high honors at the 2012 Southeast Journalism Conference. The All State was named fourth-best in the Southeast, among its highest honors, at that time it's highest SEJC honor. Several staff members also earned high honors for their illustrations, design, cartoons and other categories.

In 2012, The All State's editorial cartoonist Christy Walker became the first staff member to be named a finalist for an individual Pacemaker, the highest national award for collegiate journalists.

Current staff include the editor-in-chief, managing editor, section editors (including News, Perspectives, Photo, Features, Sports and Online), assistant section editors (including News, Perspectives, Features, Sports, Online and Multimedia), staff writers, staff photographers, chief copy editor, copy editors, and advertising manager. 

Many opportunities are available at The All State for students interested in journalism, marketing, public relations, advertising, political science, history and other fields.