The Flyer's first issue was released to the Salisbury University community on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 1973. The organization was originally established as a funded body of the university's Student Government Association, providing valuable articles to students and faculty.
The Flyer was not, however, SU's first student newspaper. Its ancestral beginnings can be traced to The Holly Leaf (1925-1970) and The Informer (1971-1973) publications. Reason for The Informer's discontinuation was absent adherence to SGA protocol. When the organization applied for student activities funding, it was required to dissolve and rename. The Flyer has since become SU's longest-running, officially recognized student news group.
Original topic sections included news, editorials, entertainment, features and sports. Students of the inaugural staff were Editor-in-Chief Luis Luna; Editorials editor Steve Taylor; Features editor Cliff Wilce; Sports editor Ron MacCleod; Entertainment editor Bob Grossman; Circulation manager Peter Platky; Business and Advertising manager Sue Bartlett; Photography editor Phil Cartright; and staff reporters Cathy Clagett, Mike Coleman, Dave English, Debbie Owens, Boyd Pusey and Bruce Wade. Staff and writers were originally unpaid, as the paper's only organizational expense charged to the activities budget was the cost of printing 10, 8-page issues per academic year.
The publication's early years documented vast change and growth, a time which has since been described as a "golden era" for the development of campus identity. Headlines included the opening of SU's first co-ed residence hall in 1972, acquisition of East Campus in 1976 and construction of Maggs Physical Activities Center in 1977. By the late-1970s, student enrollment had reached nearly 5,000, forcing a temporary hold on expansion due to insufficient campus facilities. Other stories from that time included coverage of campus drainage issues, lack of parking and numerous talks of a Salisbury-UMES merger.
The Flyer was published twice monthly over the following 40 years, with the exception of summer breaks. Eventually, the paper earned its status as member of SU's "Big Six," providing paid extracurricular opportunities for students alongside SGA, WXSU student radio, Student Organization for Activity Planning (SOAP), Appropriations Board and Saferide.
Online circulation for the paper became dominant in the early-2000s with the founding of theSUFlyer.com. An attempt to create a full-fledged smartphone app was successfully made in 2013, but abandoned shortly thereafter due to lack of campus adoption.
An editorial from April 1978 by former Editor-in-Chief Joan Stack describes the team spirit that is still alive today at The Flyer.
"A student newspaper is only good as its volunteers; it can't 'buy' talent, interest or commitment ... quality editors, writers and production people have steadily improved the content of this newspaper. None of them have expected, though all have deserved, special recognition of their efforts."
The former chief added, "What can I say to people who will work until three, four, five o'clock in the morning on a Tuesday when they all have 8 a.m. classes? ... Editorial board members who can be found slaving away at their typewriters in The Flyer office till all hours of the night, and even through some of their classes, who have consistently put the welfare of the paper above almost any other considerations and who can always find (or make) the time to do an extra story, follow up a lead or make it to a Friday afternoon Happy Hour (usually well-deserved and desperately needed)."
Students, many of whom have other jobs and campus involvements, continue to place the success of the paper first; creating an environment of shared dedication comparable to any other campus activity.
Today, The Flyer reaches campus stands once every month, appearing in full-color newsprint. TheSUFlyer.com continues to deliver quality content for an increasingly technological-dependent society.
We as a staff find it our mission to build upon the legacy of our predecessors, crafting content for future generations of Sea Gulls independently, without interference of collegiate administration and governing student bodies.