Several denizens of the Bloggernacle were heavily involved in The Student Review, an independent student newspaper that once existed, and has been reborn, at BYU. Those of us who are a little older fondly recall the Review’s antecedent, the Seventh East Press.
The 7EP ran in 29 issues from October 1981 through April 1983. It was initiated by two BYU grad students, Ron Priddis and Anthony Schmitt, to be an alernative voice for BYU faculty and students. The name derives from the location of the paper’s offices, at 839 North 700 East in Provo.
The students who put the paper together had been involved in creating the “Open Door Guide to BYU.” (I still remember candidates for student government running under the “Open Door” banner.) Virtually all who worked for the paper were volunteers, and virtually none had prior journalism experience. Of course, money was always tight; Ron started the paper by selling his car for $1,700. Ron prevailed upon Elbert Peck to become the first editor of the paper (many of you will remember Elbert from his later Sunstone days).
As one might imagine, meeting deadlines was always a struggle, with stories often completed mere hours before they were typeset. Most paste-up sessions lasted all night. They printed 5,000 copy runs; the first of which they eventually completely sold, although it took the rest of the semester to sell them all. In later issues, what they couldn’t sell they would use for promotional material.
Advertisers were hard to come by, and often were offended by the paper’s content and dropped out (such as when Deseret Industries pulled their advertising in the wake of the homosexuality series).
The paper also championed numerous causes, such as the ASBYU Constitutional Convention, Peace Week, Amnesty International, Food for Poland, and the American Red Cross Blood Drive.
In February of 1983, the paper ran Blake Ostler’s infamous interview with Sterling McMurrin, in which he made his famous statement to the effect that angels don’t give books to young boys. The reaction was swift–the paper was kicked off of campus, which became its death knell. Only three more issues (including a Daily Universe parody issue) were published before it had to shutter its doors (with $7.00 left in its bank account).
One of the most beloved regular features was a recurring column called “Grey Matters” written by Gary James Bergera, in which he gave overviews of theological issues (really in a way that would be common in the Mormon blogosphere today, but which was ground breaking at the time). Two of Gary’s columns were reprinted in Dialogue a Journal of Mormon Thought, and may be read here.
During its life, the paper’s greatest support came from faculty and those not involved with the university. Staff members were discouraged by the lack of strong student support.
I recall sitting in my New Testament class when the professor asked who had heard of the 7EP. I was the only one to raise my hand, and my impression was that most of the class genuinely had not even heard of the paper.
My little brother was at BYU briefly, and he wrote a comic strip for the 7EP, called “Fysh.” It was about a guy with long hair who hung out at BYU but was not actually a student. I’m biased, but I thought it was pretty clever stuff.
What memories do you have of the 7EP?
Note: Most of the information in this blog post derives from the register of the 7EP collection in the BYU Special Collections authored by Chad Orton in February, 1984. You may read the entire Register here.
 The paper was almost named The Crab, with a masthead featuring a caricature of a crab wearing glasses.
 The McMurrin interview was reprinted in expanded format in Dialogue, here.