Show More


"Perfect Laboratory for Engagement and Discovery," Bob Giles '55 Says at The DePauw's 150th Celebration

April 5, 2002

April 5, 2002, Greencastle, Ind. - Video Link [DOWNLOAD VIDEO: "A Special Honor" 385KB] Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "A Special Honor" 202KB] "I'm someone who learned the rudiments of journalism in the old Pub Building, and so it's a special honor for me to have been invited to give remarks at tonight's celebration," said Robert Giles, as he opened his keynote address at a dinner honoring the 150th anniversary of Indiana's oldest college newspaper, The DePauw.

Giles, a 1955 graduate of DePauw and former editor of the Detroit News who is presently curator of The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, was a freshman when the newspaper celebrated its 100th anniversary in April, 1952. Video Link [DOWNLOAD VIDEO: "Perfect Laboratory" 785KB] Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "Perfect Laboratory" 382KB] "For a student who was beginning to believe that journalism could be his life's work, The DePauw was a perfect laboratory of engagement and discovery that gave me uncommon insights into the world of news. I loved it so much that, during the spring of my senior year, I easily gave up my place on the baseball team to become editor."

A completely independent, student staffed and managed, not-for-profit organization, The DePauw was founded in 1852 as Asbury Notes, reflecting the name of the University, then known as Indiana Asbury University. Giles spoke with fondness of his days at The DePauw, and of the original Fluttering Duck. Down the hill from the Publications Building, the coffee house was where staffs of the paper met for years. Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "The Duck" 507KB] "Many of us in this room remember the Duck affectionately, fondly, as a campus greasy spoon... a lot of journalism was conceived there."

Giles spoke in the ballroom of the Memorial Student Union Building, packed with present and past staffers of The DePauw who have gathered for a weekend celebration. The veteran editor spoke of the many great newspaper careers that began on this campus, among them "business journalist of the century" Bernard Kilgore (seen at right below) and Kenneth C. Hogate of the Wall Street Journal, Eugene C. and Eugene S. Pulliam of the Indianapolis Star and Central Newspapers chain, and Donald Maxwell, former editor of the Chicago Tribune. For the 110th anniversary of The DePauw, Eugene C. Pulliam wrote, "I am quite sure that there is no college in America which, on a per capita basis, has produced as many outstanding newspapermen and women as have come out of DePauw University."

Giles noted that The Society of Professional Journalists was founded on the DePauw campus in 1909; the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame located here in 1966; and the Eugene S. Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media, which opened in 1991 as further examples of the traditions of journalism that DePauw has created and cultivated. Video Link [DOWNLOAD VIDEO: "Enduring Hallmarks" 265KB] Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "Enduring Hallmarks" 133KB] "These are enduring hallmarks of a University that values the role of the press and the independence of student journalism," he said.

Through the years, Kilgore, Maxwell, Pulliam and other journalists served on DePauw's Board of Trustees. Giles says they Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "Powerful & Caring" 502KB] "were powerful men who cared deeply about the paper, and helped create an atmosphere in which student journalists could exercise great freedom. One is tempted to note here, in fact, that this example of journalistic influence in the affairs of the University would be well observed by many of the publicly-traded newspaper companies today, who have no journalistic voice on their boards of directors."

Giles commended former mathematics professor W. Clarke Arnold, who in the 1930's funded construction of the Publications Building and created the Publications Board that remains today. He also had high praise for the 96-page commemorative issue of The DePauw which was released today (and is accessible online by Video Link [DOWNLOAD VIDEO: "Commemorative Edition" 339KB] "superbly crafted, with a wonderful collection of history and memories for so many of us here this evening." (BONUS CLIP: Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "Message to Future Journalists" 336KB])

The 150th celebration, organized by students and co-chaired by seniors Megan Hockley and Carmeleta Rouse (seen at right), continues Saturday with an 8 a.m. breakfast at the Pulliam Center, followed by two panel discussions. The first, on the role of liberal arts in journalism, will take place from 9 to 10:30. A second discussion, entitled "The State of Journalism: Present and Future," will begin at 11 a.m. Both will be held in Thompson Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center. Panelists will include John McWethy '69, senior national security correspondent for ABC News; David Greising '82, business columnist for the Chicago Tribune; James Barbieri '50, editor and co-owner of News-Banner Publications in Bluffton, Indiana; Meg Kissinger '79, general assignment reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Aaron Lucchetti '96, staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal; J. Scott MacGregor '95, writer for the Indianapolis Star; Mary Leonard '70, Washington correspondent for the Boston Globe; Jean Rudolph Scott '79, associate editor of Chicago Tribune Magazine; and Robert Steele '69, senior faculty and ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

DePauw University President Robert G. Bottoms will address a 12:30 luncheon at the Pulliam Center. The 150th anniversary celebration will conclude with former and current members of The DePauw reflecting upon their experiences in Watson Forum.

Bob Giles says, in recent years, consolidation of newspaper and broadcast chains has shifted the away from journalism and more toward the bottom line at media outlets that have reduced staffs and local news content to improve profit margins. Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "Protect & Advance" 440KB] "As a new generation of journalists, you can contribute to a recovery of the news media as a public trust so essential to the free functioning of our democratic society. And while you are here at DePauw, remember your obligation to protect and advance this great tradition of independence for the generation of students who will follow you."

The current editor of The DePauw, senior Eric Aasen (pictured at right), served as master of ceremonies for Friday's dinner, and said, Video Link [DOWNLOAD VIDEO: "The Tradition Continues" 1200KB] "The DePauw today is nothing without The DePauw of yesterday... thanks for passing on the legends, the responsibilities and all of the amazing opportunities."

Back