The Earlham Word is back after a hiatus of two years! A new group of students from all four classes is leading the publication with the mentorship of several alumni and faculty members. The Earlham Word is only the latest journalistic publication in Earlham’s long history of student-led journalism.
Earlham students began journalistic writing in the late nineteenth century, leading to the establishment of the literary magazine The Earlhamite in 1911. At the same time, The Earlham Press was established, a male-only press club led by the paper’s management. After controversy and protests of their exclusivity, the club was dissolved in 1925. The Quaker Quill was established that year and became The Earlham Post in 1931. The Earlham Post was Earlham’s longest-running publication from 1931-1984. After The Earlham Post fell, the next group of students formed The Earlham Word in 1986, maintained throughout the internet’s creation. Low student engagement was the downfall of the latest edition of The Word and the pandemic was the final nail in the coffin.
The Earlham Word staff have decided to revive the publication because we believe journalism is an important form of media now more than ever. Domestic students went to middle school and high school during the Trump administration and vividly remember Trump’s and his staff ’s daily attacks against news media. We know the importance of sharing and representing our own narratives after watching Fox News, Breitbart, and forums like 4chan getting boosted, while sources that didn’t support Trump were censored and threatened. After the United States Postal Service was demonized for transporting pro-democrat ballots, we know that it’s up to us to be a local platform of free speech and teach future students to write their narratives.
The renovation of The Word is the work of managing editor Ferris Odeh, a current graduate student who first graduated from Earlham in 2012. In the span of a few months, Odeh met with the administration to allocate funding and a newsroom and created paid positions for five student editors. Any student regardless of experience is welcome to become a staff member for The Word and apply their skills to writing, interviewing, video, or social media. Skills that students acquire at The Word can be applied to research in graduate school and careers in communications, marketing, education, and much more.