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UCLA Magazine Fall 2004
From Murphy Hall
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How “Human” Are We?
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Fall 2004 Bruin Walk

Daily Bruin staff at work
Managing editor Lisa Bonos (left) checks a recent issue with design director Lisa Dracolakis.

Read all about it

Undergraduate journalism departments have largely disappeared from the UC landscape, replaced by broader-themed media and communications majors. But at UCLA, aspiring newshounds can get a first-rate journalism education the hard-knocks way — at the Daily Bruin.

Daily Bruin staffers — toiling in a cluttered warren of cubicles in Kerckhoff Hall — produce a five-day-a-week paper so professional in content and appearance that many readers are unaware it is put together entirely by students.

The hard work was recently rewarded with a slew of prestigious awards: nation's best all-around student paper from the Society of Professional Journalists; best paper at a four-year university from the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA); and first place among four-year university broadsheets from the Associated Collegiate Press. The California College Media Association awarded the Daily Bruin first place in general excellence, news, sports and opinion, and for its arts and entertainment and dB Magazine sections.

UCLA “is practicing some serious, high-quality journalism in the Daily Bruin,” the CNPA judges remarked. “I’m really proud,” says 2004-’05 editor-in-chief Tyson Evans, who got hooked on journalism at his high school paper in St. Joseph, Mo. “The Daily Bruin has really been put on the map with these awards.”

The Daily Bruin began life as the Cub Californian in 1919, adopting its current moniker in 1948. In 2002, editors abandoned the black-and-white tabloid format in favor of a color broadsheet, giving the paper a closer resemblance to its commercial counterparts. Alumni include three Pulitzer Prize winners and a Nobel laureate, the late civil rights leader and UN under-secretary general Ralph Bunche.

Staffers complain about the long hours and lousy pay; the paper isn’t put to bed until after midnight and the pay — for those who get any at all — works out to less than minimum wage. But something — probably not the microwave popcorn smell and the spill stains on the office couch — keeps staffers coming back.

“It’s nice when you can pick up the paper in the morning and see something you wrote and go, ‘Hey, I did that,’” says Andrew Finley, the assistant sports editor.

by Anne Burke

2005 The Regents of the University of California