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By Brad A. Greenberg '04

Published Jan 1, 2007 8:00 AM


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Jeff Schenck, current editor of the Bruin, is a passionate advocate of convergence, the Holy Grail of 21st-century print media.

"Our education was on the paper."

"Over the years, the Daily Bruin has been a place where people work who care about ideas, who are word people, who know how to write and want to. Those people are generally leaders," says Frank Mankiewicz '47.

He should know. Editor of the paper after returning to UCLA from the Battle of the Bulge, Mankiewicz joined the Washington press corps after getting his master's in journalism at Columbia University; went to Berkeley Law School and became director of the Peace Corps in Latin America; served as press secretary to Robert Kennedy; wrote four books during the mid-'70s; lost a bid for Congress only to be chosen president of National Public Radio, a title he held for six years before joining the predecessor of PR giant Hill & Knowlton, where at 82 he is vice chairman of a place The Washington Post has called "one of the lobbying and public relations firms that defines establishment Washington." And oh yeah, his father wrote Citizen Kane.

Again, inspiring, impressive, but hardly unusual for Bruin alumni, who took their stints seriously — more seriously, sometimes, than their classes.

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Even in the 1940s, the college paper's newsroom was a crowded but enthusiastic place.

Ask Bruin alums what their major was and the answer is likely to be "the Daily Bruin." Sigal would enter Kerckhoff at 7 a.m. and often not find his way out until midnight. "I have no idea what I did during that time," he says. Like many of those before and after, Sigal was constantly absent in class. On occasion, he forgot which he was enrolled in and had to run out to Kerckhoff Plaza, where students' class schedules were available in large boxes, and check the dates for his midterms and finals.

"I am amazed that anybody got grades on the Bruin. Our education was on the paper," says Sigal, a 30-year correspondent in Great Britain for the BBC, The Observer and The Guardian, who wrote the movie Frida. "You learned how to write, collect facts, organize facts; you learned a lot about the technical aspects of putting out a paper. That was a full-time job."

This singlemindedness, of course, has its downside. After all, these are university students.

"Whenever I meet with Daily Bruin staff, I try to remind them of the absolute necessity to complete why they are here, which is not to work at the Daily Bruin but to complete their academic degree and further themselves for either graduate work or starting a professional career. All I have to do is point to myself as someone who occasionally lost sight of that and almost blew it," cautions John Sandbrook '91, M.B.A. '93, Bruin sports editor in 1970–'71, who spent 18 years as special assistant to former UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young and is now the executive officer to the vice chancellor for business and administrative services.

Like Sandbrook, many noteworthy Daily Bruin alums don't proceed to decorated careers in journalism. Bruin columnist Ralph Bunche '27 became the United Nations undersecretary general and won the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize. Brian Weiss '68, whose bearded face graced Time magazine during the Summer of Love [see sidebar, page 37], started a marketing writing company.

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