UCLA’s unofficial journalism school officially finished its spring turnover this week. Emails were sent, cries of joys were expressed and Kerckhoff 118’s new tribal leaders were announced with pomp and circumstance.
That’s right, the Daily Bruin’s new editorial staff was announced this week. Everyone from the five assistant News editors to the lone assistant Blogging editor were publicized to the rest of the nearly 500-person staff, and the paper began preparations for the new leaders of the school’s most annoying student newspaper.
Before you stress out over missing your chance to become a sought-after editor at the Daily Bruin – and we are actually sought after, but usually because someone wants to criticize us – just know that the selection process is mostly internal.
In other words, there’s a tacit requirement that unless you contribute to the Daily Bruin for at least a quarter – be that for News, Sports or heaven forbid, Opinion – you probably shouldn’t apply to become an assistant editor. And the tacit requirement can be even longer to become a section editor, the head honcho of a section of the paper.
But it wasn’t always this way. As recently as 17 years ago, the Daily Bruin publicized editor applications to the entire UCLA community.
In fact, on April 27, 2000, the Daily Bruin ran an ad advertising 18 editor positions for the 2000-2001 editor staff. The ad called on ol’ Uncle Sam to help out and proudly proclaimed “UCLA’s journalism department wants YOU!!!” – as if the Daily Bruin masthead wasn’t enticing enough.
But, if we’re done hearing me flatter the paper I work for, it’s worth noting the Daily Bruin of 17 years ago had two positions that aren’t present in today’s paper and lacked two positions that are present today. The then-Daily Bruin had positions for an electronic media director and assistant art director, both of which don’t exist now.
On the other hand, this year’s Bruin has an Illustrations director, whose job is to manage art for the various sections and cultivate editorial cartoonists. Back in the day, however, the Illustration director’s position was merged with the Design director, whose current role is to manage the layout of the daily print product.
Additionally, the Daily Bruin of late has a digital managing editor who oversees the paper’s digital operations. It’s presumable that the electronic media director of the old Daily Bruin assumed this role in some capacity. However, the DME of present reports directly to the editor in chief and plays a largely managerial – not editorial – role in the paper, as the name would imply.
Of course, this comparison isn’t entirely apples to apples, since the sections themselves have changed greatly across this nearly two-decade period. The then-Viewpoint section is now the Opinion section, the Electronic Technical section – now referred to simply as Online – manages The Bruin’s website and Bruinwalk.com operations, and the Electronic Media Art section is the paper’s prolific Graphics section.
Now, this might just seem like I’m throwing a ton of jargon at you. After all, who cares whether the assistant Opinion editor or the Copy chief is responsible for the content you read on the page – or this blog piece, for example?
But if UCLA’s student newspaper’s internal structure is indicative of anything, it’s that teamwork is far more important than those poorly managed, professor-mandated group projects make it seem. Fifty-five editors have to work together and hundreds more contribute – either with their words or knack for eye-catching design – to make that print product you hold in your hand.
That’s something magical. And page-turning.