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Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor 10.11.18

50 years after its inception, Street is still alive and kickin'. I couldn't be more honored to be leading it today.

Photo: Autumn Powell

Happy birthday to Street! Er, in two days, that is. That's right, you heard me correctly. 34th Street Magazine of The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. is turning a half–century old. It has loved, it has lost, but most of all, it has persevered. Nay, it has thrived.

As I write this, I sit sweaty, tired, and smelling of archival must. It's been a long past few days of scouring online library archives and digging through bound magazines of yore. But I've learned so much, and as the current custodian of Street, I'm better for it.

Thumbing through these yellowed issues, I've never felt more connected to the long lineage of editors, designers, photographers, and other editors who have gone before me, who have toiled to ensure that our publication goes to print. There has been blood, sweat, tears, X–Acto knives, lawsuits, angry emails, and lots and lots of pizza. 

Let's be real. Street has had its share of instability. Over the years, there have been apparent tonal shifts, changes in coverage, wavering editorial priorities, and the like. But that's what gives Street its color. It's a living, breathing organism, which we've made sure to punt into a digital–first 21st century. And it must be working, because social Darwinism hasn't killed us off yet.

Though I was struck by the noticeably different eras and in–betweenness of so much of the magazine, I was also amazed by how much has stayed the same. Our content priorities have stayed more similar than they've been different. We've written features about drag queens at least four times in the past fifty years, the most recent of which ran just this April. There have been tens of articles unpacking Penn's relationship with West Philadelphia, oodles of pieces about the history of Smokes', and copious essays that explore LGBT life at the university. I think this is a good thing. Street has through and through been committed to giving voice to the wacky, weird, underexposed, and underrepresented. And along the way, God, has there been arts and culture coverage. So much. Especially Dining Guides. We've killed some serious trees printing all of those tomes. 

In the process of creating this issue, I've tried to be a sponge. I've found inspiration for new articles and coverage reading 50 years of collegiate journalism. Seeing the past of Street has helped me to most clearly see its future. And as I skid towards the end of my tenure as Editor–in–Chief, I could not be more thankful to have helped wish Street a happy fiftieth.

This entire project would not have happened without our Special Features Editor Sabrina Qiao, who doggedly edited and organized all of the written content within these pages. I'm filled with gratitude for all of the former Street alums who took the time to write personal narratives about their past experiences with leading the publication. I'm astounded by all of your accomplishments—both at Street and after it—and you've made me a little less scared to leave the cozy nest that is 4015 Walnut.

So here's to fifty more. I promise I'll write a softly nostalgic memoir about my tenure as EIC for the 100th birthday if I'm around to see the day. Just don't make me come up with a headline myself.


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