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Finding, building community have defined my 4 years at The Bruin -30-

Kate Green stands for a portrait in front of Kerckhoff Hall. (Darlene Sanzon/Assistant Photo editor)

By Kate Green

June 10, 2024 8:59 p.m.

I sat at a makeshift desk in my mom’s bedroom, anxiously reading the Zoom tab’s message.

“Anushka Jain’s Personal Meeting. Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon.”

It was the end of fall quarter 2020 and the time had come to pitch my first article to PRIME, the Daily Bruin’s quarterly magazine. I feared my proposal might be a bit unorthodox for the section. As opposed to a news feature or standard column, I envisioned a narrative weaving together my Japanese American heritage and the loss of a family member to COVID-19.

I soon began sputtering out my pitch over the laggy Zoom call. The concept was messy and a bit outside of usual Daily Bruin style – the jumble of words reflecting the disorientation I felt during those long quarantine days. I mentally prepared myself for rejection. Then, to my shock, the PRIME team immediately unmuted and said, “Yes, let’s do it. Tell us the support you need.”

As dramatic as it sounds, at that moment, I knew that the Daily Bruin was special. It was clear to me that I had found a home for stories that take risks to center student voices. Moreover, I sensed that I had stepped into the tight-knit community I desperately needed at UCLA.

Four years later, I am overjoyed to say that the Bruin has more than lived up to its initial impression.

I went on to write that column for PRIME and several long-form features, including a look into remote learning’s impacts on students who are learning English as a second language and a piece spotlighting the labor struggles of UCLA’s dining hall works. My reporting eventually culminated in me leading the magazine as PRIME director this past year. Within this role, I had the pleasure of guiding the PRIME staff and our newest intern class through their own cutting-edge columns and investigations.

At each turn in this journey, I have benefited from compassionate editors and friends who taught me what community care looks like.

To the three PRIME Directors I have had the pleasure of knowing – Anushka Jain, Justin Huwe and Abi Siatkowski – thank you for passing down a section that feels more like a family than a staff.

Anushka, I deeply appreciate you believing in my journalistic potential even when I was a lonely, confused freshman in your Zoom waiting room. Justin, when I have a question – about PRIME, school, life, literature and the world in general – you will always be the first person I call. Abi, I could not have asked for a better predecessor, managing editor and roommate, all rolled into one. Each of you instilled in me the belief that friendships should blossom at the Bruin, and I sense the ripple effects of your legacies in all of the current PRIME meetings and socials.

To my fellow 2023-2024 PRIME editors – Maya O’Kelly and Martin Sevcik – thank you for taking chances to prioritize both our readers’ and writers’ wellbeing. At the beginning of our year together, we had many lofty hopes. I am proud to say that we accomplished the majority of these goals, most notably increasing PRIME’s accessibility through improved alternative text and Podcasts narrations.

Yet, I am even prouder of the flexibility and humility you demonstrated when we have needed to adjust our plans. Last month, I approached you both with the prospect of completely reconfiguring PRIME’s spring 2024 format to mitigate newsroom burnout during the UC Divest Coalition demonstrations.

I expected some level of pushback, given how much time and passion you each devote to the magazine’s rollout. However, like the PRIME editors three years prior, you said, “Yes, let’s do it. Tell us the support you need.” I am truly grateful for this trust and commitment to cultivating PRIME as an evolving space for our writers during difficult times.

Watching you rise to the challenge of our new, gradual publication schedule has affirmed for me that the Daily Bruin is at our best when we are at our most empathetic.

While PRIME has been my Daily Bruin home base, I am keenly aware that the magazine is just one cozy corner of our large, bustling newsroom. Thank you to each and every other staffer who has shown me just how warm and resilient our larger community can be.

To Neeti Badve, Danielle Anz and Ella Maulden, thank you for letting me play a small role in Outreach’s incredible growth. To Zoë Busenberg, thank you for the hours of discussion and advice – you make me a better editor and friend. To Natalie Agnew, thank you for copy editing not only each PRIME magazine but every email I have sent in the past ten months.

It has been such an honor to work in tandem with such kind and generous leaders.

As graduation looms closer, I sincerely hope that I have helped pay forward the wealth of support I have received at the Daily Bruin. I have tried to keep in mind the way I felt going into that first pitch meeting in 2020 – lonely, unsure and curious if I would find my place – and treat this year’s PRIMElings with the same nurturing mentorship my editors granted me.

From the revamped PRIME mentorship system to our zany cross-section socials to our weekly collaborative playlists, I cherish the possibility that I may have contributed to even one person’s sense of homecoming at the Bruin.

Kate Green was a PRIME editor 2023-2024 and previously PRIME and Outreach staff.

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