#673 – Dick Bernard: The 1960-61 Viking News of Valley City State Teachers College

(click to enlarge photos and graphic)

The Jan. 2 musing about Valley City State Teachers College 1958-61 became longer and longer, but as I completed it, it didn’t feel complete without finally, after over 50 years, dealing with the Viking News I had the privilege of editing in 1960-61. All 13 (and 76 pages) of the issues are in pdf form below. It was worth the better part of a day of work to do this. Perhaps one or two folks from those halcyon days of yesteryear will find a memory or two or three! I surely did.
1960-61 was the ‘good old days’ of technology.
Those newspapers – on 10″x14″ inch white glossy paper, were typeset on linotype at the Valley City Times Record. Mr. Vandestreek (as I knew him, his byline was C. Vandestreek) was the editor or publisher and the person to whom I delivered the copy, and the corrections for each issue of the Viking News. I watched the linotype guys do their work. I walked the half dozen or so blocks from campus up to the newspaper office.
We staff people were all amateurs, but we had good practice and an outstanding adviser in Mrs. Canine. We operated out of a room in the basement of Old Main at the College, and worked with manual typewriters.
Mrs. Canine was a tiny lady but a formidable person. No one even thought of messing with Mrs. Canine! She had that commanding presence that on occasion comes in handy.
Science instructor, Mr. Ovrebo, seems to have done almost all of the picture-taking, and he did a great job. Photography must have been his hobby. This was in the day of black and white film, and flash bulbs. Picture taking was hard work. I’d guess Mr. Ovrebo did his own developing and printing in a darkroom at home or on campus.
The volunteer staff of the paper changed by the month. I took the time to do a count, and in all 56 people, including five teachers, were named as contributors to the paper, in one way or another. Seven of us were on the staff for all 13 issues: myself, Robert Rieth, Dick Greene, Doug Dougherty, Diane Pederson, Marcia Bemis and Darleen Hartman.
I think Mrs. Canine liked the work we did in 1960-61, and at the end of the year she gave me a set of the newspapers, stapled in the margin. Now, 52 years later, they are once again “republished” in a manner that none of us could have imagined back then: on a blog over the internet.
The contents of our newsletter speak for themselves. Our ad salesman apparently did a very good job; you can see the ads for the movies that happened to be showing at the single theater in town around deadline date!
We were just a bunch of kids, and it was a good year. Thanks for the memories.
Issues of the Viking News:
September 23, 1960 (four pages): Viking News Sep 23 60002
October 6, 1960 (four pages): Viking News Oct 6 60001
November 3, 1960 (six pages): Viking News Nov 3 60001
December 5, 1960 (six pages): Viking News Dec 5, 1960001
January 20, 1961 (six pages): Viking News Jan 20 1961001
February 16, 1961 (six pages): Viking News Feb16 1961001
March 15, 1961 (six pages): Viking News Mar 15 1961001
March 29, 1961 (six pages): Viking News Mar 29 1961001
April 14, 1961 (six pages): Viking News Apr 14 1961001
April 28, 1961 (six pages): Viking News Apr 28 1961001
May 3, 1961 (eight pages, Senior Edition): Viking News May 3 1961001
May 24, 1961 (six pages): Viking News May 24 1961002
July 5, 1961 (six pages): Viking News July 5 1961001

This list changed somewhat with each issue. Bernard, Rieth, Greene, Dougherty, Pederson and Hartman, as well as Mrs. Canine and Mr. Ovrebo, were on staff for all the issues.

Mrs. Mary Hagen Canine, Viking News Advisor

Mr. Ovrebo, Faculty member and photographer for Viking News

#494 – Dick Bernard: On New Years Eve, A look back to 1960

“What are you doing New Years…New Years Eve?”
For us, our six year old grandson will be an overnight guest tonight. That makes for a reasonably predictable “New Years Eve”.
As for the year just finishing, and the year ahead: 2011 depends on the interpreter; 2012 is as yet unknown. They’re all important, these New Years. Collectively we’ll be fashioning that six year olds future in the days and years ahead. We’re all he and all of his cohort, everywhere, have to depend on.
My favorite blogger, Alan, writing from LA, summarizes the year now ending in today’s Just Above Sunset posting.
His columns are long, but always a worthwhile read.
Earlier this week I took a stab at what’s ahead by reflecting on a college newspaper column I came across from November 3, 1960.
What I wrote follows: (if you’re one of those who wants to ‘cut to the chase’ read the bold-faced sections.)

Watching the Election Returns, November, 1960, in the "Rec Room" at Valley City ND State Teachers College. (from the 1961 Viking Annual)

I’m old enough to live in the fog of the “old days”.
But there are lessons…and teachers…from that past – people who are most often ‘anonymous’ or ‘unknown’. Here’s one such lesson, from someone called “Mac”.
Over 50 years ago – it was September 23, 1960 – a headline of the Viking News at Valley City State Teachers College (STC) proclaimed “Bernard Chosen as Viking News Editor”.
That fellow, Bernard, was me. Somebody concluded that I’d do okay at the job. Newspaper adviser Mary Hagen Canine kept copies of the fourteen issues published ‘on my watch’, and somehow the issues and the memories they record have managed to survive until the present day.
When that first issue published in late September, 1960, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were vying for President of the U.S.

NY Gov. Nelson Rockefeller had whistle-stopped Valley City in June. He was a possible Republican candidate. I went down to the City Park to hear him speak.
In that first Viking News, I wrote an editorial, part of which referred to a column on the same page called “Meditations” by “Mac”. Mac, I said, was “Charles Licha [who] attended STC several years ago”. He had returned “for his last quarter before graduation. He is married and is the father of five children, and presently holds the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army.”

November 3, 1960, right before the election, “Mac” wrote a long column including a section, “A Time to Think”, directed to we students, many of us not yet 21 and thus ineligible to vote.
The column would fit today as well as it did then:
In part: “Walking down the hall the other day, I was suddenly struck by the thought that here at STC, a wonderful thing is taking place. I’m speaking specifically about two tables that are placed in close proximity to the rec room door. As closely as I can determine, one of these tables is strictly Democrat while the other is strictly Republican…What party are you for? Which man do you think is the Best Man? What are your reasons for your choices? Even if all of you are not of voting age, every one of you should have an answer to these questions and others questions equally as important.
He continued, “just remember that a portion of this country is yours, just as surely as though you held title or deed to it! For that reason the selection of the Chief Executive and lesser dignitaries charged with the affairs of the nation and the individual states should be of immediate concern to you. An attitude that smacks of “My one vote makes no difference, “I won’t vote because I don’t like either man,” or “I just don’t have the time” is not only anti-patriotic and stupid, it’s anti-you, and a direct denial of your responsibilities.”

Capt. Licha died in 1975 at only 48. By 1965 he was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam (scroll down for photo). He had earlier served in WWII and Korea, and was career Army. Residual effects of Malaria contracted in WWII contributed to his death at a young age. The last few years of his career he taught ROTC at North Dakota State University in Fargo.
Compared with the rest of we collegians, he was a ‘senior citizen’ of 33 when he wrote his column.
He spoke much wisdom 51 years ago.
We his modern day contemporaries might well listen, reflect on his final piece of advice: to “vote intelligently and wisely” in 2012.