Who We Are

The Spectrum has been the student-run newspaper at North Dakota State University since 1896. It serves a campus of over 14,000 students and is published once a week on Thursdays.

The Board of Student Media, founded in 2016, oversees The Spectrum. The Board interviews and selects the incoming Editor and Chief and Business manager in March of each academic year. The Spectrum is a Tier I organization.


When The Spectrum was first published as a monthly newspaper, the Editor in Chief and Business Manager were elected by a popular vote of the students. The Spectrum had faculty assistance for the first two years of publication, but since then, has been entirely student-run.

The Spectrum began as a monthly paper, but became a weekly in 1907. In the 1970s, The Spectrum became bi-weekly.

The Spectrum’s initial goal, as published in the first editorial in December 1986, was to “acquaint the people of our state with what we have been doing along the different lines of study. It is also the aim of the management, that by glancing back over the separate numbers of this monthly, we will have before us practically a complete history of the institution of that period.” The Spectrum was to also provide a forum for student opinion and its own editorials.

Quick facts

  • The football record for the first 15 years of the college is in one of the first weekly issues of The Spectrum in 1907.
  • The announcement that the college’s daily chapel would be abandoned after Nov. 1, 1903, since all students on campus could not be accommodated at one time, was published in the Oct. 15, 1902 issue of The Spectrum.
  • Mention of a women’s basketball team first appeared in the April 15, 1901 issue of The Spectrum.
  • The Spectrum was only not published one year since its origin. In 1990, Editor-in-Chief Denise Schlegel and her staff members walked out in opposition after student government proposed a nearly 50 percent budget cut.
  • The Spectrum newspaper was published exclusively online while students were sent off campus because of Covid-19.

The Spectrum and NDSU’s Name Change

  • On March 3, 1922, an editorial began an attempt to change the name of the college from North Dakota Agricultural College. The Spectrum conducted a test ballot; 234 students favored North Dakota State College, 14 chose North Dakota A&M College and six preferred North Dakota Agricultural College.
  • This issue was raised again in 1926 when records from the registrar’s office revealed only 13 percent of the students were enrolled in the College of Agriculture. Students questioned why the college would be named after a course that only 114 of 843 students were enrolled in.
  • An editorial published on Oct. 8, 1954 suggested a name change for the college to meet the state’s industrial changes. The editorial included North Dakota State, North Dakota State College of Applied Mechanic Arts and Agriculture as suggestions.
  • Student government caught on to the issue, and in 1958, President Hultz presented a petition asking to change the college’s name to North Dakota State University. The petition was signed by 84 percent of the student body and was backed by several editorials appearing in The Spectrum.
  • In 1960, the proposal for the name change was on the November ballot and passed 153,409 to 73,827.

The Spectrum and Zip to Zap

    • In 1969, Student Body President Chuck Stroup complained that NDSU students could not afford a spring break in Florida.
    • Under Editor-in-Chief Kevin Carvell’s supervision, The Spectrum published an article suggesting “Zip to Zap;” Zap is a small city in North Dakota, nearly 300 miles from Fargo.
    • The Spectrum published classifieds to advertise a festival in Zap on May 8.
    • The story was picked up by the Associated Press.
    • Nearly 3,000 students flooded into Zap, which only had two bars and a café.
    • One bar raised the price of beer for the influx of students, which resulted in brawls. Students tore apart an abandoned building for a fire in the middle of the street.
    • The Governor had to send 500 National Guard troops to get Zap under control.
    • Many students left with word of the troops coming, and only about 200 students remained by the time the National Guard arrived.