University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Independence Day
Rachel Bokhout, Reuben Schwarz, Steve Petranik, Thomas Simpson and Ken Whitehurst. Photo by Lisa Sakulensky

Independence Day

The Independent Weekly celebrates 25 years

Twenty-five years ago, U of T’s first independent student newspaper hit the stands. Succinctly titled the newspaper, the publication had no official ties to the university and, more importantly, received no subsidies from it.

“Although the advantages of a free press at the University of Toronto are clear enough, one thing remains to be demonstrated: whether it will work,” wrote Steve Petranik (BA 1980 St. Mike’s), Thomas Simpson (BASc 1978, MBA 1981) and Ken Whitehurst (BA 1982 VIC) in the inaugural issue on September 6, 1978.

The answer was clear at the 25th anniversary reunion of the newspaper – now called The Independent Weekly – on April 12 at Hart House. Former staffers, among them Ontario health minister Tony Clement (BA 1983 UC, LLB 1986) and author Rick Marin (MA 1985), gathered to reminisce and to meet their successors, including 2002-2003 editors Rachel Bokhout and Reuben Schwarz.

“We programmed into the newspaper’s DNA a survival gene,” says Simpson. “It’s one that has produced a succession of editors who have upheld the idea of the importance of an independent newspaper on campus.”

Recent Posts

Jialiang Zhu standing next to a sunflower patch

Come From Away

These seven international students and alumni are among the thousands who contribute to scholarly and cultural life at U of T

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. 2 Responses to “ Independence Day ”

  2. Staff says:

    The piece leading off “Alumni Notes” (Summer 2003) asserts that the newspaper, first published in 1978, was U of T’s first independent student newspaper. To the best of my knowledge, an independent newspaper that rejoiced in the name Campus was published in 1945 and 1946. It was in direct competition with The Varsity, of which I was assistant managing editor at the time.

    Bob Robinson
    Willowdale, Ont.

  3. Staff says:

    Editor’s Note: Actually, U of T has seen many independent student-run newspapers come and go. Archivist Harold Averill reports that College Topics was published between 1897 and 1902. Then there was The Goblin, which started publishing in 1921 and lasted about 12 years, and The Reporter, which published several issues in 1949. The newspaper (which recently readopted that name after being known for five years as The Independent Weekly) is by far U of T’s longest-running “independent” publication.