Today in NC State History: Technician heads to Chapel Hill

September 8, 2014
By Chris Saunders

historyIconLife at a student newspaper isn’t that much different than one at a daily metro paper. You’re trying to break news. It’s even better if you can scoop another outlet.

Rarely, though, can you beat another paper to a mailbox in which it physically belongs.

But that’s exactly what happened on this day in 1975, when 20,000 copies of the Technician found their way inside of campus boxes at UNC-Chapel Hill, replacing The Daily Tar Heel on campus for one day.

How the Wolfpack’s newspaper made it over to enemy territory is a story that has more to do with UNC than with NC State. Mike O’Neal, UNC’s student government treasurer that year, had withheld funds for the DTH, citing  more than 100 accounting procedure violations. The advertising staff then was not able to generate enough revenue for publication.

So Kevin Fisher, editor of the Technician, authorized the distribution of the papers at UNC, a move that was not popular by some in Raleigh. Some at NC State were not happy that half of the 20,000 had to be paid for out the Technician’s budget.

“In my eyes it didn’t benefit the students here at State,” Ray Braun, a former chairman of NC State’s Publications Authority in 1975, said in a Technician article days after the Publications Authority formally did not endorse Fisher’s actions. “A number of State students, including myself, didn’t get a paper after paying for another 10,000.”

resolver“To be perfectly frank, even if the Pub Board had happened to walk into my office at 6:30 Sunday night and had voted against distributing the paper in Chapel Hill, I would have done it anyway,” Fisher told the Technician, citing the need to get students at Carolina at least some news quickly. “There was no doublt [sic] in my mind that the principle involved meritted [sic] action.”

But UNC’s student government treasurer was no fan of Fisher’s reverence for immediacy.

“O’Neal responded that he felt the editors of the State student newspaper were ‘irresponsible in sending 20,000 copies of the State Newspaper to Carolina,” the Technician reported. “He charged that circulating the Technician on campus was a violation of the solicitation policy because ‘no permit was secured.'”

O’Neal released the funds two days later.

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