The Cauldron: A look back into the decades

By: Beth Casteel

The sound of crinkling paper can be heard throughout the quiet rows of bookshelves, which is at home in the university’s archive room. As each new page is turned, a new part of The Cauldron’s long history at the university is revealed, piece by piece.

The reason for the stroll down memory lane is thanks to the recent new year. As some readers may have noted, 2019 marked The Cauldron’s 90-year anniversary at the university.

While the official anniversary of the paper isn’t until October (Oct. 7 to be exact), we at The Cauldron thought looking back at the paper’s 90-year history at Cleveland State University would be a good chance to reflect and see just how much the paper evolved.

As noted from the first issue of the newspaper back in 1929, The Cauldron came to be “after months of discussion and deliberation, two weeks of intensive newspaper writing and makeup came to a climax when the first Co-operative Engineering College paper became a reality.”

Those students fought to make the newspaper a staple at the university, which, at the time was called the Y.M.C.A. School of Technology. It’s refreshing to know that their battle of making this newspaper a reality for everyone involved with The Cauldron in this handful of decades wasn’t for nothing, and that this paper is still something that’s a staple in the school’s history. 

The future of the newspaper may have been a giant question mark when these students began the process of writing monthly news pieces for their peers, yet that didn’t stop them from publishing the news of the times.

And luckily for us, it hasn’t stopped students from writing stories for their peers since.

A  look at the newspaper through the decades has proven that while things have changed, it hasn’t stopped students from, as our most recent tagline notes, “stoking the fire, stirring the pot and serving the truth.”

While The Cauldron has served as the voice of the students for close to 90 years, that doesn’t mean the paper hasn’t evolved into what it is today. Between the paper’s layout to the type of content produced, the paper has been through many phases in its lifetime at the university, and the paper’s current staff is beyond proud to be continuing its legacy.

But it does beg the question, how has The Cauldron changed in its 90 years as the university’s student-run newspaper?

In the mid-stages of the Cauldron’s history, student involvement was at an all-time high

As it was previously noted, The Cauldron was at the forefront of publishing some prettying interesting content back in the day. While some of the things published were pretty standard in a college newspaper, one of the most interesting things we found was that the paper used to allow student submissions for personals and classified ads.

So, whether you wanted to find a new roommate or a potential romantic partner, The Cauldron had you covered. While we don’t exactly do that now, we do enjoy the idea that the paper used to be Cleveland State’s very own Tinder for students.

Additionally, the paper did hand-submitted applications all the time. Much like the questionnaire of whether or not the university should have a football team, the paper also ran Valentine’s Day submissions and various contests, something that we’d love to do again.

New staff positions now available at the Cauldron, old ones a thing of the past

The Cauldron, as with any paper that’s been in publication for a while, has seen some major changes during its time as a newspaper.

You may think the type of content and the paper’s layout is a sure fire way of seeing how it’s progressed, but another small way of seeing this evolution is looking at the type of positions old staff members held.

While newspaper positions may not be the first thing people notice when grabbing a copy of the paper, that doesn’t mean it’s not important to take notice of the jobs people used to do. Take, for example, 20 years ago, where the paper didn’t have an opinion or features editor, thus meaning it also didn’t have either of those as a section for people to read.

While the paper didn’t have some of our current positions, it also held jobs we don’t have, such as business manager, typesetter and billing clerk, which have been updated for the times.

Section editors make their mark with long-running series featured in the paper

If you’ve picked up a copy of The Cauldron since mid-way through the 2017 fall semester, you may have noticed that Student Spotlights are a permanent fixture in the Arts and Entertainment section of the paper.

That ongoing series is something that we take great pride in, and it’s not the first time the paper has seen an editor make a set series for their section. Back when the paper first started, Ed Reps’ “Sport Chips” and “the Book Chat” were mini article series that were featured almost every issue of that semester’s paper.

While those series’ eventually faded when those editors left the university, that doesn’t mean new ones didn’t come to be in years following, much like our  Student Spotlight features.

The times may have changed, but students are still asking the same questions

The Cauldron may have formed back in the late 1920s, but that doesn’t mean students attending the university haven’t been asking the same exact questions students today are asking.

A quick look into the archives, you’ll note that the paper has reported on various issues and concerns from students in the past. But, you’ll also find that some of the stories could have been published in issues of the paper in recent years.

For example, back in 1991, The Cauldron published a student-submitted questionnaire, where the paper asked students whether or not Cleveland State should be the home of a football team. Even more relevant, a 1960’s article published the student’s views on the university’s ever-growing parking situation.

Both of which goes to show, some things never change.

The Cauldron was at one time “almost daily,” beating out our bi-weekly schedule

One of the most shocking things to learn about The Cauldron’s history is the paper’s printing schedule. As of right now, the paper runs on a bi-weekly schedule, which results in about seven issues distributed throughout the course of a semester.

While that may seem like a pretty decent amount of issues during one semester, that pales in comparison to the paper’s older printing routines.

At one point in time, the paper actually ran on an “almost daily,” release, which was later turned into the newspaper being released every Monday and Thursday of the regular semester (with the additional release of every third Tuesday during the summer).

Check out The Cauldron throughout the years: 

The Cauldron: First Issue (1929)
Decade: 1930
Decade: 1940
Decade: 1950
Decade: 1960
Decade: 1970
Decade: 1980
Decade: 1990
Decade: 2000
Decade: 2010

One thought

  1. I don’t know how I came across this, but great job!! I was Cauldron editor in 1990 when I was a jr/sr. Great times, Great journalism. And we loved putting the paper out every Monday and Thursday. We had one tiny MacIntosh computer that we shared with the Vindicator. Good times!! And you are right. People and times may change, but not the issues. Keep up the good work!
    Mary Beth Wisniewski Adomaitis
    CSU ‘91