UA paper marks 110th year
The Associated Press
TUSCALOOSA – The Crimson White marked its 110th anniversary Thursday with the newspaper’s alumni planning a reunion, sparking a year’s worth of celebrations around the state.
The University of Alabama’s student newspaper has seen the beginnings of young journalists fulfilling careers as editors, writers and politicians.
Horror novelist Rick McCammon said one of his earliest experiences as a Crimson White reporter was when he covered a series of tornadoes that devastated nearby towns in the early 1970s.
“I don’t think I ever understood the power of a tornado until I saw that,” said McCammon, who lives in Vestavia Hills. “And people came to us like we were `real reporters,’ and they began to tell us their stories.”
Ed Mullins, chairman of the university’s journalism department, said he sees the newspaper as a state institution, with former staffers now working at news organizations nationwide.
“If you want to underscore the importance of the CW, you do so not just as a news vehicle for the campus – and it takes that role seriously and always has – but as a stepping stone,” said Mullins, a Crimson White reporter from 1956 to 1958.
Some notable Crimson White alumni include author and journalist Gay Talese, former Birmingham News editor Jim Jacobson, “Crazy in Alabama” author Mark Childress and former U.S. Sen. John Sparkman.
McCammon, who served as the newspaper’s editor from the 1973-74 academic year, said the responsibility taught him lessons he still carries.
“It helped me learn to think on my feet because it’s a stressful position,” he said. McCammon has authored books including “Swan Song,” “Mine,” “Boys Life” and “Speaks the Nightbird.”
Thursday’s reunion at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium was the first of several Crimson White anniversary events planned in Montgomery, Mobile, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa.