Student Media Organizations

Drake’s hands-on communications curriculum has long been complemented by a wide array of extracurricular student media and professional organizations. The independent media are overseen by a University Board of Publications (now the Board of Student Communications), established in 1926.

The campus newspaper, the Times-Delphic (which began in 1884 as The Delphic), is the longest-existing student media organization. Other early publications included Caprice, Foolscap, and Quax, the long-running (1901-1994) yearbook. Both the Times-Delphic and the Quax archives have been digitized and are searchable via Cowles Library’s online Drake University Digital Collections.

With the advent of radio education, Drake partnered with local stations to allow students to produce news and entertainment programs. Drake students have produced content for the local cable TV system, and the Drake Broadcasting System bills its annual coverage of the Drake Relays as the oldest, biggest student-run production in the country. The campus radio station, KDRA “The Dog,” was previously a low-power FM station. It now streams music, news, features, and Drake sports programming online worldwide.

Drake chapters of the Ad Club and the Public Relations Student Society of America started in 1972 with close connections to the local professional community.

For four decades, Drake students have produced the award-winning Drake Magazine, as well as various publications that have been created as class projects, including the current multimedia website, Urban Plains. Over the years, SJMC students have also participated in campus humor and literary magazines. In 2014, students interested in both politics and communication started Drake Political Review. All of the student media organizations now also produce websites.

Drake student work, both curricular and extracurricular, is consistently recognized in local, regional, and national contests. In 2016-2017 alone, student work in all majors won more than 75 awards.

A chapter of Sigma Delta Chi (SDX, now Society of Professional Journalists) was chartered in 1924. Theta Sigma Phi (now Women in Communication) was founded on campus in 1933. Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honorary society for the top journalism and mass communication graduates, was chartered at Drake in 1971.

Students studied photo editing and magazine production in a classroom of the newly built Meredith Hall in the 1960s.

The campus newspaper staff in the early 1900s.

Times-Delphic Editors

Since School of Journalism Created in 1962

  • Max Deal (1961-62)
  • Marv Gatch (1961-62)
  • Jo Fuller (1962-63)
  • Mary Rae Davis (1963-64)
  • Mary Morris (1964-65)
  • Larry Fish (1965-66)
  • Jerry Mursener (1966-67)
  • Kyle McGonigle (1967-68)
  • Mearle Griffith (1968-69)
  • Michael D. Sorkin (1968-69)
  • Bob Warren (1969-70)
  • Randy Minkoff (1970-71)
  • Tim Harper (1971-72)
  • Renee Nault (1972-73)
  • Michael J. Chasar (1973-74)
  • Kaye Ross (1974-75)
  • Mark S. Plavac (1975-76)
  • Kathy Richardson (1975-76)
  • Dave Nicklaus (1976-77)
  • Dave Bell (1976-77)
  • Sheila Brune (1977-78)
  • Martha Kegel (1978-79)
  • Jane Norman (1979-80)
  • George Brewster (1979-80)
  • Chris Thomas (1980-81)
  • Mark Topkin (1981-82)
  • Jane Juffer (1982-83)
  • Brian Heidel (1983-84)
  • Charlene Postell (1984-85)
  • Gage Church (1985-86)
  • Sandy Bauman (1986-87)
  • Eric Aspenson (1987-88)
  • Heather Reed (1988-89)
  • Joy Riggs (1989-90)
  • Beth Podtburg (1990-91)
  • Paula Steinle (1991-92)
  • Paul Soucy (1991-92)
  • Kevin Potter (1992-93)
  • Hope Rowold (1993-94)
  • Tawny Colaizy (1994-95)
  • Daniel P. Finney (1995-96)
  • Daniel P. Finney (1996-97)
  • Chris Grenz (1997-98)
  • Amy Crevoiserat (1998-99)
  • Mike Decaire (1998-99)
  • Jennifer Vogt (1999-2000)
  • Beth Cross (2000-01)
  • Deanna Truman-Cook (2001-02)
  • Nick Powills (2002-03)
  • Melissa Ruthenbeck (2004-05)
  • Liz Owens (2003-04)
  • Erin Delahanty (2005-06)
  • Alissa Cunningham (2006-07)
  • Kate Baier (2007-08)
  • Mallory George (2008-09)
  • Matt Vasilogambros (2009-10)
  • Lizzie Pine (2010-11)
  • Kristen Smith (2011-12)
  • Lauren Horsch (2012-13)
  • Taylor Soule (2013-14)
  • Courtney Fishman (2014-15)
  • Tim Webber (2015-16)
  • Jessica Lynk (2016-17)
  • Jessie Spangler (2017-18)
  • Lorien MacEnulty (2018-19)
  • Ivy Beckenholdt (2018-19)
  • Rachel James (2019-2020)


Bulldog Tales

Beginning in 1946 through the mid-1990s, the student journalism professional organizations Sigma Delta Chi (SDX, now Society of Professional Journalists) and Theta Sigma Phi (now Association for Women in Communication) hosted a campus-wide variety show and talent contest to raise money for scholarships. Bulldog Tales contestants ranged from vocal groups to musicians, comedy skits, and magicians. Professionals from local media organizations were the judges. Bulldog Tales Sweepstakes winners for 1956 were The Majors. After the show, the winners were aided by one of the judges, who was a disc jockey, in getting a recording contract.

The campus “Queen of Queens,” Miss Drake, was crowned at Bulldog Tales. The 1956 Miss Drake, Marilyn Shonka, is pictured with two of her attendants at the Friday evening performance of the two-night production. Shonka was Miss Iowa in the 1953 Miss Universe contest.

“Paul is dead”

One of the more bizarre chapters in Drake student media history occurred in 1969, when the Times-Delphic was responsible for starting an international rumor that Beatle Paul McCartney had died. Columnist Kyle Munson recalled the story in The Des Moines Register in 2014:

The “Paul is Dead” rumor more or less was launched in 1969 in Des Moines.

Dartanyan Brown was associate editor of the Times-Delphic student newspaper at Drake University, as well as an intern at The Des Moines Register. He and fellow members of the Black & Blues Band lived in a house at 1127 28th St., where musicians convened to jam and crash on sofas.

A young couple from Michigan passed through one night and told Brown about McCartney’s supposed death and how the Beatles had encrypted messages within their songs. Brown mentioned this to a Times-Delphic colleague, Tim Harper, who then published an article titled “Is Beatle Paul McCartney Really Dead?” in the Sept. 17 issue. 

This became the earliest documented source in print of the rumor — a rumor that circled the globe and a decade ago was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as No. 1 on its list of “Rock’s Wildest Myths.” 

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