Oregon Commentator

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Oregon Commentator
Cover of the January 31, 2012 issue of the Oregon Commentator
Editor Nicholas Ekblad
Categories Opinion, Political, Conservatism, Humor
First issue 27 September 1983
Country United States
Based in Eugene
Website oregoncommentator.com

The Oregon Commentator is a student publication at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, United States. Founded on September 27, 1983, and first published on October 24, 1983, it is a self-described "conservative journal of opinion," modeled after such publications as Harvard Lampoon, The Onion and Reason Magazine. The magazine's official ideological stance is conservative, although many of the ideas and values it promotes might be better described as libertarian.[1] The journal is an independent journal of opinion for the campus community. Founded by a group of student journalists on September 27, 1983, the Commentator provides students with an alternative to the views of other student publications, professors and student groups.

History and current operations[edit]

The program was founded in fall 1983, primarily by Dane S. Claussen, later editor and/or publisher of various US newspapers and magazines and now Visiting Professor, School of International Journalism, Shanghai International Studies University, and Richard E. Burr, now with The Detroit News' editorial pages. Other co-founders included Robert Davis and Michael Rust, in addition to faculty adviser Paul S. Holbo.

The Commentator is the second-oldest publication on campus, after the Oregon Daily Emerald. It is a member of the Collegiate Network, a group of conservative and libertarian college publications, although its operating budget is funded by student fees. The publication is operated as a program of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) and is staffed by volunteer editors and writers. It's funded through student incidental fees, advertising revenue and private donations. The Commentator's aim is to serve as a contrarian outlet for students resistant to the prevailing trends on campus, including opposition to the mandatory nature of the non-academic "incidental fee."

In addition to its print magazine, the Commentator publishes its content on its website, where it also maintains a group-run blog frequently linked to by national news outlets. In 2008, the Commentator blog took second place in the America's Future Foundation's inaugural College Blogger Contest.[2][3]


Since its inception, there have been attempts to shut down its operations. In 2004, the program lost its funding after satirizing a prominent transgender student. The magazine's funding was restored soon after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education became involved.[4]

In 2006, Editor Tyler Graf appeared on The O'Reilly Factor to defend the First Amendment rights of rival publication the Student Insurgent.[5] The Insurgent had received national attention after publishing controversial illustrations of Jesus Christ. Also on the show was Jethro Higgins, who was part of the opposition on campus hoping to shut down the Student Insurgent.[6]

By the Barrel:25 Years of the Oregon Commentator on display at the University of Oregon Bookstore

By the Barrel: 25 Years of the Oregon Commentator[edit]

In early November 2009 the Oregon Commentator published By the Barrel: 25 Years of the Oregon Commentator. The book served as a culmination and celebration of the publication's 25th year at the University of Oregon. The book contains three sections:

  • An overview of the publication's history.
  • Retrospectives on nine key moments involving de-fundings, vandalism and cries of racism.
  • Ten essays written by Commentator alumni, including a foreword in honor of the 25th Anniversary.


  1. ^ "Oregon Commentator: Mission Statement", Oregon Commentator, 2012. Retrieved 2011-01-024
  2. ^ "AFF Awards $10,000 Cash Prize in College Blogger Award", America's Future Foundation, 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-09-06
  3. ^ "Oregon Commentator Receives National Award", Oregon Daily Emerald, 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-09-06
  4. ^ "Victory for Freedom of the Press at The University of Oregon", Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 2005-03-03. Retrieved 2008-09-06
  5. ^ "Tyler Graf and Jethro Higgins on The O'Reilly Factor", YouTube, 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2008-09-06
  6. ^ "O'Reilly baselessly claimed University of Oregon permits "attack [on] Christianity," but "wouldn't allow ... an attack on a minority group"". http://mediamatters.org/research/2006/05/25/oreilly-baselessly-claimed-university-of-oregon/135804.  External link in |website= (help);

External links[edit]

Media related to Oregon Commentator at Wikimedia Commons