SPS Today: Fresh Start for Student Newspaper

The Pelican flies again, provides online presence

Much has changed since The Pelican published its first issue on September 19, 1945. The state of journalism has evolved over the last five years ago, not to mention the last 74. As students of today aim to put their own mark on the paper’s history, the definition of success remains the same. An editorial from that first issue, at the dawn of World War II, read: “There is only one way in which it [The Pelican] can be a success and form a helpful addition to the School: that is by the wholehearted support of all the students, not only by writing for it, but also by boosting it in any way possible.”

“I was looking through some old photos of SPS and was surprised to see students all reading The Pelican,” says Khuan-Yu Hall ’21, one of the students bringing The Pelican into a new era with a web and multimedia presence. “It’s hard to replicate that, but one of our goals is to engage the whole community, like the paper once did.” To do this, says faculty adviser Elizabeth Engelhardt, The Pelican had to begin a new chapter. “We want to think about The Pelican as a local newspaper. I’m hoping to impress on the students the importance of knowing what is going on in your own community.”

Engelhardt also points out that the country views and interacts with news much differently than it did a decade ago, and that The Pelican’s practices as a publication need to change with those trends. To start, the staff will focus on creating its online presence at pelicanonline.sps.edu. While there is no set date to publish a printed version, Engelhardt and the student writers hope to do so as soon as possible. Staff writer Isabel Maney ’21 took an interest in journalism after watching the popular HBO series The Newsroom. “We’re working on establishing our presence on campus,” Maney says. “We want to have a student perspective on what is happening at SPS to give students more ownership of their experience here.”

Maney smiles as she conjures up an image of The Pelican as a Sunday brunch paper, read by students in common areas as they relax and talk together while preparing for a new week. The faces will be different, but she hopes it will look a lot like the photos from bygone years. Adds reporter Linda Pang ’21, “It’s important for students to express themselves in ways that can be heard by the whole community.”

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