The Winonan celebrates 100 years


A collage of the Winonan logo as it changed through each decade starting in 1920. In celebration of 100 years in print the Winonan will be hosting different events such as “Media Mondays,” a speaker series and hosting a centennial celebration during the official centennial weekend at the end of October.

Zach Bailey and Sydney Mohr

As classes begin on another year at Winona State, so do celebrations of 100 years of the Winonan.

The Winonan, which first printed under the name “The Pow-Wow” on Oct. 28, 1919, has since been a staple at Winona State University, breaking many stories across campus as well as enacting change in dozens of departments at Winona State.

Though the Winonan has impacted Winona State as a whole, Russ Dennison, Archives Librarian and “unofficial Winona State historian,” spoke about how most of the impact the Winonan has had on the Winona State community has been through the students, as opposed to the university itself.

“It’s had a big effect on the students, and a lesser effect on the university itself, but still an effect,” Dennison said. “It’s been a venue in which students are informed. The drive [for Winona State to be called the Warriors] was started by the Winonan to have a school name, and eventually we got the name because of that.”

Along with the ability to be a voice for the students, Dennison also said the major role the Winonan has played during its time at Winona State was through means of mass communication.

“It was the communications point, if you think of when it started back in 1919, what forms of communication were there? Radio was in its infancy back then, it was newspapers or bulletin boards, and that was it.”

Nicole Girgen
Left to right: News Editor Madelyn Swenson, Editor-In-Chief Zach Bailey, Copy Editor Morgan Reddekopp, Features Editor Sydney Mohr and Sports Editor Mitchell Breuer. The editing staff of the Winonan meet every Monday night to design each new issue of the Winonan.

Tanya Ryan, mass communication department chair and former Winonan staff member, also spoke on behalf of the Winonan’s effects on students.

“[The Winonan] gives them a way to practice their skills and publish their writing, and to get that experience,” Ryan said. “I do think that in the journalism field, publishing in a print media is a big deal, it’s a good thing for your portfolio as opposed to putting it on a blog. They learn about the profession of journalism and advertising.”

Ryan, who worked in the advertising department of the Winonan from 1996-98, said she first got into because she wanted to work in a position related to her advertising major.

“There weren’t newspapers online anywhere, so the print form was what you did,” Ryan said. “To see the printed edition come out, and to see something I made be printed was really cool.”

Along with being able to see her work printed, Ryan said she also believes working for the Winonan helped her gain her first job.

“I’m 99 percent sure my job at the Winonan got me my first job out of college,” Ryan said. “My first job before I graduated was working for a newspaper selling and creating ads, and they were surprised that I had done this before, so I showed them my portfolio, it was awesome. I didn’t like selling ads and ad space, but working for the Winonan got me experience and my first job, which led me to my next job.”

Though it’s been just over 20 years since Ryan’s time working for the Winonan, she said the paper has remained mostly the same, only adding new features.

“It’s still published the same, but I know it has different online components now, and all the set up and the way things are done is digital now,” Ryan said.

However, Ryan said she has noticed a decline in popularity of the paper since her time in college.

“It was a really big deal then, it was the only way people could talk to each other because it was before social media, so everyone read it, everyone had a copy of it when I was in college, there wasn’t somewhere else for people to read news and get more information,” Ryan said.

Dennison also commented on the decline in readership during his time at Winona State.

“It was a lot bigger back in the 60s, 70s, 80s, as far as influence on campus, how ubiquitous it was,” Dennison said. “How many students read the Winonan now, versus how many read it then. Back then you’d see people walking around campus carrying the Winonan and you’d walk into the Smaug, what’s now called ‘Zanes’ and you’d see people reading constantly.”

Tom Grier, mass communication professor and advisor of the Winonan, also spoke on how the Winonan has changed throughout his 12 years as the advisor.

“There have been many changes at the Winonan over the years. Each year the new editor-in-chief and the student leadership team brings their own ideas and goals to the operation of the student paper,” Grier said. “There’s less focus on advertising in recent years, and an increased presence online and in social media to further draw attention to the student writing, photography and editing.”

Ryan finished by saying her thoughts on the importance the Winonan has throughout campus.

“If it were to be in jeopardy of going away, I would be very upset,” Ryan said. “I would do everything I could to keep it here, because I feel that it’s a super valuable tool and outlet for students to get experience.”

While the newspaper might seem small in today’s age of social media and digital print, Grier stated the Winonan has had a positive effect on the mass communication department.

“I’d say about half of the staff of the Winonan and most of the leaders on the Winonan’s editing staff are mass communication majors,” Grier said. “Their leadership abilities often flow over into classes and have had a positive impact on fellow students. I like when students in my classes are involved at The Winonan.”

Though staff and printing numbers have declined in recent years, the Winonan is nowhere near being in “jeopardy of going away” in the near future, and staff members are currently planning and implementing events for various centennial celebrations during the 2019-20 school year.

The Winonan has been a staple of the Winona State community during the last 100 years, and plans on celebrating their centennial year as such. Throughout the 2019-20 school year, the Winonan will be hosting many different events to celebrate how we have evolved and changed throughout the past century.

One new event the Winonan will be debuting during their centennial semester are “Media Mondays.” On the last Monday of every month, the Winonan will be hosting an event in Kryzsko’s Student Union open to all students from 12-2 p.m.

Alongside the Winonan, “Media Mondays” will host different student media organizations from across campus, such as Society for Collegiate Journalists and KQAL, among others. The event will also feature a different local media organization from within the Winona area, such as Leighton Broadcasting and the Winona Post.

Along with being able to explore more media outlets from the Winona area, there will be games and prizes available for students who attend the event.

Another centennial event being started is a monthly speaker series featuring various media personnel from a wide variety of fields.

Speakers will discuss the journalism/media fields, along with tips and tricks for students to use throughout college.

The first event, taking place on at 5 p.m. on Sept. 13 in SLC 120, will feature Jessica Lee from MinnPost.

Finally, the Winonan will be hosting a centennial celebration the weekend of Oct. 25-27, which will include tabling at the Game Day Experience, a banquet for Winonan alumni and a chance for alumni to sit in on a budget meeting for the Winonan. All of these events give students and alumni a chance to view and reflect on how the Winonan has affected campus and how it has changed as a whole over the past century.

As the semester settles from the hectic first few weeks of classes, make sure to keep checking in to the Winonan for more information on what is going on around campus, as well as to keep up to date with the different events going on for this year’s centennial celebration.

Nicole Girgen
Samantha McDonald, business manager of the Winonan, distributes papers to a rack outside of Zane’s. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Winonan, and one of the changes comes in the form of new paper dimensions.