A History of the UCLA Daily Bruin, 1919-1955
Thirty-Five Years of Ads, Circulation and Training: Part 1
by George Garrigues
Printed edition © 1970, 1997
Internet Edition © 2000, 2001
All rights reserved, but you are welcome to download electronic copies, send e-copies to your friends or make printouts for yourself.
Go to the Front of the Book
Preface, Contents, List of Editors, Bibliography and Index
Go to the Preceding Section
12B. The New Golden Age
Lack of advertising revenue was a problem for the Cub Californian, and early Student Councils spent a great deal of time in devising ways to make income equal outgo. On Dec. 11, 1919, the Cub had only $32.01 on hand and owed $446.24. (SEC, 12/11/19.) By March 1920, the debt had risen to $851.92. (SEC, 3/11/20.) A series of business managers was able to evolve a "safe, smooth-running system of financing" the newspaper and put it on a "firm financial basis." (SoCam, 1921.) One manager ran a contest in which students' purchase receipts from advertisers were placed in a box for a drawing. First prize was a "$15 Yorktown hat" and second prize was a "$12 'knock em dead' silk shirt." (CC, 10/20/20.)
"Want Ads," which later developed into the classified advertisement columns, were begun in 1921.
In 1934, the Student Council was incensed that Publications Manager Joseph Osherenko had obtained an entire advertising supplement from Campbell's Book Store (a large firm on the south side of Le Conte Avenue opposite the campus), an arrangement the council felt was against the interest of the ASUCLA's own Student Store . The Council advised that such a supplement should not be "sought or accepted." (SEC, 9/19/34.) About the same time, the Council resolved that all front-page advertising would come under control of the editor -- not the business manager. (SEC, 11/21/34.)
The Daily Bruin sold out to the money mongers yesterday and the result is today's "shopping news" edition of the campus publication . . . a four-page paper lousy with ads.
Issuing an apology for Business Manager Charles Ferguson's miserliness, the editorial staff declared with one voice yesterday that it would never again allow advertisements to overshadow reading matter. (CDB, 2/15/38.)
The Student Council decided in 1946 that the Bruin was "too full of ads" and directed they be kept to a maximum of 35 percent of each issue. (SEC, 9/26/46.)
In the late Twenties and early Thirties the Bruin billed itself as "the only activity other than athletics by which it is possible to pay a surplus to the Associated Students" (CG, 2/8/26) and "the only college newspaper in the United States which pays for itself" (CDB, Registration Issue, 9/33). By 1947, however, the Bruin showed a net loss of $14,510 (CDB, 11/3/47), and in 1951 Business Manager Varnel Jordan warned that it was "in danger of becoming a four-page daily" because ad content was running at only 30 percent instead of 35. (DB, 3/27/51.) In the early Fifties, four-page papers were the rule on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
In 1947, a controversy developed over a Student Council order forbidding ads for racial and religious organizations, a move clearly aimed at left-wing political groups such as the American Youth for Democracy. George A. Pettit, assistant to President Sproul, complained in 1947 that the Bruin was running ads for the Mike Quin Student Club of the Communist Party despite the ruling against accepting such matter. (Chanc, 1947, Folder 105, 10/30/47.) And in 1969 I found in the Chancellor's File a 1947 advertisement for a public meeting featuring singer Paul Robeson and sponsored by the Progressive Citizens of America; to it was clipped a note reading: "Dr. Dykstra: This looks like another invitation to the Tenney Committee to move in on the University again." It was signed "GT." (Chanc, 1947, Folder 105, 11/12/47.)37
In 1952, in the McCarthy era, the Council was again discussing the banning of "subversive" advertisements. "We're beginning to lose the taint of 'little red schoolhouse' and recognizing subversive organizations would only cause a return of that opinion," said Ralph Hansen, a Student Council member.
Dean of Women Nola Stark-Rogers said that Chancellor Raymond B. Allen would favor allowing political advertising except for any organizations on the Attorney General's subversive list. But the Council decided to retain its old policy of allowing all organizations to advertise. (DB, 10/20/54.)
