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Sunday, June 18, 2000
Last modified at 6:02 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2000
© 2000 - The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

A-J to commemorate 100th birthday throughout year

The Avalanche-Journal is spending the entire year celebrating its 100th birthday in the Lubbock community.

J.J. Dillard, an attorney, and Thad Tubbs, a cowboy and speculator, each of whom entertained ideas of publishing a newspaper, agreed to pool their talents and produce a publication as a joint venture.

On May 4, 1900, the Lubbock Avalanche hit the streets of the tiny community for the first time as 40 copies of the paper were printed and sold.

"Newspapers reflect the visions and dreams of what a community is all about," added Tai Kreidler, assistant dean for the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech. "And as Lubbock has grown, so too has The Avalanche-Journal."

The paper started by Dillard and Tubbs has undergone some dramatic changes in the ensuing years. In 1908, Dillard sold his interest in the Avalanche to James L. Dow, who championed numerous quality-of-life projects that enhanced Lubbock's image.

The Avalanche was a powerful proponent for the establishment of an institution of higher learning on the South Plains, and the newspaper played a key role in the events that led to Lubbock's landing of Texas Technological College in 1923.

In 1922, the Avalanche became a daily product (except Mondays) called the Lubbock Morning Avalanche. Four years later, the Lubbock Morning Avalanche and the Plains Journal merged, forming the Avalanche-Journal.

Chas. A. Guy assumed the paper's editorship, a position he would hold until 1972, when the newspaper was purchased by Augusta, Ga.-based Morris Communications Corp.

In conjunction with the milestone anniversary, The A-J has launched a yearlong initiative to focus on the paper's 100th birthday.

Included in the project are monthly special sections, weekly and monthly people-centered features on Lubbock families and devoted newspaper readers and a handful of special events.

One of the year's highlights came May 4, when the A-J staff hosted a mammoth daylong birthday party, which included a series of formal proclamations from Mayor Windy Sitton, Texas Speaker of the House Pete Laney, State Sen. Robert Duncan and State Reps. Carl Isett and Delwin Jones.

More than 4,000 people attended the event.

The A-J also sponsored a $20,000 scholarship giveaway that coincided with the 100th birthday party. The giveaway was modeled on the NCAA basketball tournaments that take place each March and was restricted to babies born between Jan. 1, 1999 and Feb. 1, 2000.

More than 400 babies were entered in the competition, which was reduced to a field of 64 and then narrowed by half in each of the ensuing weeks leading up to May 4.

In the end, 9-month-old Emily McAnally, daughter of John and Allison McAnally, won the scholarship in the last of the series of random drawings.

"A newspaper is more than investigative reporting and serious editorials. It's also about things like family and faith," A-J Publisher Mark Nusbaum said following the final drawing.

Special 100th Birthday sections will continue to appear on the third Thursday of each month throughout the year.

The A-J also will host its second annual Religious Roundtable event at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 with Tony Campolo as the featured speaker.

The event will take place at First United Methodist Church.

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