Note: This is the third in a five-part occasional series on LSU’s official and unofficial student newspapers, yearbooks, magazines, and literary journals.
Hill Memorial Library LLMVC — LH1 .L55 L78 FLAT, MICROFILM 6193 & MICROFILM 5221
The LSU Monthly | 1979
Hill Memorial Library LLMVC — LH1 .L55 L78 FLAT & MICROFILM 6193
John Maginnis returned to the world of indie college magazines as general manager of the Baton Rouge Enterprise, a weekly local features tabloid he had begun in 1976. He floated a three-issue pilot publication called LSU ’78 in the autumn of that year, which ultimately became The LSU Monthly, a spin-off especially for college students, in the spring of 1979. The endeavor recruited writers from among Reveille alumni and the student body to create “a monthly periodical that puts this experience called college in focus.” Although pledging to endure longer than its unaffiliated on-campus predecessors, The LSU Monthly didn’t survive past the spring semester, ending after only five issues.
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Conceived as a biweekly magazine of diverse viewpoints, The Wonderland Times published essays, letters, poetry, and cartoons to aid in developing a utopia “where people are free and unburdened by the beliefs or prejudices of others [and] one cannot profit by the detriment of another.” Despite its rather vague and naïve ambitions, the magazine tried to be more serious than most of its predecessors with prose usually either liberal or libertarian (with lots of overlap regarding marijuana and the Bush-era war on drugs). Despite some surprisingly good illustrations for a college publication, The Wonderland Times lasted only a year and a half.
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Just as the name implied, this series of eight 11” x 17” single-sided broadsides disseminated the strident opinions of Ethan Gilsdorf, a student in the English Department who apparently held sole responsibility for its content. Although evidently ruminating on such subjects as the First Iraq War, the Louisiana lottery, voter apathy, the rainforests, and Oliver Stone’s JFK, much of the content of Rant remained largely (and perhaps deliberately) perplexing, confounding, and entirely unfathomable to the post-collegiate intellect.
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Dig | 2011-present
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Far and away the most successful of LSU’s independent student periodicals, The Tiger-Weekly was launched on January 15, 1997, after two undergrads spent their Christmas break cobbling together the first issue of a news magazine explicitly aspiring to compete with the Reveille. Featuring general campus news, features, opinions, entertainment, and a heavy focus on sports, this weekly paper owned, written, and edited by students succeeded extraordinarily well for an on-campus independent. By 2011 it had outgrown its college roots, changing its name to Dig and transforming into a citywide alternative weekly for the under-forties. It changed its format to a glossy monthly magazine in June 2016 and, as you already know, still caters to college students and is still available on campus.
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How can “15 everyday LSU students who have an interest in bringing intriguing and entertaining articles to the minds of students” not succeed? They can if their paper is largely indistinguishable from The Tiger-Weekly. Covering the same general campus news, features, opinions, entertainment, and sports shared by both its official and unofficial competitors, The Spectrum never quite found its niche in the university’s oversaturated print media market of the late 1990s. It held out for one academic year, almost always meeting its weekly deadline before fading away—but the back page pets were cute while they lasted.
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There once was a time when the Reveille didn’t publish an edition on Mondays—something about money, or maybe something else. I don’t know. Anyway, in the spring of 2002, Wayne T. Lewis, publisher of Tiger Weekly, launched Tiger Monday to fill the void. With a content little different from the university’s official daily, its only memorable accomplishment came in motivating the Reveille to return to a five-day publishing schedule in the fall semester. It’s work done, Tiger Monday published its final issue on August 26, 2002, the same day the Reveille returned to Mondays.
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The satirical Campus Dirt began life as a half-page feature on the back page of Tiger Monday on April 22, 2002. It survived the demise of its parent publication to become a short-lived spinoff for about five weekly issues in the early autumn of 2002. Never especially clever, it apparently didn’t make it past September, disappearing unmourned and never to be missed.
Next time: Reveille & company: LSU’s official student press