Another thorn in the side of the Bruin was the University's policy against accepting liquor ads. President Sproul confirmed the rule in 1951 (Chanc, 1951, Folder 246-DB. 12/12/ 51), but Editor Jack Weber attacked it editorially three years later. (DB, 11/3/52.)
Cigarette advertisements were run steadily from the earliest years of the newspaper, only to be cut from college papers across the nation in 1963 by the tobacco companies themselves in the wake of government and public criticism. (Politella, 1967.)
In the early Fifties, the Administration started to pay for the "Official Notices" run on its behalf, but President Sproul ruled in 1954 that no payment was to be made and that the papers should be relied on to "publish such items as will be of interest to their student subscribers." (Chanc, 1954, Folder 246-DB.)
Distribution of the Cub Californian was at first on a "help yourself" basis (CC, 1/23/20), but on Jan. 23, 1920, a new system was put into effect. Free subscription cards, perforated in coupon form, were issued to student-body-card holders. Newspapers were given out from the box office in Millspaugh Hall in exchange for a coupon, or for a nickel if the purchaser was not an ASUC member. (CC, 1/23/20.) In 1923, the distribution point was changed to the "ticket office near the Co-op," which had two windows, meaning "an end to long lines." (CC, 10/26/23.) Three years later, distribution was made at the Co-op, "with as rigid an inspection of student body cards as possible." (SEC, 4/21/26.) Later the same year papers were given out "only between 8 and noon in the booth near the tennis courts." (CG, 9/17/26.)
Fraternities and sororities received the campus newspaper delivered directly to their houses at an extra charge of $1.50 a month, but only "after a 100% membership in ASUC is reported." The delivery was "expected to relieve the congestion at the booths on the campus." (CG, 9/11/26.) This practice died out when the University was moved to Westwood because fraternity and sorority houses were not built immediately.
In December 1928, the Student Council decided to give out Bruins to all people whether or not they had student body cards. (DB, 12/11/28.) After the move to Westwood, Bruins were distributed from boxes until a litter problem developed. Business Manager Joe R. Osherenko then hired "a competent man, fully alive to his duty, [to] . . . be stationed at the bridge daily between the hours of 8 and 10 to assure the proper distribution of Bruins without the accompanying litter which has previously marred the process." (Arch, 5/6/30.) [This would be the span that once arched across a gully running through the campus between the Administration Building on the east and the Flagpole on the west. The gully is also mentioned in Clancy Sigal's book Going Home.]
Later, papers were placed in green boxes at various locations on the campus. (SEC, 4/4/34; CB, 11/25/42 and summer reg issue, 1943; CDB, 10/31/45.) A "Daily Bruin box and bulletin board for paraplegic students," mostly returning veterans, was built in 1949. (SEC, 1/5/49.)
At certain times, special arrangements were made for distribution to the faculty. Copies were placed in faculty mailboxes (CC, 10/10/19 and CG, 10/11/26), and during the Depression they were distributed to faculty offices, but this method was discontinued for lack of funds in 1938. (Arch, Box 143, Folder 40, 12/10/38.)
The latest recorded delivery took place on registration day of the fall semester 1933, after the Bruin had changed its shop from the Hollywood Citizen-News to the Westwood Hills Press. The production methods were different, and "nobody showed up to write," but Editor Robert Shellaby "and a few forlorn looking college journalists succeeded . . . in dragging out that memorable paper by 4 o'clock" in the afternoon. "They found distribution difficult, because there were hardly any students on the campus at that late hour to accept the publication." (CDB, 2/19/34.)
As a consequence, the business staff had to make good all the advertisements that had been scheduled. Three pages of ads were rerun a few days later, an act which so upset Shellaby he wrote a front-page editorial complaining of the
subordination of news value and the elevation of advertising value of the Daily Bruin. Hereafter you will read the daily columns, not to find out primarily what is going on around the campus, but where you can pick up another shirt dirt cheap. (CDB, 9/18/33.)
