The UCLA Communications Board appointed an assistant News editor as the next editor in chief of the Daily Bruin in a meeting Monday night.
Jacob Preal, a second-year political science student, was officially appointed after receiving the staff’s endorsement at a hearing Friday night.
Preal said he wants to develop The Bruin’s online presence and make The Bruin more accessible to readers who get their news through online and mobile platforms.
“In the past, readers have felt we are not reaching them where they are, which is mostly (on) mobile and online (platforms),” he said. “There are too many newspapers that are left in the newsstands that aren’t picked up, which we understand because it’s the way the world is changing, and we need to meet (readers) where that change is.”
Abhishek Shetty, an assistant Opinion editor, and Andrew Warner, an assistant Arts and Entertainment editor, also applied for the editor in chief position. The Communications Board, which oversees UCLA Student Media and makes the final decision in the editor in chief selection process, has consistently followed the staff endorsement since 2010.
Preal will be the third consecutive third-year student to serve in the role, succeeding current Editor-in-Chief Mackenzie Possee.
Possee said she thinks Preal is a strong journalist with a contagious passion for journalism.
“He’s always smiling and will go the extra mile to make sure his work is exceptional,” she said. “He does everything he can to bring the whole newsroom together, and I can’t wait to see what he does as The Bruin’s leader next year.”
Lisa Preal, Jacob Preal’s mother, said her son wanted to come to UCLA because he wanted to work for The Bruin.
“He already had this vision for a long time,” Lisa Preal said. “If he really wants something, he’ll make it happen.”
Before coming to UCLA, Jacob Preal worked as an editor at Valley News, a community newspaper that serves Riverside County. Kim Harris, managing editor of Valley News, said Preal is passionate about delivering fair and balanced news to readers. For example, she said Preal broke a story about allegations of voter tampering in Riverside in 2016.
“He always wants to be the best, no matter what it is,” Harris said. “He’s able to sniff out a story and know what will make a good story – he’s just an all-around great guy.”
Eliza Blackorby, Communications Board chair, said the board was impressed with Preal’s vision for the paper, including his focus on online content. She added they also liked Preal’s hands-on leadership style.
Rupan Bharanidaran, News editor for The Bruin, said he thinks Preal is a hard worker who has covered important topics in the past year, including the Westwood Forward coalition and the Skirball fire.
Preal said he plans to support the staff and improve retention in the paper.
“I’m definitely going to miss reporting, but I look forward to helping everyone hone their talents and make the Daily Bruin the best it can be,” he said.