The Heights (newspaper)

The Heights (newspaper)

"The Heights" (est.1919) is the independent student newspaper of Boston College. It publishes on Mondays and Thursdays during the academic year. The paper is both editorially and financially independent from the University.fact|date=April 2008

The Editorial Board consists of 38 editors and managers who are responsible for the operations of the newspaper. Pilar Landon is the current Editor-in-Chief and serves as the President of The Heights, Inc, the non-profit parent organization responsible for publishing "The Heights". Grant Hatchimonji serves as Managing Editor and is responsible for overseeing section editors and staff as well as managing the newsroom. Michael Kindrat-Pratt serves as General Manager and is responsible for overseeing all business operations of the newspaper.

In 2006 the paper was selected as an ACP Pacemaker Finalist, placing "The Heights" among the top 50 college newspapers in the United States.fact|date=April 2008


Starting as a four-page newsletter in 1919, and turning into the 30-page twice-weekly newspaper it is today, "The Heights" has had its pulse on the students at BC for all of its existence. In its 89 year history, "The Heights" can be broken down into three different eras: the beginning years, where the paper found its roots, the turbulent middle years of the ’60s and ’70s, where the paper shifted its focus to more global issues and officially declared its independence from the school, and present day, where it has returned to an on-campus focus, continuing to serve the students and help push for change at Boston College. Overall, "The Heights" has adapted to the times, but it never lost its principal goal to be the voice of the student body and to cover University events as thoroughly and accurately as possible.

The idea of the paper began in 1918 when BC undergrads started to circulate pamphlets talking about campus issues. These students wanted an outlet to voice their opinions. Led by John Ring, class of 1920, the first "Heights" debuted in 1919. It was only four pages long and had the distinction of being the smallest college newspaper in the United States. "The Heights" received funding from the school and ran stories mostly about students clubs, sporting events, and lectures on campus. The first board declared "The Heights" a “news organ” that would live up to the “purity and ruggedness” of its name.fact|date=April 2008

In 1920, an editorial ran suggesting that the mascot of BC be an eagle because of all that the bird represented. The choice stuck, as the Eagle remains the mascot of BC today.fact|date=April 2008

Through the early years of the ’30s and ’40s, "The Heights" remained focused on campus issues. During World War II, "The Heights" branched out, writing editorials about the draft and the war. Having a BC angle was still the focus. In 1947, "The Heights" wrote heavily about the need for an active student council. "The Heights" predates – and is responsible for – UGBC.fact|date=April 2008

Heading into the ’50s, "The Heights" again had an influence on BC culture. Before the ’50s, the buildings in the Quad had no official names. Gasson was simply “the tower building,” and Lyons, Devlin, and Fulton were also nameless. "The Heights" lobbied to get these buildings named after influential BC figures. Soon, the buildings were named.fact|date=April 2008

In the 1950s, "The Heights" gained recognition as a champion of civil rights. It reprinted a Martin Luther King Jr. article, and in 1960, an editorial was written accusing the University of not honoring the rights of its black students. "The Heights" started to get more vocal about issues that involved the country and not just BC, editorializing about the Vietnam War and showing support for protest groups. The paper toed the line between national coverage and reaction to these events on campus.

In the mid-’60s, the paper wanted to sponsor a lecture by birth control activist William Baird. The University wouldn’t allow it, as birth control opposes the Jesuit and Catholic values system. "The Heights" felt that students needed to hear both sides of the story and actually held the lecture in its office in McElroy 102. The University placed sanctions over "Heights" editors for their actions. University president Fr. Joyce had a strained relationship with "The Heights".fact|date=April 2008

The Heights stirred the pot more in the ’70s. In 1971, "The Heights" had a source bug a Board of Trustees meeting and printed a transcript of the meeting in the next issue. The paper uncovered the University’s plans to fire Executive Vice President Fr. F.X. Shea. The administration pressed charges and had a restraining order put on the information. The two editors, Tom Sheehan and Michael Berkey, who wrote the accompanying story, were arrested on charges of conspiring to obtain information by illegal means. They pleaded no contest and were assessed a small fine. Sheehan and Berkey believed they were acting in the best interest of the student body; a BC professor, Richard Hughes, described Sheehan as “a genuine crusader, passionately dedicated to his beliefs.”fact|date=April 2008

The administration evicted "The Heights", and all funding was cut off after this incident. Eventually, editors cut a deal with the administration to rent out McElroy 113, its current location. In recent years, "The Heights"’ lease has been called into question, following publication of a sexually explicit column called “Sex and the Univer-city”.fact|date=April 2008 A resolution has since been reached.

The board of the 21st century campaigned vigorously for the approval of a Gay-Straight alliance, now called the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC), and the revisions of the non-discrimination policy. "The Heights" has placed a huge role in keeping controversial issues in the spotlight. As an independent student newspaper, "The Heights" has the right to print what the editorial board chooses, despite the administration’s position. But in order to retain good relationships with the University, distributing rights, and the Heights' current lease agreement, the board has agreed not to run sexually explicit ads or ads promoting birth control.fact|date=April 2008

In 2004, the paper began printing twice a week, spreading out the content between Monday and Thursday editions. The paper also began printing at Gannett Offset, the same company that prints the "USA Today". In 2005 and 2006, several racial incidents rocked the campus and have affected the relationship with "The Heights" and the AHANA community. Rebuilding the paper’s diversity is a major current goal.fact|date=April 2008

Much has changed in the scope of history, culture, and social attitudes at BC. The one thing that has not changed is "The Heights". While the paper has adapted over the years, it remains a constant source where BC students can get their news and has been an integral part of BC culture. "The Heights" represents the students, and as an independent newspaper, it can make its own decisions and truly enhance the forum for student debate on campus.


External links

* [ Official website]

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