Celebrating 73 years of The Berkeley Beacon


Parker Purifoy

A 1967 edition of The Berkeley Beacon, the oldest in the organization’s office.

By Domenic Conte and Dana Gerber

Seventy-three years and four days ago, The Berkeley Beacon launched its first print product under Editor-In-Chief Paul Mundt. Below the flag—which we’ve recreated for this week’s edition—was a message from then-president Boylston Green: “I have little doubt as to the bright future of The Berkeley Beacon.”

The four-page edition, founded by and for the students of Emerson College, can now be found digitally on our website. The paper has since grown into our current eight-page weekly edition, divided into four sections devoted to covering all the happenings across the college community: News, Living Arts, Opinion, and Sports.

Throughout the 20th century, The Beacon served the students of Emerson at every one of our college’s milestones.

In 1968, The Beacon helped spark the first student demonstration in Emerson history over a Dean’s mistreatment at the college. During the Vietnam War, The Beacon published a letter from the college’s president to President Nixon, which expressed his opposition to the war. In 1977, an editorial in The Beacon pointed out a number of inaccuracies in a college report which was attempting to secure accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In 1997, The Beacon broke a story about a female student’s on-campus sexual assault, which the administration had failed to address.

The 21st century revolutionized The Beacon. In 2011, The Beacon became the first college newspaper with a responsive mobile website, which adjusts its format to every screen size. In 2018, the newspaper made the transition into a daily online publication. With the website, we quickly began publishing breaking news, and feature stories with photo galleries, videos, podcasts, and more.

Last year, The Beacon made headlines when Assistant Arts Editor Frances Hui’s Person of Color Column, “I am from Hong Kong, not China” caused international controversy. We closed out last year by beginning to publish game stories on the night of each home sporting event, and we began broadcasting the first ever Berkeley Beacon News Hour on WECB radio. Tonight, we launch a new vertical, The Marlboro Monitor, continuing our trend of tirelessly covering the proposed merger of Emerson and Marlboro College. We cover tragedies, victories, and everything in between, with the same journalistic passion as those who brought our paper into existence.

In the past five years, The Beacon placed second or higher three times for the Associated Collegiate Press’s Best Website Award. The Beacon won first place in 2018 for best website in the four-year, small school category.

Although we began printing over 73 years ago, we are still committed to being by and for the students of Emerson College. We hope to have fulfilled the hope of Boylston Green, and to continue moving proudly into our bright future.