100 years of love. 100 years of hate. 100 years of the Sheaf.
The University of Saskatchewan’s student newspaper published its first issue Nov. 1, 1912. By its second issue, published one month later on Dec. 1, the Sheaf had already received its first hate mail.
“We have already received many criticisms of our first issue, some favorable, some otherwise, but all helpful and suggestive,” the editorial staff wrote in their introduction to the Sheaf’s second issue.
These criticisms may have arisen from the first issue’s treatise — perhaps radical for its time — on the decreasing role of theological colleges at universities, the jokes on the back page that poked fun at the need for college education, or the bastardized version of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” which described the hardships of the “white and shaking” freshman.
“The staff of the magazine have found the work of starting the paper heavy,” the editorial continued. “They are fully aware that there is room for much improvement but they have done their best.”
The staff knew that they had a wide variety of student perspectives to present. They also knew that, as a voice for the students, they had an opportunity to be more progressive and to take more risks than other media outlets.
The Sheaf, as a paper written for and by students, has a lot of freedom in the content it publishes — especially now that it is independent from the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union.
While this freedom has occasionally polarized the Sheaf’s reputation, both as a radical and progressive outlet and as an offensive rag, it is a freedom necessary to sustain the diverse student voice on the U of S campus.
In the Sheaf’s first few years, according to the USSU’s history of the paper, the university’s Student Representative Council, which ran the paper at the time, threatened to cancel publication of the Sheaf.
“World War One was taking its toll on campus, and the Sheaf was no exception, losing editors, staff and business managers,” the USSU history wrote. “Further, poor business practices and inconsistent funding caused the Sheaf to run a deficit in its early years.”
Students, however, moved to save the newspaper. In 1915, the SRC introduced a one-dollar levy to student fees to fund publication.
By the fall of 1920, after high demand from students for more frequent publication, the Sheaf became a weekly newspaper.
Today, the Sheaf continues to publish every week and, when this year’s Thursday, Nov. 1 paper hits the stands, it will mark exactly 100 years since the first-ever Sheaf.
On Nov. 2 and 3, Sheaf alumni as well as current and former University of Saskatchewan students are invited to celebrate the centennial anniversary.
On Friday, Nov. 2, groups will tour campus as well as the Diefenbaker Canada Centre before heading to Winston’s English Pub for a meet-and-greet. On Saturday, Nov. 3, inside the Neatbly-Timlin Theatre in the Arts Building, Brian Gable, a former Sheaf staff member and current editorial cartoonist for the Globe and Mail, will give a keynote speech. Following Gable’s address, a panel of reporters, writers and notable Sheaf alumni will discuss the newspaper and the direction of journalism. The events will wrap up with a gala at Louis’ on Saturday.[box type=”note” icon=”none”]
$60 for students (come to our office)
$80 before Oct. 12
$100 after Oct. 12
Tickets can be purchased using the widget above, or at the Sheaf office, located above Louis’ inside the Memorial Union Building. You can find more centennial info and also buy tickets at sheaf100.com or picatic.com/sheaf.[/box]
Graphic: Bryn Becker/The Sheaf