The Phoenix Is Back in Print

Photo by Anatole Shukla for The Phoenix.

The very first issue of The Phoenix was printed on December 1, 1881. Its inaugural editorial board was a group of eleven students with a desire to provide their community with an advocate for truth and independence through fair and honest journalism. In its salutation to its first-ever readers, The Phoenix’s first editorial board wrote:

“With a feeling of fear and hope do we now for the first time present to the eyes of a critical public this humble attempt in the way of journalism … We fondly hope to see the Phoenix what we wish it to be — a paper devoted to the best interests of our college, of our fellow-students, and an advocate of truth and independence … While we are willing to do whatever is within our power to make the Phoenix a success, we are aware how much is staked upon the support which you, Friends of the College, lend it; to you we look for its final success, In your hands we place its future fate.”

For 139 years, The Phoenix has continually printed and served as an annal of the history of the college and the people in it. It is one of the few lasting, accessible records of campus life and discourse over the last 140 years. It shifted from a monthly to weekly newspaper in the late early 1900s, covering essential campus issues including, but not limited to, Swarthmore African Students Society’s 1968-1969 movement for greater representation, Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi’s attempt to endow the Tri-Co with a $590,000 grant to found an Arab studies program in 1978, and the explosive fraternity leaks of 2019.

March 2020 to October 2021 marks the only time in The Phoenix’s history that, due to COVID-19, we ceased to provide our key good to Swarthmore students, faculty, staff, and community members: our print newspaper. Though we continued to take pride in regularly publishing news on our website, as we lost our physical newspaper, we also lost our tangible connection with our community.

There is something undeniably special about physical media; there’s a reason that cassettes and vinyls remain popular, despite MP3s files and streaming services like Spotify outclassing them in terms of convenience. Similarly, even though we can, and do, publish online for the convenience of our readers, it is of immense importance to The Phoenix to have a physical newspaper. Our print newspaper is an item that symbolizes not only The Phoenix, but the Swarthmore community itself. Students pick up copies of The Phoenix at Sharples and open them wide on the tables as they peer at the pages with their friends; contributors see their names in print and have physical proof that they are serving their communities; prospective students grab copies of The Phoenix from Parrish and take them home as reminders of their time at Swarthmore.

Frankly, in this media climate, it is increasingly difficult to foster and sustain print journalism. Community newspapers are disappearing at an alarming rate., and The Phoenix’s current printer, Hocking Printing Co., Inc, is the third printing company we’ve worked with in three years. We are deeply appreciative and thankful to Hocking Printing for their excellent services and willingness to work with us; at the same time, our change in printers was not out of choice as an organization, but due to our previous two printers closing their doors and dropping us as a client, respectively. Nevertheless, The Phoenix Editorial Board is more invigorated and committed than ever to its goal of providing fair and honest journalism for the entire Swarthmore community.

We are immensely excited to return to print, a format that affords more wonder and joy than publishing exclusively online. We are grateful not only for our readers, but for every person — every editor, every writer, every photographer, every copy editor, every contributor — who dedicates time and energy to ensure that The Phoenix remains an institution in which the Swarthmore community can take pride.

The Phoenix is as strong as each of its individual contributors and as the willingness of each of its readers to support independent journalism. While we, The Phoenix’s Editorial Board, are willing to do everything within our power to make The Phoenix a success, we are aware of the importance of the support which you, members of the Swarthmore campus community, lend it. To you, therefore, we look for its final success. In your hands we place its future fate.

Pick up your copy of The Phoenix on Thursday evening in Parrish, Sharples, Kohlberg, McCabe, or Sci Center.


Anatole Shukla ’22, Editor-in-Chief
Neel Gupta ’22, Managing Editor
Best Chantanapongvanij ’23 Managing Editor
Cami Brix ’23, Editor-at-Large
Remy Kanegene ’24, News Section Editor
Lauren Mermelstein ’24, News Section Editor
Suhyun Kim ’24, Opinions Editor
Jacinta Fernandes-Brough ’24, Opinions Editor
Emma Garrett ’25, Arts Editor
Anna Suh ’22, Sports Section Editor
Ally Scheve ’22 Sports Section Editor
Elena Lee ’23, Campus Journal Editor
John “Martin” Tomlinson ’23 Photo Editor
Isabelle Titcomb ’22 Photo Editor
Kyra Roepke ’24, Chief Copy Editor
Grace Liu ’24, Layout Editor
Catherine Zhao ’22, Social Media Editor

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