I remember my first day as a full-time editor for the Daily Bruin well. Really well.
It was about 7 a.m. and Slack notifications were blowing up my phone. It was the first day of zero week, and I ignored the messages as I continued running on the treadmill, my heart racing against my chest.
Seconds later, I saw the name of the then-editor in chief of the Daily Bruin, Sam Hoff, flash on the screen. I hurriedly picked up the phone. My heart was beating so fast I couldn’t hear much. The words “quick”, “emergency” and “Roebling” rang in my head as I raced to Kerckhoff 118 trying to grasp the severity of the situation.
As the day unfolded, the situation seemed more and more unreal. As details of the incident – the murder of a UCLA student – kept unfolding, my editing team and staff wrapped themselves up in keeping on top of the situation and informing the students and community about what was happening.
After a few hours of the story breaking, I found a second to myself and snuck to the corner of the office. Involuntary tears rolled down my cheek as I stood by the water fountain, the water overflowing down to my feet. I wasn’t sure if I was sad, overwhelmed or just not processing the situation well.
My co-assistant editor, Jillian Frankel, came up to me and put her hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t worry, things will get better, it won’t be this hard everyday,” she said. “I promise.”
Well, she lied. My first day as an editor was just a glimpse of the whirlwind of a year that lay ahead. My editorial team had experienced one of the most breaking-news-intensive years at UCLA, and while many people told me not to write about the sad events that plagued the community as a part of my final remembrance for the Daily Bruin, I decided not to listen to them.
Such tragedies have sadly marked my time at UCLA, and especially at the Daily Bruin. However, what is important to see is what the community takes away from these incidents. It is important to see the lessons of solidarity, commitment to equality, justice and the search for a greater truth that lies beneath.
Days after we published the story about the murder of the UCLA student, I saw an email from her brother flash on my phone screen. I was scared to open it.
“Thanks for your professionalism in taking the time in getting the story right.”
That one-line email during such a difficult time brought tears to my eyes yet again. It was only then that I understood what this job was really about.
Working at the Daily Bruin was my first job – my first real job – where I was not only responsible to the newsroom, to my editors, but also to the students, professors and thousands of other people that walk up and down Bruin Walk everyday. Moving on from the Daily Bruin will be hard. I will never have a job like this ever again, where I am surrounded by young minds who work day and night to produce content, stories and images that touch the lives of everyone around us.
In many ways, it’s really scary to think about it, but I’m delighted that my college experience has been dominated by the Daily Bruin. Even though I spent years doing a job I will never have in the future, I would never have acquired the knowledge, skills, empathy and memories any other way.
I want to take a second to talk to the future generation of reporters, photographers, editors, developers and staffers that will have the privilege to sit in the Daily Bruin office: I remember being so frustrated with this job some days that I would keep a resignation letter in my email drafts for days at end. But in the end, no matter how bad things get, try to stick it out. I can guarantee you the experience will be worth it.
As student journalists, we are put in a great position of privilege where we have access to places and sources media professionals don’t. And if you take advantage of those places, you will be amazed by the content you produce, the lives you touch and what you are able to give back to the UCLA community and to the field of journalism.
Lastly, thank you, Daily Bruin, for introducing me to friends I will cherish forever. Julien, Kat, Andrea, Laurel, Jillian, Arman – thank you for being my life and beyond at UCLA, and the pillars of strength without which I would never have made it these past four years. Thank you, Daily Bruin, for giving a home to an awkward, Indian kid, who was 7,000 miles away from her real one, who couldn’t spell everyone’s names correctly and who still mispronounces several words.
With this being the 114th and the last time my name will appear in this newspaper, I’m forever and always grateful to what you have given me, Daily Bruin.
Maskara was a News contributor 2014-2015, an assistant News editor 2015-2016 and News senior staff 2016-2017.