With a sense of immediacy, students quickly organized to create a news outlet for the UCI community. The first student-run newspaper, Spectrum, was founded on October 11, 1965, one week after the first day of classes. The first issue came out just one week later on October 20th.
The establishment of the Irvine Student Press Corporation at the October 11th meeting was meant to proclaim the paper's autonomy by setting in place a non-profit organization as its sponsor. Because it was independent from the university, administration and student government, Spectrum did not rely on institutional funds. According to Don David, Spectrum Business Manager, the premise was "to insure responsible journalism – free from radical bias or the inhibited freedom to be obscene, libelous or seditious – is to create a newspaper that is independent and self-supporting. If a newspaper is dependent upon its own advertisers, subscribers, and reading audience, then it must reflect their desires or fail."
Student newspapers offer insight into the issues that are important to the student population. Spectrum appeared weekly, and its reporters covered sports, selection of the school mascot, and election of the first student government, as well as cultural and social events.
Student concerns materialized into witty reporting on the part of Spectrum staff, who captured the ordeals that have affected students throughout the decades. One such issue for students past and present is parking. The article "UCI Parking Chaos in Need of Resolution" in Spectrum's premiere issue satirically proposed the use of moving sidewalks to transport students from remote parking lots.
Spectrum's last issue was published on January 27, 1966. Although its existence was short-lived, the paper set a precedent for subsequent student newspapers on campus.
Tongue took the helm as the UCI student newspaper on February 10, 1966. Although the first edition was published one week after the dissolution of Spectrum, the paper was already months in the making. Its debut issue spelled out the paper's guiding principles: "To better inform students, faculty, and administration of campus affairs, through friendly competition with existing news media." Tongue, like Spectrum, was created by UCI students as a non-profit corporation. According to its creators, this maintained the spirit of autonomy and helped ensure balanced reporting.
Tongue's Tongue-in-check style was evident in the first issue's subtitle: Homer's quotation, "The windy satisfaction of the Tongue." The paper's humor also lent itself to comparison with Mad Magazine, a high-profile, satirical national periodical of the day. While the paper's approach was witty, all aspects of student life were covered. Tongue was credited by the succeeding newspaper, Anthill, as being "instrumental in the defeat of Irvine's first constitution."
Although Tongue's presence on campus was ephemeral, lasting only five issues, its humorous outlook on burgeoning campus life was a welcome infusion of amusement for students at the new campus. Tongue ended publication on May 13, 1966, and the existence of independently-funded newspapers as the primary news outlets at UCI also came to an end.
During the summer months after the inaugural year at UCI, the staff of Anthill's forerunners, Spectrum and Tongue, sought funding for the creation of a new newspaper. The second scholastic year saw the establishment of an "official" student newspaper. With funding from the newly created Associated Students of UC Irvine (ASUCI) Publications Board, Anthill was given funding and "the prestige of being an official publication of ASUCI." On October 6, 1966, UCI's first truly official newspaper was printed.
Anthill was the conduit between the preceding autonomous newspapers to an institutional voice of the university. Perhaps most telling is the lack of guiding principles for Anthill in contrast with those stated for Spectrum and Tongue. Anthill did, however, hope to include the best elements of its predecessors by reporting in a lighthearted manner the issues that concerned students.
Although the UCI campus was less than five years old, through Anthill, students rallied to speak out regarding issues that affected them. The paper reflected the national social and political changes that were occurring in the United States during the late 1960s. At the local level, students used Anthill to voice their opinion about university issues such as a proposal to begin charging tuition for enrollment at the University of California and the dismissal of UC President Kerr, while on a national level they protested the war in Vietnam.
Anthill ceased production at the end of the 1968 school year.
New University (1968-present)
In fall 1968, students were greeted with a new official student newspaper, the New University. The "New U" has been published weekly ever since 1968, making it the longest-running student newspaper in UCI's history.
During its early years, the New U covered controversial topics that affected students in an outspoken manner. The young newsppaer zealously covered topics such as racism in Orange County, the Vietnam War, presidential elections, and freedom of speech. The changing national mood after the mid-1970s was reflected when the focus of the newspaper turned to events and student life on UCI's campus.