DTH departs for downtown

After spending more than a century on UNC’s campus, The Daily Tar Heel is going back to its roots.

The newspaper will leave the Frank Porter Graham Student Union — its home of 40 years — for a new Rosemary Street office, less than one-tenth of a mile from its original 1893 location.

Regardless of the move, former and current DTH staff say the newspaper will remain an integral piece of campus life.

“The Daily Tar Heel will always be a campus fixture, no matter where its writers pound the keys,” said Ryan Tuck, editor-in-chief in 2005-06.

“The DTH may be moving to a new address, but I’m sure the soul of the place will not be going anywhere.”

Jen Pilla Taylor, Centennial Edition editor in 1993, said that after UNC won the 1993 NCAA basketball championship, readers waited in long lines to get a copy of that day’s paper, much like they did last year.

“It sort of gives you a sense of the important role the paper plays in the life of University, in documenting the big stuff. People really wanted their DTH,” Taylor said.

“I can’t imagine that there are many newspapers that are that close to their readers.”

The paper’s first location was a cramped upstairs room in a house next to the Old Methodist Church at 201 E. Rosemary St.

In the 117 years since then, the newspaper has expanded both its readership and its size.

In 1893 there were six editors and one business manager working in a single room.

Now, about 200 news staff and 30 advertising staff work for the DTH in a 3,101-square-foot space during the school year. The move will more than double the office space to 6,439 square feet at the 151 E. Rosemary St. location.

Both former and current staff members hope that the expansion and move off-campus doesn’t affect the DTH’s long-standing, solid relationship with its readers.

Sarah Frier, editor-in-chief for the upcoming year, said the DTH is prepared to continue its presence on UNC’s campus and its devotion to its readers, despite being located elsewhere.

“We might lose some of that accessibility on the front end, but what we’re gaining is so much more opportunity to grow,” Frier said.

After exhausting all options to expand its space in the Student Union or move elsewhere on campus, the paper’s board of directors approved the move downtown in November.

With the relocation, the DTH is hoping that its new content and products will generate enough revenue to support the rent. It also hopes the staff will be able to recruit and retain writers who might live on the opposite side of campus.

“Now, everyone in the newsroom has to crawl under editors’ chairs to plug in their computers, and it’s just a mess,” Frier said.

“In the new office, we’re going to have the opportunity to make the most of the talent we need to cultivate.”

David Stacks, editor-in-chief in 1979-80, said he believes the paper will be able to take that talent and remain an important part of UNC and of the community.

“I think it was true when I was there and I think it’s true now and I hope it will be true forever: The Daily Tar Heel is a calling, it’s a public trust.”

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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