Editor’s Note: Ch-ch-changes

Orientation and 50 years of The Observer

Matt Hooke, Executive Editor

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Orientation Week is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. For many incoming students, you’re living away from home for the first time, surrounded by a bunch of people you’ve never met, in a city you may barely know.

Don’t be a jerk to your roommate and take advantage of the opportunity to explore Cleveland, with its stellar restaurants, arts and culture. Even though classes can be a struggle, remember to take care of yourself. College is not only an opportunity to earn a degree; it’s an opportunity to stretch yourself away from the watchful eyes of parents to discover new talents and dreams that you may not have thought of in your high-school years. There are many fantastic clubs at Case Western Reserve University. From performing arts groups like CWRU Footlighters, Mather Dance Collective and Dhamakapella, to science groups like Case Rocket Team, to our 17 club sports, there is something for everyone.

Be willing to do things that you may have thought of as weird. In the words of the late David Bowie, “turn and face the strange.”

The best advice I can give, as a fourth year student set to graduate in the spring, is to be open to these changes and discoveries. When I first came to CWRU, I intended to study psychology, inspired by the writings of Oliver Sacks, coupled with my own interests in the brain and listening to people. After my first psychology class, I realized I lacked the patience and single-minded focus necessary to complete a doctorate and moved to journalism instead, a field where I can still get paid to listen to people’s problems and stories.

2019 is an important year for journalism at CWRU as it marks the 50th anniversary of The Observer’s first issue. The Observer was created two years after the merging of Western Reserve University (WRU) and the Case Institute of Technology (CIT). Each institution had its own newspaper: The Case Tech for CIT and the Reserve Tribune for WRU. The Reserve Tribune folded in May of 1969, while the Case Tech continued publication until 1980.

To honor this history, we will be publishing an article from the archives each week. The Observer archives are a great resource to learn about what students cared about in years past and what it was like to live in University Circle. Many of the paper’s early years are focused on the student activism that occurred during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s around the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. CWRU students blocked Euclid Avenue in a sit-in, broke into the provost’s office and occupied Yost Hall, demanding the ROTC be removed from campus. We’ll highlight these stories as well as the people who reported them, like Susie Gharib, an award-winning correspondent for Fortune magazine and former co-anchor of CNBC’s “Nightly Business Report.”

We’ll feature articles about The Observer writers who wrote notable stories, seeing where they went after graduation and how The Observer affected their lives. For this first issue, we are featuring an editorial published on Sept. 4 1970, written by university president Robert W. Morse who oversaw the merging of CIT and WRU.  Along with bringing articles from the past back to life on our printed page, we will be hosting journalism workshops and panel discussions with notable professionals in the field to talk about how the journalism world works and how it has changed over the years.

Though it’s 2019, our paper can sometimes feel stuck in 1969. This year we hope to make the transition to a modern news organization by expanding our video and audio storytelling through mini-documentaries and investigative podcasts. Our website will no longer be just our print edition online, but an expansion of it, exploring new ways of telling the stories of the people who live and work at CWRU and the community around it.