The Towers (formerly Tech News and Newspeak) is WPI's student newspaper, established in 1909. Anyone who tells you running a newspaper isn't a full-time job isn't telling the truth. Typically understaffed, The Towers perseveres in an attempt to provide students with news and interesting features.
One of the most popular features remains the police logs, in which the Campus Police dispatcher's logs are sent to The Towers and printed. This is popular because it showcases the stupid things that happen on campus - and brings amusement to some.
The newspaper began as Tech News in 1909. In the 1970's, the name Tech News was changed to Newspeak to better reflect the paper's anti-authoritarian tone. It was changed back to Tech News in 2000 by then Editor-in-Chief Justin Greenough after a long debate where it was felt the paper was no longer as rebellious as it had been in the 70's and 80's. As the university continued to expand its horizons beyond the strictly technical realm, the paper developed a new name that strongly represents the pillars of the WPI education and community. In the Fall of 2007, the name of the paper officially changed and is now known as The Towers.
It has a long history, and the archives can be found in the library or online (from 1994, with some gaps) at their Web site.
- Co Editor-in-Chief: Kelly Borden
- Co Editor-in-Cheif: Josh Usiskin
- Layout Editor: Tess Sandbrook
- Copy Editor: Aaron Rosenthal
- News Editor: Maggie Gaffney
- Features Editor: Lindsey Merrill
- Opinion & Editorial Editor: Leslieann Gomez
- Entertainment Editor: Lindsey Merrill
- Sports Editor: Ethan Gouveia (interim)
- Photo Editor: Alexandra Meraz
- Business & Ads Manager: Arth Sharma
- Webmaster: Hope Clairmont
- PR Manager: Katie Charla
(External links to actual articles will be provided after The Towers website maintenance is complete.)
- Campus Center Issue - EIC Justin Greenough worked with the administration to attempt to enocurage positive reactions to the nearly completed Campus Center in Fall '00. The overall impact of the issue was questionable.
- Governor's Debate - The second Massachusetts Governor's Debate in 2002 was held at WPI. Exclusive pictures of the event taken by a student would later be printed in the Peddler.
- Newspeak to Tech News - The newspaper changes its name. Again.
- Tech News to The Towers - The newspaper changes its name. Yet again.
The Towers has had its share of controversies over the years, some more serious than others.
In Fall '00, Tech News printed a pair of small text-only ads from a group claiming to support "free debate" on the matter of the Holocaust. In fact, the group were Neo-Nazis who espoused the view that the Holocaust never happened. After the nature of the organization was discovered by students, many students and faculty expressed concern and dismay over the ads being published. The end result was the resignation of the current EIC as well as the permanent elimination of the EIC Emeritus position. A substantive ad policy was not made until several years after the incident, however.
Twice, once in Spring '01 and again in Fall '02, a single student was responsible for playing pranks on Tech News staff concerning fake reports of misquotations. The first incident occurred after the student appeared in a "Person on the Street." He then complained to the Features Editor that he had been misquoted, causing some concern among Tech News editors. However, the report was falacious and an attempt to deliberately send editors into a tizzy. As a result, the student was barred from appearing in "Person on the Street" ever again. The same student repeated it after the publication of an article on a debate of whether laptops should be required. He claimed that people had been misquoted and that the writer should be banned from Tech News. However, the editorial board quickly determined the claim was again false and the student was publicly rebutted with a dismissive editorial. The writer of the laptop article later went on to become a Features Editor for the paper.
"Tech News made me bulemic"
In academic year '03-'04, flyers appeared on campus with the words "Tech News made me bulemic" printed on them, accompanied by a picture of a woman in a bath. No official response was made to the postings. Administrators were concerned that Tech News itself may have made the flyers, though this was not true. To date, no one knows the party responsible for the flyers or the meaning behind them.
Columns and Regular Features
- He Said/She Said - A bicameral advice column written by two pseudonymed staff writers. The female portion of the advice is intended to be useful and relevant, while the male section is purely for entertainment purposes.
