California Tech newspaper Archives

polygramFirst published in 1967, the Mustang Daily was preceded by several other campus news publications. The, Cal Poly’s first student publication, made its debut in 1906 as a monthly news and literary publication. By 1912, the Polytechnic Journal was no longer a monthly, having evolved into the campus yearbook. The first student newspaper at Cal Poly, The Polygram, began as a biweekly. It filled the need for news from 1916 to 1932, a period in which Cal Poly expanded from a strictly vocational school to include an academic high school and junior college. Due to a shortage of advertisers and, therefore, cash, the first Polygram staff relied on the school director’s mimeograph machine to generate copies of each issue. By 1924, a printshop had been established on campus and the school publications, including The Polygram were printed by a student organization known as “The Galley Slaves.”

In 1932-33, a drastic reorganization of the Cal Poly School closed the high school, the junior college and related programs. The Polygram vanished in the wake of this reorganization. After a six-year hiatus, campus news found a new vehicle in a weekly paper, El Mustang. As was its predecessor, El Mustang was printed by the student body. A change in title to the Polytechnic Californian was attempted but lasted only a year, after which El Mustang returned to the masthead. During WWII, to economize on manpower and supplies, Cal Poly temporarily replaced El Mustang and the yearbook, El Rodeo, with a monthly news magazine. El Mustang returned shortly after the war, and in 1967 became the Mustang Daily.

The Mustang Daily continues to be published and printed by students in the Journalism and Graphic Communications Departments of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Issued daily during the academic year, the Mustang Daily limits publication during the summer quarter to a weekly edition. The Mustang Daily averages about 140 issues per year, not including special editions for annual events such as the Week of Welcome, Homecoming, and Open House.

Scope & Content

The campus newspapers cover a broad range of topics from campus events, policies, issues and debates; arts and entertainment; athletics; local news and issues; and occasionally, national and international news. More recently, original articles are interspersed with articles from the Associated Press and the University Wire. Letters to the editor and opinion pieces reveal a wide and involved readership, not limited to the campus but extending throughout the county of San Luis Obispo and beyond. Photos and cartoons were introduced in the later years of The Polygram, and have been a regular feature of El Mustang and the Mustang Daily.


University Archives contains a full run of the campus newspapers. Indexes and microfilm copies of The Polygram, El Mustang and Mustang Daily are available for use in the Special Collections and University Archives reading room. Since Fall 2015, the student newspaper collection is digitally available at DigitalCommons@CalPoly.

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