Letter from the Editor: The new face of The Cluster

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Emily Farlow“Whenever I hear The Cluster, I think of cluster… ‘eff…’”

People say that to us a lot.

Hopefully it’s because clusterf*** is a phrase that sticks in people’s minds, and not because The Cluster is a clusterf***.

Even though we’re used to it and we don’t mind much, here’s the real origin of The Cluster, Mercer University’s student newspaper:

According to “Why Mercer Student Publications Have Their Names,” by Bert Struby, “The Cluster of Spiritual Songs, Divine Hymns and Sacred Poems” was the name of a book of hymns edited by Mercer University founder Jesse Mercer in 1835.

In 1920, when The Cluster first began publishing, it was named in honor of the baptist minister’s book of songs.

In fact, if you give the Jesse Mercer statue by the quad a visit, you’ll see a book called The Cluster forever memorialized in his hand.

The Cluster is a lot different now than it was back in the 1800s when it was first conceived by Jesse Mercer.

The most obvious difference is that we don’t publish songs about Jesus. That’s not really the purpose of a newspaper. (Though it is the purpose of The Dulcimer, Mercer’s literary magazine. You can submit all your songs, poems, short stories and art to them!)

As a newspaper, The Cluster is also different now than it was when it began in 1920. The Cluster is even different than it was last year.

The newspaper is smaller in size now, though we can still publish the same amount of news. The layout looks different, and you’ll notice more color in each issue.

We are also going to work hard to update our website with videos, photos and breaking news.

Our goal is to keep the students of Mercer interested and concerned about the news happening around them.

If The Cluster wants to keep up with the ways journalism and news are changing, then The Cluster has to change, and I hope you will like what we have done and what we will do.

Let us know what you think of our new look, and please email any ideas or suggestions you may have to me.

You’ll notice that our new masthead features a silhouette of the Jesse Mercer statue, complete with The Cluster on his lap. Patrick (Managing Editor of The Cluster) and I chose that design because, despite all of the changes, we wanted to make sure we remembered where The Cluster came from: A book of hymns based on the convictions and beliefs of a baptist minister who valued education and hard work.

Our conviction and belief is that news is important, and we will work hard this year to give Mercer the news it deserves.

Welcome back, Mercerians!

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