About us

The Breeze has been James Madison University’s student-run newspaper since 1922. Since then, the newspaper has provided news and information to the university community.

The Breeze publishes 7,000 copies every Thursday. For the second year in a row in 2015, The Breeze was named the best mid-sized non-daily newspaper in the state of Virginia by the Virginia Press Association. It also won a 2014 Pacemaker award, one of the top awards in college journalism.

The newspaper’s student staff produces the newspaper and web site and is supported by a permanent professional staff.

For information about working at The Breeze, contact the editor at breezeeditor@gmail.com or visit our get involved page here.

The Breeze's history

As students and faculty step onto campus on a warm, rainy afternoon, a pungent, distinctly JMU smell permeates the air. It is hard to imagine that the odor of dog food or chicken feed that sweeps through the Valley was once a crisp, clean mountain breeze. In fact, the smell was so refreshing that it inspired a 1922 English teacher to forever embody it in the name of the fledgling newspaper at the State Normal School for women at Harrisonburg.

“Nothing here strikes a stranger quite so strongly as our mountain breeze,” Elizabeth P. Cleveland wrote in her proposal, recorded in the March 14, 1983 issue of The Breeze. “It is both inspiring and stimulating. It is full of pep, but clean. It clears the cobwebs from the brain and sweeps morbidness from the heart.”

And so The Breeze got its name.

As the winner of the contest to name the college’s first regular student newspaper, Cleveland earned $2 for her entry, which barely beat out The Campus Cat by a coin toss. Since its first publication on Dec. 2, 1922, The Breeze has weathered name and format changes, funding revocations and management up-heavals, all the while endeavoring to provide students, faculty and staff and outlet for news and opinions for almost 90 years.

The Breeze has grown from a four-column, four-page weekly publication with few illustrations and fewer photos, to a 20-plus page broadsheet newspaper published weekly with full-color photos and graphics enhanced by the latest software technology. Whereas now the paper is distributed to more than 90 locations on and off campus, the paper originally was distributed to women on the way out of the dining hall, according to Bertha McCollum Moore, an assistant editor during The Breeze’s first year.

Like its format, the content of JMU’s student newspaper has changed dramatically over 80 years. The first issues were filled with informal, light-hearted, social news, from gossip reports to summaries of trips, dances and get-togethers. For example, a front-page brief May 9, 1947, began, “A surprise dinner party was given in honor of Miss Myrtle Wilson and Dr. Ruth Phillips on May 7 by the home economics and biology staffs.”

By the 1970s, The Breeze’s content became more sophisticated and controversial as Madison College expanded to become James Madison University. The paper covered perennial topics like parking, tuition and the administration, while keeping tabs on campus trends and opinions.

Above is an updated excerpt from an article in the paper's 80th anniversary supplement from May 1, 2003.

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