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|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2009)|
The January 20, 2006 front page of
|Type||Daily independent student newspaper|
|Owner(s)||Purdue Student Publishing Foundation|
|Headquarters||460 Northwestern Avenue
West Lafayette, IN 47906
The Purdue Exponent is one of a handful of daily independent student newspapers, with most other college newspapers being owned by the university or operated by the journalism school. The college newspaper serves Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. It is published on weekdays during university semesters by the Purdue Student Publishing Foundation, and is Indiana's largest collegiate daily newspaper.
The Exponent employs eight full-time professionals, relying for most operations on a staff of approximately 160 students, though the university has no journalism school.
The Exponent's first edition was published on December 15, 1889. It has been a daily paper since 1906. Started Web edition (www.purdueexponent.org) in 1996. First college newspaper in the country to build its own building (1989). One of six college newspapers with its own press.
The path to becoming an independent entity began in 1968, when the university removed Frederick L. Hovde.
The university informed Smoot on Friday, Nov. 8, 1968 that he was being removed, but the sixteen editors on the staff refused to accept the dictum. On Saturday it put out a special edition with a headline, “We Will Still Publish.” By Monday, the headline was more defiant: “Smoot Will Continue: Staff”.
University officials claimed that alumni and political pressure had nothing to do with the move to remove Smoot, but Thomas Graham, a Purdue trustee later said, “Not only did I get a whole bunch of letters, I’d go down to cash a check at the bank and an old friend would grab (me) by the front of the shirt and tell (me), ‘Now dammit, you know right from wrong. Now go up there and get those liberals out of that university.’ … That’s how it’s done here in southern Indiana.”
The firing of the editor pushed to the fore the issue of who owned and who was responsible for oversight of the student newspaper. The issue was given to a faculty-student-administrator committee called the Exponent Review Board, but known as the Osmun Commission for its chairman, Dr. John Osmun. Ultimately the Osmun Commission decided over the opposition of administration members that while Hovde had the authority to fire Smoot, the university did not follow due process. Smoot was allowed to remain as editor-in-chief.
More important in the long term, the commission recommended that the Exponent become a not-for-profit corporation headed by a publishing board, the Purdue Student Publishing Foundation. Its rent-free use that had been in place since 1933 of windowless offices in the basement of the Purdue Memorial Union would end in 1969.
In 1975, at the urging of then Purdue President Arthur Hansen, the Exponent became free distribution with 10,000 copies distributed widely on campus.
The newspaper struggled through the first several years of organization, partly because it was capitalized only by operating revenues and partly because it was being forced to rent space from the university and to purchase printing equipment that had already been paid for. It went through a period of alternately making and losing money, though student staff was all volunteers.
A critical point came in 1975 when the newspaper went to free campus-wide circulation, expanding market coverage and gaining dramatic advertising increases.
By 1988, revenues had grown substantially and the newspaper began construction on the $1.9 million, 22,500-square-foot (2,090 m2) facility that it occupies today at 460 Northwestern Ave., West Lafayette.
The newspaper today distributes 15,000 copies daily during the school year and 7,500 during the summer. Revenues are nearly $1.7 million per year.
The current news adviser is Carl Abernathy.