Crimson Editors Half a
Find Differences, Similarities in the Job
One was elected, the other appointed. One was married,
the other single. One was a World War II veteran, the other barely
out of her teens. One is male, the other female, Yet, they have
one thing in common-editorship of the Samford Crimson, separated
by a half century.
Kelly Brown, left, and Lance Anderson '50 look over a
1949 Howard Crimson during Homecoming 2000.
The two-Lance Anderson, Class of 1950, and Kelly Brown, a 20-year
old junior-met during a reunion of former Crimson editors at
Homecoming 2000. The contrasts of process, marital standing,
experience, age, place and time converged as they shared their
"There was a defining gap between my class of 1939 at Pensacola
[Fla.] High School and entering Howard College in 1947, "
said Anderson. The gap would have been even wider had not Anderson
graduated from high school at age 16. What caused the gap? Service
in World War II.
Anderson earned his pilot's wings and was commissioned as a second
lieutenant in 1942, finishing first in his class at Craig Army
Airbase, Selma. In July 1944, after being married, he was assigned
to the European Theater as a staff pilot in France. He was injured
in a V-2 bomb attack on London the following December and spent
more than a year in a Miami hospital before returning to active
duty after the war ended.
Finally, in 1947, he enrolled at then-Howard College as a 24-year
old freshman, bringing with him a wife, Joyce, and three-month-old
daughter, Sheila (who would later attend Samford).
Through the encouragement of a math professor who was his junior,
Anderson became immersed in college life. He won several roles
in Masquers and began doing an occasional piece for Crimson editor
Boyce Albright, now a Samford trustee.
"Theater and writing was a compelling combination,"
Anderson recalled. He was elected editor by the student body
without opposition in the spring quarter of 1949. "I needed
the $25 they paid [per issue] as my family was about to increase,"
By contrast, current editor Brown took a more traditional route,
enrolling at Samford out of high school in Germantown, Tenn.,
in 1998. She was already interested in journalism and had served
as a reporter, assistant editor and editor her senior year of
her school paper at Evangelical Christian School.
The journalism major applied for editor as a sophomore last spring,
went through the interview process and got the job, which now
pays $80 an issue.
Fifty years ago, the editor was a political target for the "panhellenics,
preachers and independents," according to Anderson. The
greek organizations and religion majors kept an eagle eye on
content, but he balanced coverage with party news, a "Circuit
Rider" column and occasional letters to the editor.
Journalism professor William Baxter, who had edited Louisiana
State University's prize-winning student daily, offered "quality
control," but Anderson remembers answering only to Major
Harwell Davis, the president.
"Though I spent a lot of time in his office, I was never
instructed as to what I could or could not print," he said.
Finances were seemingly not a problem, Anderson recalled. All
costs for publishing the Crimson were paid by the school chief
The cost of printing was basically underwritten by large back
page ads for either Camel, Chesterfield or Lucky Strike cigarettes
and the U.S. Army. (The tobacco companies even hired students
to distribute samples of their products.)
"Alumni groused to the Major about the cigarette ads,"
Anderson recalled. "He would have liked to have dispensed
with them, but only smiled when I said that it would be easy
if he replaced the revenue."
It's different today for Brown, who says "advertising is
hard to come by."
The Crimson is student-run but is a publication of the Journalism
Department. Editor Brown reports to two journalism professors,
Drs. Dennis Jones and Jon Clemmensen.
"Quality control" rests with the entire student body,
said Brown. "I have tried to give equal coverage to equal
Whoever is left out will bring it to our attention."
The paper has almost tripled in circulation, from 1,250 to 3,500,
but the number of staff remains about the same. The masthead
in the 1949 Crimson listed 15 people and the 2000 Crimson 16.
Producing the Crimson in 1950 was a group effort, according to
Anderson. "We had a very sharp group of journalism students
and all were participants," he said. "I expect my friends
on the Crimson staff who went to work for daily newspapers found
the same situation as I did; there were no surprises and all
were fully equipped to fit right in."
Anderson went on to earn a master's degree in journalism at LSU
before beginning his newspaper career with the Pensacola News-Journal.
Today, says Brown, some students shy away from giving the time
necessary for Crimson work. Even so, she says she has "an
incredible staff," and is hoping some changes in design
and appeal will help it grow even more.