At one time, long before the internet, there was one main source for finding out what was happening on campus.
“The Babson Free Press was the only way to get campus news,” says David Smith ’92, P’21. “When it came out, it was almost an event in and of itself, with everyone grabbing one as they entered Trim.”
Founded in 1971, the Free Press will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Smith, who served as the newspaper’s sports editor, was just one of many students through the decades who spent long hours putting together what now might seem like an ink-stained relic of another time. “It is probably hard for today’s students to imagine a time when an actual newspaper was so important and relevant to student life,” Smith says.
Alumni look back fondly on their stints at the weekly paper. Marcia Fernandes ’79, MBA’80, a features writer for the Free Press, loved its annual mock edition, though something she wrote in one of those editions, she says, “got me hauled into the president’s office.”
Anthony Micale ’03 was the paper’s editor-in-chief when the September 11 attacks happened. The Free Press put out a special edition, the front page filled with a story on a campus candlelight vigil. “The Free Press was not a hobby,” Micale says. “It was a pleasure and a responsibility to produce an ongoing product that enriched the campus.”
Producing that product meant a race against deadlines. Micale remembers many a coffee-fueled all-nighter, as he and the staff readied the paper for the publisher’s 5 a.m. pickup.
“Production night was crazy,” Micale says. “Often, we finished just in time for the publisher to pick up.”
Those all-nighters were not for the faint of heart. “Some student activities are intense only for a season,” says Liz Tidyman ’78, the first woman to serve as the paper’s editor-in-chief (pictured, above right). “The Free Press was intense for its team every week of the academic year. It felt like a win every Thursday to see students reading it.”
The Free Press discontinued its paper edition in 2017, but it continues online today. The current editor-in-chief, Thy Nguyen ’21, is amazed by the passion former staffers still feel for the paper. “I am extremely honored,” she says, “to be carrying on a campus tradition.”
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