Back in the 1960s, when I was a student at LSU, the biggest stories in the Reveille were the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and a recently escaped Mike the Tiger. Back then, I would wake up just in time to nurse my hangover and grab a 2-day-old New York Times that just hit the Middleton Library newsstand, along with a copy of the Reveille before making it to my last class of the day. More than 45 years later, I still follow both The Times and The Reveille.
The Reveille has stood the test of time as one of the country’s best student-run newspapers. It has survived the Great Depression, two World Wars, and countless administrative and statewide scandals. I’ve traveled to more than 150 colleges and universities across the country, and I always compare their papers to the Reveille. I haven’t been let down yet. The Reveille boasts alumni such as E.J. Ourso, Robert E. Pierre and the “Reveille Seven.”
The Reveille has had ups and downs in circulation but has always been a valuable resource for students, faculty, staff and alumni of LSU.
There is no better form of student civic engagement than a semi-uncensored student-run newspaper — operated by students for students.
The Reveille has certainly withstood its share of extreme scrutiny in the past. In 1934, it was publicly chastised by then-U.S. Sen. Huey P. Long, who demanded staffers be fired from “his” newspaper and then subsequently expelled when they refused to resign. The “Reveille Seven,” though kicked to the curb by the Kingfish himself, went on to accept scholarships at the University of Missouri, which boasts one of the best journalism programs in the nation. I was kicked out of LSU, as well, largely because my blood-alcohol content was higher than my GPA. (I was lucky enough to be welcomed back with open arms the following year.)
For a great example of The Reveille’s continued success, you need only examine its ongoing fight with the idiots on the other side of I-10 in the new State Capitol. Eighty-one years after the “Reveille Seven,” the students at The Reveille now fight a flounder rather than a Kingfish. While Gov. Bobby Jindal flip-flops around the country in his futile quest for the White House, the staff over at The Reveille continue to hold state legislators accountable. Now, the entire university is at the hands of the Flounder in Chief as he holds true to his pledge to political “pond scum” and continues deep cuts to higher education.
It’s no surprise that circulation challenges are leading to proposals to reduce the number of days The Reveille is printed. This is especially disheartening considering the paper’s pivotal role in the upcoming governor’s race. At a time when many students are hoping for a leader who will re-establish the state’s commitment to higher education, The Reveille must continue to provide fair and accurate reporting. Anything less would be a break from the past and a disservice to every student, past and present, who dons the purple and gold.
James Carville is a political consultant, author and public speaker.