Cub Classes and Journalism Training
"I am impressed with the manner in which a rather large group of students literally are teaching themselves journalism," the father of Editor Richard Pryne once wrote to University President Robert Gordon Sproul. (Arch, Box 148, Folder 74, 3/5/38.) Indeed, the fact was impressive because, until 1951, there were no regular undergraduate courses in journalism, and the Bruin was literally a "teach-it-yourself" operation.
Not that the students had no professional guidance. Editor Fern Ashley (the third of the four editors in the kickoff year of 1919-20) had studied journalism at the Berkeley campus in the summer of 1919. (CC 3/19/20.)
And in the Twenties and Thirties journalism courses were begun on the Los Angeles campus, with the Summer Grizzly or the Summer Bruin being used as a laboratory newspaper. By 1926, the older students were beginning to teach the younger ones:
Sponsored jointly with Tri-C and the Daily Grizzly, a class in journalism will be given every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Lecture Hall 102. No credit will be given for the course, but it is open to all men and women in the University who are interested in newspaper work.
William Forbes '27, editor of the Daily Grizzly, will conduct the series of lectures. The course will be divided into two divisions: the first half of the work will be practical in nature and designed to help students just beginning work on the Grizzly. The second part will entail trips to a newspaper print shop, and talks by editors of metropolitan papers. (CG, 9/17/26.)
This was the pattern set for future years. "Cub classes" were held to introduce students to the work of the Bruin. And, professional journalists were invited to talk to students already on the Bruin staff. A typical cub class would feature a two-week-long indoctrination in newspaper writing and Bruin style and a short written examination of the cubs, "whereupon they will be officially accepted as regular staff members with the rank of apprentice reporter." The Bruin, said associate editor Phyllis Mindlin, offered "training in straight news writing, feature writing, advertising and newspaper business management, as well as sports covering and writing." (CDB, 10/26/45.)
As for speakers, a series arranged in 1946 by Editor Bill Stout featured Robert E. G. Harris, editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News; and Walter Scratch, editorial assistant on the Hollywood Citizen-News. (CDB, 1/25/46.) Alumnus Matt Weinstock and Times columnist Ed Ainsworth spoke on occasion. (CDB, 4/22/46.)
The establishment of a Department of Journalism at UCLA was suggested as early as 1922 by Marc N. Goodnow, director of the Journalism Department at USC, who proposed himself as the first director of the UCLA program in a letter to Regent Edward A. Dickson, who was a newspaper publisher.
The practical training in the School would be through the columns of the Cub Californian, which could even be made a semi-weekly, tri-weekly or a daily through the work of our students . . . as director of the school I would expect to supervise it from both the advertising and editorial viewpoints. (Dickson, Box 18, Folder 7, 3/7/22)
By 1926, a women's journalistic organization called "Tri-C" had as its "chief purpose . . . to establish a school of journalism on the Westwood campus" (CG, 9/17/26.) This organization was succeeded by the Pi Kappa Pi, whose member Fannie Ginsberg sent a proposed 15-lecture journalism course outline to Director Ernest Carroll Moore "to be attended by all students interested in journalism and wishing to promote a School of Journalism." (Arch, Box 45, 9/8/30.)
Editor Robert Shellaby pleaded in 1934 for academic credit for Bruin staffers.
There is no doubt that publications are unjustly refused academic sanction . . . athletics receive gym credit, theatrics find drama courses, and forensics find fundamentals in public speaking . . . the Regents of the University should consider establishing courses . . . in journalism." (CDB, 1/19/34.)
Editor Pryne's father, after lauding the then-current "teach-it-yourself," practice, went on to suggest that "even the addition of a single competent instructor would provide at least partial direction to an already well organized student activity." Sproul informed the elder Pryne, however, that a faculty committee had investigated the matter two years earlier, in 1936, and reported that UCLA had a "far more urgent" need for programs other than journalism. (Arch, Box 148, Folder 74).
