From the Archives: Summer of Love

Country Joe and the Fish was formed in Berkeley in 1965. The psychedelic folk rock band debuted its first album on May 11, 1967. Its anti-war lyrics and free love rhythm made the record  soundtrack for what would later be named the Summer of Love. In a three-part series published in May 1967, The Daily Californian interviewed the band members and other members of the Berkeley community and discussed Berkeley’s hippie movement and its effects on the past, present and future social structure of society.

“There definitely is a new social movement — based on humanism,” said Country Joe and the Fish drummer Gary Hirsh in a 1967 interview with the Daily Cal. “The ideas, though have been around for a long time.” 

Barry “The Fish” Melton added, “Cal’s had hippies for years. They just weren’t called that.” Melton now plays in a band called The Irish Newsboys, which is made up primarily of journalists, including Daily Cal alum Steve Rubenstein.

“There definitely is a new social movement — based on humanism” – Gary Hirsh

While the summer of ’67 is usually remembered as all-loving and peaceful, the Daily Cal archives revealed a different perspective. The three-part Berkeley hippie movement series, written by staff writer Carol Matzkin, discussed the world hippies had created for themselves and what different members of the UC Berkeley community felt about it.

1967, The Daily Californian

“I don’t see that the hippies add anything to the campus community,” said special assistant to the dean of students and campus policeman James Sicheneder. Matzkin reported that Sicheneder was frequently called upon to ask hippies to leave the campus. Behind the world of “love and flowers” for the hippies stood acid and pot. Arrests for marijuana in Berkeley increased by 104 percent for adults between 1960 and 1966. In 1966, 474 people were reported to be arrested on narcotics charges. Berkeley police and campus representatives didn’t see the Summer of Love as the feel-good time it’s described to be.

A Bank of America branch manager and a menswear shop owner also were not feeling the love. The branch manager commented, “Although the hippies haven’t hurt us personally, the publicity of the hippy movement has had a little bit of an adverse effect on the area of the city as a whole.” The shop owner added, “(The hippies) harm the Avenue more than anything. We used to be jammed, but people from the area would rather not come.”

Matzkin noted, however, that while some shops were unhappy that hippies were scaring away prospective customers from outside the community, others were unhappy with the tourists that converged on Telegraph Avenue each weekend.

Although each business embraced the movement differently, they all agreed that television had been a major cause of the movement. The article explains that the movement had taken beatnik dissatisfaction and made it into a movement. “When you see a film of Vietnam, it is real — it affects you directly,” a Telegraph Avenue sandal maker said. “A newspaper just could never get anyone emotionally involved the way television can.” Matzkin noted that mass media brought to youth an increased awareness of world problems such as the constant threat of atomic war.

“The hippies have found a chance to study their lives, past and present, from a vantage point it would be hard to get any place else,” an article in a 1967 Alumni Association magazine said. “They are really lonely people. People think it’s a wild, libertine existence. But what the public sees is really the pleasures of the poor — drinking, sex and folk songs.”

Matzkin said “straight society” was not pleased with the hippie image. The Daily Cal’s three-part series revealed that citizens in 1967 disapproved of the events around them that are celebrated today, and that the movement had two sides — dismissed by some as hedonism, a cesspool of acid and pot and proponent of crime.

One of UC Berkeley’s own students, Owsley Stanley, however, was among the first to mass-produce more than a million doses of LSD after poring over journals and chemistry books over three weeks in Doe Library. He made LSD for stars of the San Francisco music scene, such as the Grateful Dead — and while the Summer of Love was much more than the euphoric powers of LSD, it definitely contributed to changing people’s sensibilities and planting ideas of larger themes such as peace, feminism and environmental movements.

Matzkin interviewed assistant professor of sociology Benjamin Zablocki, who spoke in support of the hippie movement and predicted, “In five years it will be the dominant teen-age sub culture.” He talked about the power of drugs and how “the myth of LSD, more than the drug itself has injected a factor of hope into the movement.” This reflected the optimism and sentiment that anything was possible, which drove thousands of people to converge at Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco to drop out of mainstream lifestyle and embrace the counterculture that was taking over while the rest of the country watched it unfold.

Zablocki also predicted that the use of drugs could result in the hippie movement moving in one of two ways: to either youth fascism or a new type of society. He gave the movement five years to show the direction that it would be going.

The professor described Telegraph Avenue as a street of drifters where students mingle with university drop-outs and teenage girls who wanted to be hippies.

A sandal shop owner noted, “People feel the unique world they’ve created on Telegraph Avenue will not be left behind as hippies grow older.” Even today, Telegraph Avenue retains a glimmer of its previous vibe. Music stores with their discount CDs and records, tattoo and piercing parlors and smoke shops shadow the few chain stores closer to campus as 50 years later, Berkeley remembers the Summer of Love.

