Friar Flashback: The COWL

by The Cowl Editor on January 27, 2017


Photo Courtesy of


by Gabriella Pisano ’18

News Staff

While the Internet may be a source of news for many, newspapers continue to be one of the more reputable places to find factual news about events. Many different newspapers exist, providing a wealth of different information. The Cowl is Providence College’s very own newspaper.

With its first publication in November 1935, the newspaper has been publishing ever since. Since the first issue of The Cowl, the fact that it is student-run has been emphasized, with each issue stating on the front page “Providence College’s Student-Run Newspaper since 1935.”

As a student-run newspaper, the entire process of writing and assembling the newspaper is up to students. Students choose the topics of articles, discuss subjects, review and edit other student’s materials, design the layouts, produce and distribute the newspapers, as well as solicit advertisers.

In the early years of The Cowl, publications varied in length, but were typically only a few pages long and were published sporadically throughout the years. Now, weekly publications of The Cowl are significantly larger.

Like other newspapers, The Cowl covers a range of topics split into different sections. The main sections that have existed for quite some time include News and Sports. Other sections, such as Arts & Entertainment and Opinion, have existed under other names throughout the publications. Another section in The Cowl is Portfolio. This section is more recent than others. Portfolio includes creative writing pieces as opposed to the other sections that are more news oriented.

Discussing her observations on the changes within The Cowl, last year’s Editor-in-Chief, Kathleen McGinty ’16, stated, “Over time, sections have evolved. Just during my four years on The Cowl, I remember our Commentary section changed to Opinion, and we voted to disband the World News section.”

With many students writing for each section, there are also student copy editors. Each article published in The Cowl goes through three rounds of review by the copy editors. The Editor and Associate Editor in Chief have the final say over what gets published.

Though The Cowl does have an administrative advisor, Richard Kless ’74, students are very much in charge of the newspaper. Explaining his role as advisor, Kless states, “My role is primarily one of guidance, resource, historical reference, but never a controller.”

While there tends to be confusion surrounding the true role of an advisor to a student-run newspaper,

Kless clears this up, stating, “Contrary to popular opinion, an advisor’s role is not to control what the students want to say but to help guide them to express it in such a way that the newspaper serves and informs the PC community.”

The Cowl publishes weekly on Thursdays, and is available around campus. With the emergence of the Internet and improvements in technology, an online publication is also available on 

Kless stated, “Since the explosion of technology it has been suggested from time to time that The Cowl  stop being a hard copy paper and go strictly online.”

“Institutions of Higher Learning that have done so often regret it later as it reduces a student ‘paper’ to a few bloggers,” he continued. “It eliminates the opportunities for students to interact face to face with one another. It reduces a club/organization to a handful by ceasing the need for editorial meetings, copy editor reviews of peers’ work, layout opportunities for skills to develop in producing the hard copy, etc.”

Though being available in online form is beneficial, the production of the student-run paper provides students both participating in the production, and those consuming, with skills that will benefit them in the future.

Katherine Puzycki ’17, the current editor-in-chief of The Cowl, stated, “One of the best parts of being the Editor-in-chief of The Cowl is getting to hold a physical copy of the paper in your hands after it’s been printed.  To see everyone’s work come to life like that is rewarding in a way that makes me proud to be part of such a great publication and to work with such a talented staff. We pour countless hours each week into making The Cowl a tangible product that the College will always have—it speaks not only to the legacy of our school, but the legacy of each person that has been a part of our paper.”