Mystery of The Tower’s birthday leads to additional archives (Video)

Video by David Long and Rebecca Panico

By Rebecca Panico | Published May 9, 2017

The first issue of The Tower, dated Sept. 12, 2000. Photo courtesy of Simeon Pincus

The first issue of The Tower, dated Sept. 12, 2000. Photo courtesy of Simeon Pincus

I first learned there were different student newspapers before The Tower when I stumbled upon The Nancy Thompson Library’s digital archives over a year ago.

The Reflector — Kean’s first student newspaper — was created in the 1920s, The Nancy Thompson Digital Media Collection website said. It would remain in publication for about 40 years until The Independent formed around the 1960s.

Pinning down the exact date of The Tower’s creation was difficult to discover since our own archives — which are available to view on our website — only went back to 2008. I teamed up Kean archivists Erin Alghandoor and Claire Hendry, who gave me some issues that dated back to 2002.

Kean’s archives don’t have all our back issues, but it’s a start. I still couldn’t find The Tower’s very first issue and solve the mystery of when our publication was created though.

Luckily, tracking down some of The Tower’s first staff members to help fill in the gaps would be easy. One of this newspaper’s current advisers, Lois DeSocio, served as The Tower’s features editor around 2001.

The Independent’s demise was well documented in a New York Times article from 1997 that DeSocio shared with me.

The Independent’s staff alleged in an editorial that Student Organization was censoring them after it pulled its funding for the paper. Staff from The Independent briefly started a rogue newspaper, known as Not The Independent, in protest too.

But Student Organization said it pulled The Independent’s funding since staff had only put out nine of the 19 issues they had a budget for, The New York Times reported. David Treadwell, a journalism professor at Kean and former Associated Press reporter, would eventually become The Tower’s first advisor.

Simeon Pincus, who worked as a sports reporter for The Tower and later became editor-in-chief, helped me connect the dots. Pincus worked at The Independent before The Tower was created, he said.

“The Tower was really started as a direct response to The Independent and how bad things were on the inside,” Pincus said in a phone interview. “Treadwell wanted a real paper, not just a club.”

Pincus, who currently works as a sports reporter for The Courier News, shared a photo of The Tower’s first issue with me, dated Sept. 12, 2000 (ding-ding!). The first issue features an editorial giving The Tower an introduction.

“We see ourselves as the eyes and ears of the Kean University campus, the watchdog of our campus administration and observer of campus life,” wrote the editor-in-chief at the time, Michael Farago.

The Tower was funded by advertisements and ran as a bi-weekly publication, Pincus said. With about 10 staff members, The Tower’s first issues also utilized wire services. Today, The Tower is funded by the Communication Department and has a monthly print edition with a weekly online presence.

The archives we received from Kean’s archivists are still missing issues from all of 2000-2001 and 2005. Some issues between 2002 to 2007 are also missing. The chances of someone reading this who could help fill in the blanks may be slim, but those who may have these missing issues are encouraged to email us at

Rebecca Panico may be reached at Follow The Tower on Twitter@KeanTower. Find The Tower on Facebook.

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