Dr. Carol Orsborn is now editor-in-chief of Fierce with Age, the Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration & Spirituality. She is a veteran journalist and author having begun her career as a columnist writing about the Boomer generation for the Chicago Daily News and San Francisco Chronicle. She now blogs regularly for Huffington Post, NPR’s Next Avenue and others.

2017 Alumna of the Year: Ellen Nakashima

News editors make the argument every semester at info sessions: apply to the Daily Californian, even if you’re a rising senior. One semester could make an impact for years to come.

Case in point: Ellen Nakashima, a 20-year veteran reporter at the Washington Post, didn’t join the Daily Cal until the summer after she’d graduated in 1984. Nevertheless, it was here that she got her first taste of journalism, where she said “the bug bit,” launching a reporting career that would span the globe.

After breaking huge scandals that have shaken the White House to its core, she’s been named as the paper’s 2017 alumna of the year by the Daily Californian Education Foundation.

Faced with a slow summer in 1984, Nakashima joined as a staff writer and later served a brief stint editing the paper’s international page. She remembers fondly what quickly became a news-packed year.
Berkeley was as much in the center of the national discussion then as it was today. The community was alive with anti-apartheid boycotts, and everyone from students to professors to politicians was taking part. Nakashima’s beat made her a frequent attendee at Zoning Adjustments Board and Planning Commission meetings, regarded today as a rite of passage for new reporters. She recalls that year’s city council race, like this past year’s, was particularly exciting.
It was also a year, with Walter Mondale challenging President Ronald Reagan, and choosing Geraldine Ferraro as the first female running mate of a major party ticket. One of Nakashima’s favorite moments was being present at the World Affairs Council covering the event where the historic announcement was made.
“It was exhilarating,” she said. “All of that in one short year that I was actually at the Daily Cal.”
Nakashima decided next to take a break from journalism, the idea being to travel Europe or Costa Rica. Coasting on the dollar’s favorable exchange, she hitchhiked across Europe. When she lost her return ticket home, she decided to stay.
“I was having such a great time in Italy,” she said. “It was so beautiful, why don’t I stay here for awhile and maybe earn some money for a return ticket home? And instead I fell in love,” she said.
Five years and a master’s degree in journalism later, she returned to the U.S. with the aim of someday going back abroad as an international correspondent. As she built up a portfolio reporting metro from Boston and Hartford, she took Arabic lessons angling for a position in Cairo.
Instead, she was offered a position in the Post’s Southeast Asia bureau in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was 2002, in a critical moment for the rise of Islamic extremists groups in the region following the September 11 attacks and the start of the Iraq War. Her husband, Alan Sipress, a former correspondent in the Middle East whom she met through the Post, joined her in Jakarta.
“We had never thought about [going there], but we thought about it and said, ‘Hmm this could be interesting,’ ” Nakashima recalled.
It was an eventful four-year tour, during which Nakashima would frequently fly to the southern Philippines or Thailand to cover stories. At the same time, bird flu and fears of a SARS pandemic tore through the region. Then in 2004, Indonesia was hit with one of the deadliest recorded natural disasters, the Indian Ocean Earthquake.
“There was bird flu, SARs, the tsunami,” Nakashima remembered. “Wars, pestilence, and terrorism.
After her tour ended, Nakashima returned to the Post to report on privacy and technology, helping bring government programs of widespread surveillance into the mainstream. She currently resides in Washington D.C. with her Sipress,  the Post’s National News Editor, and their daughter.
She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2014 for reporting on widespread federal government surveillance programs and policy changes resulting from leaks by Edward Snowden. The relentless pace of news and the political climate, particularly under the Trump administration, has made journalism increasingly a team effort, Nakashima said. In the past year, often with colleagues Craig Miller and Adam Entous, she broke the story of the Russian government hack of the Democratic National Committee. She brought to light information on exchanges between officials of Russia and the Trump administration, including those that led to the forced resignation of Mike Flynn.
Nakashima said the Post’s edge over other news outlets comes from the strength of the relationships they’ve built over the years with senior sources. But with the increased use of anonymous sources comes a painstaking effort to ensure their accuracy. If one reporting team member picks up a tip, for instance, colleagues cast a wide net to double and triple check.
“You don’t want to risk getting something wrong, which would enable critics, the president, to say ‘You see, this is fake news,’ ” Nakashima said.  “You don’t want to fuel that type of criticism so we’re under intense pressure to corroborate information.”
In her contact with the White House while reporting on national security,  Nakashima noticed a definite change in the tone of interactions with the Trump White House, which is “so chaotic right now” with a number of competing factions and power centers.
Nevertheless, she’s optimistic about where journalism is headed compared to five or six years ago, buoyed by talented young reporters and, at the Post, the “shot of energy” from new owner Jeff Bezos.
“If you put all the stories together, it’s a pretty impressive body of investigative work of journalism,” Nakashima said, referring to the current news landscape. “We’re also doing the investigation at the same time as in fact the Hill is and the special counsel is, and I haven’t seen anything like that before.”
Nakashima will be honored at a reception in Berkeley on Oct. 14, and will be the keynote speaker at a Daily Californian alumni event Oct. 20 in Washington, D.C.