- Horoscopes - Humorous fortunes and prophesies with a eye towards current events, pop culture, and WPI happenings. Formerly known as General Tsao's Horoscopes.
- Events Calendar - A collected schedule of the upcoming week's events.
- Gamebits - Written by Ken Gagne.
- Intellectric - Written by Marc Sawaya and Oleg Rekutin.
- Odin's Eye
- Philler - A random humour column written by "Laurel and Guinevere" from 1993 through 2001.
- Police Log - Mentioned above.
- Reader's Poll - At the end of every year, Tech News has a poll concerning favorite articles, favorite eating places, what they want to see more of, etc.
- Ruminations - A collection of quotes from readers and staff.
- Rummaging in the CD Bin - Written by John Baird, '04. It ran from Spring '02 to Fall '03. First published: Jan. 15, 2002
- Spot the Error - Started in Fall '03.
- Time Machine - Compiled by Lee Caron.
- Two Sides to a Coin - By Rocky Lore, '06, and Jamo Hanlan.
- Valentine's Day Issue - Tech News publishes special valentines around every Feb. 14.
- Year in Review - Traditionally done by the Features Editor at the end of each year, it contains excerpts from the most notable articles of the year.
- Man/Person on the Street - Usually done by two staffers, it asks multiple people a question and takes their picture. Nicknamed "Person in the Wedge" and "Person in the Campus Center" for times during the cold winter when those doing it didn't feel like venturing outside.
Tech News has published several student made comics over the years.
- F--ckin Elves! - By Jon Moffat.
- Jack Dogg - By "Xavier Rhodes," a pen name.
- Polaris - Ran during the 1980's.
- UPI - By "Alex Thomas," a pen name.
- Bubblegum Heroes - By Greg Roberts and EJ Massa
It has also published a number of syndicated and independent comics, including:
- Piled Higher and Deeper
- Super Banana
- Tom the Dancing Bug
Notable editors and staff
This is an alphabetical list of notable editors and staff that have worked on The Towers/Tech News/Newspeak over the decades.
- Record holders for Newspeak/Tech News/Towers:
- Most items published in a single year: Alex Knapp, '01, in 2001
- Most items published in a four year period: John Baird, '04, from 2000-2004
- Most opinion articles published in a four year period: Rocky Lorre, '06, from 2002-2006
- Most sports articles published in a year: The 2002 Sports Editor, in 2002
- Most consecutive 2-page spreads (articles with >2000 words): John Baird, in Spring 2004
- When re-applying for recognition from student government, the Editor in Chief is listed as President, News Editor as Vice-President, Business Manager as Treasurer, and Features Editor as Secretary. Thus, EIC, News, and Features are considered the "top three" editorial positions. With few exceptions, EIC's typically have served as either News or Features Editor the year prior.
- Its first webmaster was Troy B. Thompson '95. The first webmaster with editorial powers was Chun-Shek Chan, '04.
- Tech News and APO once hosted a mechanical bull for Holiday Extravaganza in Fall '01. The idea came from then-staffer John Baird (who originally pitched it to the advisor of SocComm) and the suggestion traveled around campus. Other groups who had considered sponsoring it included BiLaGa, SocComm, and student government. With the support of the EIC of Tech News and the President of APO, the bull was finally brought to campus.
- A number of "Editor Tips" have been posted on the Tech News front door over the years. They include: "3 hours of sleep and you're good to go," "2 pounds of coffee/crack and you're good to go," and "Readers are important to the paper - remember that when the urge to strangle them rises."
- Laurel and Guinevere were psuedonyms for Troy B. Thompson '95 and Nick Conti '95. They also hosted a radio program on WPIR called "Philler Phridays".
- A Tech News staffer to have an article published in the mainstream press was Rachel Copeland, '03, whose article on applying to graduate school was reprinted in the Boston Globe.
- The Editor-in-Chief (and other former editors) always gets a free subscription to Newspeak/Tech News/The Towers for life.