Much of the early talk about establishing a journalism program centered about the "valuable guidance [that] could be furnished the Bruin, to the benefit of the public relations of the University," as one Budget Committee report put it. (Chanc, 1947, Folder 74, 5/19/47.)
Later that year a Bruin banner proclaimed
UCLA JOURNALISM DEPARTMENT SEEN
Long-range plans currently underway would make Kerckhoff Hall a 'publications' building upon completion of the new Student Union." (CDB, 12/11/47.)
But Joseph A. Brandt, the first chairman of the new Graduate Department of Journalism, quashed any idea that he would take a hand in training Bruin staffers. He hoped that the relationship would be one of "friendship only," pointing out that the Bruin was a student-owned newspaper and therefore should be independent. He said he would not use the Bruin for instructional purposes. (DB 7/15/49.) [The graduate program began in 1950 and admitted its last class in fall 1972.]
With the growth of complaints about the Bruin's liberal orientation, however, and especially in the wake of a meeting called by the Administrative Committee to consider a complaint about the Bruin by John Canaday, vice president of Lockheed Aircraft Co. and president of the UCLA Alumni Association, Brandt changed his mind. (Chanc, 1950, Folder 246, 9/29/50 and 10/24/50.) The committee suggested that an undergraduate course be offered in basic journalism and that a professionally trained journalist be secured at ASUCLA expense "to help the students." (Chanc, 1950, Folder 246, 10/24/50.)
Within a few months, only five days before the staff strike over the Schlapik-Rexrode issue, Brandt was backing a five-point plan for election of a student editor to have control only over the editorial column, establishing a course called Journalism A specifically for Daily Bruin personnel, appointing an "executive editor" to be responsible for news play and news content, creating a new publication board of three faculty members and four students and setting up a print shop on the campus to print both the Bruin and the California Sun, the laboratory newspaper of the Department of Journalism.
I have been, as you know, extremely reluctant to have anything to do with The Bruin since we have enough on our hands . . . However, I can appreciate the gravity of the situation . . . President Sproul has asked that steps be taken immediately to protect the paper against censorship and has indicated that pressures are mounting from the highest authority in the state [Governor Earl Warren] which may result in censorship. Neither I, nor any of my colleagues, will ever be cast in the role of censors. I do think we can give the Bruin, through the foregoing suggestions, a professional responsibility that it has not had thus far. (Chanc, 1951, Folder 246-DB, 2/16/51.)
The immediate result was the appointment of Robert R. Kirsch, a rewrite man for the Hollywood Citizen-News and a former United Press reporter, at a stipend of $100 to teach an ASUCLA-sponsored course in the "fundamentals of journalism." (SEC, 2/28/51 and DB, 3/15/51.) Kirsch later became book editor of the Los Angeles Times and was a longtime permanent adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Department of Journalism.
Staffers, who had quit their walkout and returned to their jobs by the time the classes began, were pleased with the SEC action. Managing Editor Bob Myers said the classes would have "an immeasurable influence on the quality of The Bruin."
We sat in on the first of Kirsch's cub classes a couple of weeks ago and were astounded to see the effectiveness of his teaching techniques. The class is taught on an informal plane with plenty of opportunity for questions and answers. But, paradoxically, Kirsch's tone of authority is evident throughout the class and one can't help but feel a great deal of respect for this man who has taken on the burden of teaching cub reporters the rules of journalism in addition to his pressing duties elsewhere. (DB, 3/26/51.)
This first class was not given for academic credit. Later, the first undergraduate journalism class in a regular session was established as English 2, with Kirsch as the first instructor. But there was always a separation between the academic orientation of English 2 and the Bruin-centered cub classes that continued under the direction of the associate editor much as they had in the old days before the undergraduate course was begun.
Go to the Conclusion of This Chapter
13B. Thirty-Five Years of Managers, Summers, Banquets and 'Society'