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The Auburn Plainsman

The Auburn Plainsman
The front page of the Plainsman, dated November 13, 2008
Type Weekly student newspaper
Format Broadsheet/Online
Owner(s) Independent
Editor-in-chief Becky Hardy
Managing editors Maddie Yerant
Campus editor Corey Williams
Opinion editor Megan Barkdull
Sports editor Eric Wallace
Photo editor Raye May
Founded 1893
Headquarters Suite 1111
255 Heisman Drive
Auburn, AL 36849-5343
ISSN 1071-1279
OCLC number 232118815
Website .comtheplainsman

The Auburn Plainsman is the student-run newspaper for Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. It has notably received awards for excellence from the Associated Collegiate Press and is the second-most decorated student publication in the history of the National Pacemaker competition.

It is published Thursdays throughout each academic term and freely distributed at more than 75 locations. The editor is selected by a group of faculty, students and professional journalists. In turn, the editor hires a paid staff to run the paper and recruits volunteers. Plainsman staff and volunteers create all of the paper's content without the use of a wire service. The business manager, also a student, is selected by a group similar to the one that selects the editor. The business manager hires advertisement salespeople and designers.

The Plainsman is a self-supported publication and receives no student or state taxpayer money. Though located on campus, it pays rent to Auburn University. A typical page count for each modern issue is 20 pages and includes four sections: Campus, Community, Intrigue and Sports.


  • History 1
  • Awards 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Founded by the school's two literary societies, Wirts and Websterians, students began publishing a newspaper for the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama in 1893. The students called it the Orange and Blue after the colors worn by the football team formed a year earlier.

The paper began as twice monthly publication. Through its early years, the paper was small. It resembled other newspapers of the day. The first major change in the paper's traditional production came in 1922, when the name went from the Orange and Blue to The Auburn Plainsman. Name changes since then were minor, as editors have dropped and picked up the word "Auburn," but the word became a permanent fixture in the title in 1961-62, a year after the Alabama Legislature changed the school's name for the final time, from Alabama Polytechnic Institute to Auburn University.

Aside from the paper's name change, the frequency of publication has shifted. It went from one edition per week to two editions per week in the fall of 1928. The Plainsman returned to a weekly publication schedule some time in the late 1940s, and is now the largest weekly newspaper in Alabama.

The first female editor was Martha Rand, in 1944. She was followed by Mimi Simms. Since Rand and Simms, only 10 women have served as editor.

The paper launched its online presence in early 1997 with only selected articles placed on a university-based website. In fall 1997, the first Online Editor, Karl Sebelius, moved the paper to its current online home at The online edition has received one Online Pacemaker in 2003-2004.

The 2000-01 editor, Rachel Davis, lobbied the Board of Communications (Comm Board), a university committee charged with overseeing student media, such as The Plainsman as well as WEGL, for a change in how Plainsman editors were chosen. The tired system of election by the student body was abandoned. Now, Comm Board and its special Advisory Board select the editor, who takes a series of tests before interviewing for the job.

In recent years, Plainsman stories have been picked up by almost every national major media outlet, including stories covering a triple homicide at an off-campus apartment complex, the confession of Toomer's Tree poisoner Harvey Updyke and the theft of more than 1,000 copies of The Plainsman by Auburn SGA members. These stories were picked up by organizations such as the AP, ESPN, NBC, ABC, FOX, CNN, and more.

The Auburn Plainsman is an affiliate of UWIRE,[1] which distributes and promotes its content to their network.


One of collegiate journalism's highest prizes are the National Pacemaker Awards, handed out since 1928 by the Associated Collegiate Press. The Auburn Plainsman is the most decorated student publication in the competition.[2]

  • The Auburn Plainsman's Pacemakers:
    • 2013-2014 National Pacemaker, Kelsey Davis, Editor
    • 2011-2012 National Pacemaker, Miranda Dollarhide, Editor
    • 2004-05, National Pacemaker, James Diffee, Editor
    • 2003-04 Online Pacemaker, David Mackey, Online Editor
    • 2002-03, National Pacemaker, Adam Jones, Editor
    • 2001-02, National Pacemaker, Napo Monasterio, Editor
    • 2000-01, National Pacemaker, Rachel Davis, Editor
    • 1999-00, National Pacemaker, Bill Barrow, Editor
    • 1998-99, National Pacemaker, Lee Davidson, Editor
    • 1996-97, National Pacemaker, Greg Walker, Editor
    • 1994-95, National Pacemaker, Jan Clifford, Editor
    • 1993-94, National Pacemaker, Tom Strother, Editor
    • 1992-93, Pacemaker Finalist, Seth Blomley, Editor
    • 1990-91, Regional Pacemaker, Wade Williams, Editor
    • 1988-89, Regional Pacemaker, David Sharp, Editor
    • 1987-88, Regional Pacemaker, Bret Pippen, Editor
    • 1982-83, Regional Pacemaker, Tim Dorsey, Editor
    • 1981-82, Regional Pacemaker, Steve Parish, Editor
    • 1979-80, National Pacemaker, Rick Harmon, Editor
    • 1975-76, National Pacemaker, Steele Holman, Editor
    • 1974-75, National Pacemaker, Rheta Grimsley Johnson, Editor
    • 1973-74, National Pacemaker, Bill Wood, Editor
    • 1972-73, National Pacemaker, Thorn Botsford, Editor
    • 1971-72, National Pacemaker, John Samford, Editor
    • 1967-68, National Pacemaker, Bruce Nichols, Editor
    • 1966-67, National Pacemaker, Jerry Brown, Editor


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Auburn university news". Auburn university news. 2002-11-08. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 

External links

  • The Auburn Plainsman
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