90 years ago
UB students launch newspaper
In 1920, the UB Student Activities Committee began to foster “activities that were considered essential for a great university.” A band was formed, and the Glee Club and Orchestra were given new life. Dramatics took on new life, and debating was introduced.
The Bison, the student humor magazine, “was put on its feet as a paying proposition.” After an absence of 10 years, the yearbook, the “Iris,” resumed publication.
By year’s end, plans were in place for a daily section, entitled the “Bee” to appear in the Buffalo Commercial. Dedicated to reporting news about UB, staff members of the “Bee” proclaimed as their objective: “To bring the various departments of our university together and to introduce the faculty, students and alumni to the people of Buffalo.”
“Like the naming of a baby, the naming of a college publication is far from being an easy task and sometimes the results are far from gratifying,” wrote the editor.
“We believe that the “Bee” is an appropriate name for our paper. “The bee is synonymous with industry. Though small, its work is of great importance to man.
“The University of Buffalo is made up of six different colleges. In the past there has been no means of uniting these six colleges so as to have concentrated effort. In fact, we hardly know the members of the faculty and the students outside of those in our own college. We need, as does no other university, a college daily.
“The university has grown up like six widely separated fruit trees. Each year much of its college spirit, or fruit, has been wasted because of the lack of interchange of ideas. The Bee will do the work of a bee, and by an exchange of news, so cross-pollinate the blossoms in each department that none will be wasted and the university will bear a bumper crop.
“Realizing that though small in size it may do great work, which when completed will bring forth an abundant crop of college spirit and activities, we believe the Bee to be the most appropriate name for our college daily.”
In the fall of 1921, the Bee severed it connection with the Buffalo Commercial and became an independent weekly. The editors appealed to students to pay the $2 subscription fee—“Whether or not this university will have a newspaper depends upon the student body. Unless 1,000 students subscribe for the Bee, Buffalo will not have this feature, which is so essential to college lie.”
Published for nearly 30 years, the Bee focused almost entirely on student activities, and often with humor. There was little coverage of events beyond the UB campus. The paper’s sometime frivolous style came under attack in the years immediately following World War II when UB enrolled an older and more diverse student body.
Editorial warfare broke out between the Bee and a rival paper, the Argus, that had been founded in 1947. In 1950, funding was withheld from both papers. On Nov. 17, 1950, the successor to the two rival papers published its first issue. More than 60 years later, the Spectrum continues to be UB’s student newspaper.
For more information about the Spectrum and its availability online, see “60 years of the Spectrum” in UB Libraries Today.
—John Edens, University Archives