Skip to main content

FOCUS: Faculty and Staff Newspaper

Identifier: 2017-0007

Scope and Contents

This collection contains print versions of, FOCUS: the Faculty and Staff Newspaper from 1971 to 2008 as well as discs from 2000 to 2008 containing website and indesign data. The collection is almost entirely complete with two copies of each print issue.

The FOCUS Manual, a guide written by FOCUS founder and editor from 1971-1994, David Demarest, described that FOCUS, “seeks and ‘independent’ stance: the option to publish pieces critical of university policies.” The manual also notes, “FOCUS was initiated at the request of the Faculty Senate to replace the precursor “Faculty Bulletin” that consisted mostly of administration announcements. The senate wanted a publication that would allow ‘conversation among faculty, and between faculty and other members of the campus community, [in order to] contribute to the creation of a ‘real’ campus community.”[1]

The first year of the publication FOCUS was prepared by the university’s PR department, “amidst much complaint from faculty about the dearth of faculty contributions.”[2] David Demarest, a faculty in the English department, was asked to take over as editor of the publication beginning the academic year of 1971-972 after a popular contribution he made to paper’s first volume.[3]

From 1971 until 1994 Demarest and a number of other leftist faculty worked to produce a faculty publication true to the manual’s mission statement. In 1975 the paper rebranded from exclusively a faculty publication to one of faculty and staff. Some notable contributors to the publication include:

- David Demarest, founder and editor, associate faculty of English, author of the column, “The Amen Corner.” For 15 years, Demarest did a 2500-word interview for each issue of the publication with a member of the faculty or staff.

- Richard Cyert, president of the university from 1971-1990. Talks with staff and faculty which Cyert had were routinely published in FOCUS, Cyert also regularly had written addresses and letters in the publication.

- Jim Rosenberg, a professor of Drama and author of the column “Assays of Bias.”[4] Rosenberg and his wife, Dorothy Rosenberg self published a book on CMU in 1996, Academic Freedom be Damned: CMU on Trial which relied heavily on FOCUS.

- Jack Sanberg, Psychology.

- Micki Nugent, an officer manager in PR started the “Not for Staff Only Column”

- Gene Levy (History), Joe Artman (EE), Steve Au (CivE), and others, developed a column for the faculty senate chair.

- Lincoln Wolfenstein, a professor of Physics and a strong voice in the debate surrounding the formation of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI).

In Fall of 1994 David Demarest passed on his position as editor of FOCUS to Jim Davidson, a writer for the Sunday News section of the Pittsburgh Press and adjunct professor of English.[5] Davidson remained editor until the summer of 2004 at which point he went on to become an ordained pastor of the Presbyterian Church.

Lynn Berard, a science librarian became editor of FOCUS in the summer of 2004. Berard sought to continue the “tradition of quality reporting.” In the first issue of Vol. 33, published in Fall of 2003, Berard writes, “I urge you to be a part of what I hope will be continuous healthy debates addressing the challenges, necessary changes and topical issues relevant to life on our campus. Our goal is to assist in providing information on the important issues and to facilitate open and free dialogue."[6]

During the time that Berard served as editor the paper began to rely more heavily on photograph essays as opposed to written journalistic pieces. The existence of columns such as “The Amen Corner” and “Assays of Bias” was replaced by the “The Food and Wine Column.” In the academic year of 2008-2009 the format of FOCUS drastically changed from newsprint to something much more resembling a faculty bulletin. No other print copies of the publication are currently in the collection, it is likely the publication became exclusively online from this date

Publication Cycle:

1971-1973 (Vol. 1-2): Twice monthly during the academic year with the exception of December and January

1973-1975 (Vol. 3-4): Five issues a semester

1975-1983 (Vol. 5-12): Nine issues a year[7]

1983-2008 (Vol. 13-37): Seven issues a year

Citations: [1] Quotations taken from FOCUS Vol. 18 No. 2 October 1988 in article written by David Demarest. A copy of the FOCUS Manual can be found in the David Demarest Papers. [2] Vol. 33 No. 1 Pg 3 David Demarest “The Amen Corner: A bit of history from our founding editor, David Demarest” [3] See above [4] This column was inspired by David Demarest’s personal column, “The Amen Corner” for satirical and political commentary on the university. [5] See May 1994 Issue [6] FOCUS Vol. 33 No. 1 Page 1 Lynn Berard “FROM THE EDITOR: Opening the debate” [7] Vol. 5 changed the publication cycle multiple times, the last issue said 9 issues a year


  • 1971-2009



3 Linear feet (3 boxes)



FOCUS: Faculty and Staff Newspaper
Rosemary Haynes
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021