The history of the DP, in 15 minutes

A video first created in 2011, and updated several times since, offers a quick history of The Daily Pennsylvanian. Created for training new student leaders, after it was shown at the DP’s 135th Anniversary reunion, there were requested to be able to view it online. So now, you can.

The video was created by DP General Manager Eric Jacobs with help from Director of Sales & Marketing Katherine Ross. At the start of 2011, Executive Editor Lauren Plotnick said she wanted to start four days of training for new editors and managers with a session on the history of the DP — something that would make them better appreciate the magnitude of running the then 127 year-old organization.

Jacobs says the idea blossomed in his mind immediately: a video slideshow which would trace the paper’s long history, interspersed with alumni memories to inspire the staff. “Standing in front of the group to talk through the DP’s history would be dry, but I pictured a movie with historic photos, front pages, quotes from alumni which make you laugh and which make you cry, and dramatic music to heighten the emotional connection.”

Some of the content was pulled from research done to create a book about the DP’s history which was produced for the DP’s 125th anniversary in 2009. But there were only two hectic days to work on it, and the tools were a bit crude and labor-intensive, Jacobs recalls. It was well after midnight when the last slide was put in place — and there was no soundtrack.

“I picked out some bombastic action movie soundtracks I had on my computer, and figured we’d later go back and create some more contemporary soundtrack,” Jacobs says, “but the dramatic music proved timeless and added the drama I wanted, and so it stuck; I never went back and changed it.”

It took two hours for a computer to render the slideshow into a 15-minute movie, and Jacobs recalls driving home for a few hours of sleep with a laptop computer on his front seat doing the rendering for the first training session a few hours later.

Jacobs has updated the movie several times since its premiere to encompass the most recent moments of DP history, and he jokes that his last revision of the movie will likely come when he adds a slide about his own retirement in 2020.

Watch the DP history video by clicking above, or go to
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