James Barragan, a current assistant news editor for the Daily Bruin, has been appointed editor in chief of the Daily Bruin for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Barragan, a third-year history student, received the endorsement of the staff in a vote Friday evening, and was formally appointed by the Communications Board Tuesday night.

The board oversees all campus publications and makes the final decision in the selection of the editor in chief. In recent memory, the board has not gone against the staff-endorsed nominee.

Barragan applied for the position alongside Jacob Ruffman, the Bruin’s current sports editor. Chairman of the Communications Board Raiyaan Serang, a fourth-year electrical engineering student, said both Barragan and Ruffman were excellent candidates for the position, but the board followed the staff endorsement.

Barragan plans to maintain accuracy, expand online coverage and create a more community-based paper.

“It’s important for us to be there every step of the way,” Barragan said. “I want (the Bruin) to be a community paper in terms of we’re not a newspaper that’s “˜the newspaper,’ it’s “˜our newspaper.’”

He said he will use a bottom-up approach to ensure reporters are constantly talking to sources to find overlooked stories.

Ruffman said Barragan will be able to execute his platform with success.

“James has shown throughout the entire year his commitment to the Daily Bruin in more than just work sense and journalism sense. He’s put his heart and soul into paper,” Ruffman said.

When Barragan first applied to the Bruin, he said he wrote in his application that he wanted to give a voice to people who came from backgrounds like his own. Barragan grew up in Pomona, the son of parents who immigrated to America and wanted to make sure their children stayed out of trouble in an environment where they could be exposed to gang violence and teen pregnancy, Barragan said. His older sister was the first in the family to graduate from college.

His parents, Rosario and Ramiro Barragan, said they were proud of Barragan for accomplishing so much in so little time.

“We have showed him to always fight for what he wants, and that if you set yourself a goal to always reach that goal,” Rosario Barragan said in Spanish. “I always tell him to be proud of where he comes from … and to be a good role model to everyone else.”

Current editor in chief Lauren Jow, a fourth-year English student, said she had no doubt Barragan could handle the job.

“As the assistant news editor for the campus beat, (Barragan) had one of the hardest jobs in the office,” Jow said. “Seeing how he’s taken that very difficult beat and made it shine this year, I think he can definitely do that on a larger scale.”

Jow will serve as editor in chief for the rest of spring quarter until the graduation issue when Barragan, along with next year’s staff, will take over for the next academic year.

Contributing reports by Isaac Arjonilla, Bruin senior staff.