State Press alumni remember print: Len Munsil

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I was State Press Editor in 1984-85 and ran on the platform of expanding publication from four days to five days per week, which we implemented in Fall 1984. I met my future wife, Dr. Tracy (Fletcher) Munsil at the State Press — she was Editor in 1983-84, and many of the stories of our early relationship are centered around our time at the State Press.

A quarter-century later our oldest daughter, Leigh Munsil, served as State Press Editor. Our oldest son, Will Munsil, was a columnist while in law school, and another son, Michael Munsil, was a copy editor. I’m guessing 5 family members and 3 Editors is probably a family record. I certainly understand the technological changes affecting the newspaper industry and the need for digital news to move online.Nevertheless, it saddens me.

In the 1980s, the news and opinions and reviews in the State Press were the center of attention on campus, and often created enough controversy to be covered in local and national media. Knowing that tens of thousands of students, faculty, staff and administration were reading your articles in print each day in our university community — and seeing visual evidence of that fact as you walked the campus — was a thrill for journalists of any age, but especially in your teens and early 20s. I recall being told by the station manager for ASU’s radio station that, in a poll of their listeners, I was the second-most requested interview subject on campus — behind only the football coach, but ahead of the Police Chief and the ASU President. It’s hard to imagine that level of community attention to the news when it is only available online. I hope I’m wrong.

The greatest memories, of course, are the relationships formed through long hours in the basement of Matthews Center in Tempe. The strong network and connection of so many former staffers of varying backgrounds and political inclinations is obvious today. I hope future ASU journalists will find ways to experience similar connection in their time at the digital State Press. And at least their fingers won’t be black with newsprint.

Len Munsil

Editor-in-Chief, 1984-85

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