From the Archives: Journalists in Love

By Mahira Dayal, Development Staff

For some of us, The Daily Californian is a go-to source for independent reporting on anything Berkeley-related. For others, however, the Daily Cal is synonymous with love. For this special newsletter, we spoke to couples who met and fell in love while working at the Daily Cal.

In December, Sarita Henderson Smedberg, the first female editor in chief of the Daily Cal (summer of 1940), died at the age of 99. She had met her husband, Renwick Smedberg,when they both worked at the Daily Cal. The two were married for 75 years before Renwick died earlier in 2017 at 100 years old.

“She loved to tell the stories of her past. And, you know, she did a wonderful job of that,” said Laurel Smedberg Ludden, their youngest daughter. “So we enjoyed hearing all the stories of the people in her past, and it was a long past, so there was a lot for her to tell us about.”

This news inspired us to talk to other Daily Cal couples:

Don Lattin (‘76 reporter, night editor, editorial page editor and city editor) and Laura Thomas (‘74 reporter, assistant managing editor and staff representative)

How did you meet?

In the fall of 1973, Laura was just back from her junior year abroad in Italy. I was a sophomore. I was the night editor at the paper, responsible for getting the headlines written and working with the back shop to paste up the pages. (This was back in the typewriter days. The production was photo offset.)

We worked together and then were in a “lovers” relationship (we didn’t use the word “dating” anymore as that had become old-fashioned) for about six months before I took off for my junior year abroad in England in the fall of ’74. I got back from Europe about a year later. Meanwhile, Laura graduated and got her first job on the Davis Enterprise as the “society editor,” which seemed like a funny assignment for Laura the radical feminist.

What happened after?

We stayed in touch as friends, and both wound up marrying someone else for about 15 years. Laura had two daughters from that marriage. We both got divorced in the mid- to late-1990s, and revived our relationship when we both wound up working at the corner of Fifth and Mission streets in San Francisco — Laura as a copy editor at the San Francisco Examiner and me as the religion writer at the San Francisco Chronicle.

We got married in 2003, which proves that:
1) Old flames never die.
2) We have trouble meeting new people.
3) A combination of the two.

Did you have double bylines? What are the best/worst assignments you did together? 

Not at the Daily Cal. But we did have a blast working together for the Chronicle in Rome in 2005 when I was there covering the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the election of the new pontiff. Laura is fluent in Italian, and I was semi-fluent in the workings of the mysterious Vatican, so we were quite a team.

We didn’t really work on a story together, but we did have a somewhat infamous experience with the Patty Hearst kidnapping saga.

On the evening of Feb. 4, 1974, we were working at the paper and heard that there was some unusual police activity over on Benvenue Avenue near College Avenue. I sent a reporter over there, who came back and told me that it was just a “domestic dispute.” The cops and the Hearst family were trying to keep a lid on the story, which was not in the morning papers, supposedly to protect Patty, but the result was that that afternoon the Examiner broke the story. We wouldn’t have honored that agreement and could have been the ones to break the story.

The next morning, Laura was one of the first people in the newsroom when the AP wire machine rang five bells, indicating that a major story was about to come over the wire. So Laura and Dave Flores, the managing editor, were standing over the machine as it typed out “U-R-G-E-N-T … B-E-R-K-E-L-E-Y …”

We were standing there and saw the story come about Patricia Hearst, a sophomore at Cal being kidnapped from her apartment the night before. We were stunned and said, “Oh, shit.” We didn’t know that she was a student on campus, but we knew we missed a huge story.

How did the Daily Cal impact your relationship and marriage?

We caught the tail end of the whole ‘60s counterculture scene at Berkeley, which was really from 1964 to 1975, so that is part of our shared history. It also gives us something to argue about. It was the Daily Cal that launched both of our lifelong newspaper careers. Having just seen the movie, “The Post,” we were reminded about how lucky we are to have started out in the eraofWatergate, when journalists were heroes and newspapers were seen as beacons of truth — even when they weren’t.

Valerie Woolard (‘11 reporter, ASUC beat reporter, assistant university news editor, assistant development editor, opinion editor, blog editor) and Raj Srinivasan (‘11 arts reporter, assistant arts editor, arts editor, editor in chief)

How did you meet? 

We met when we were in high school, but we started dating in college and joined the Daily Cal at the same time shortly thereafter. I was a news reporter and Raj was an arts reporter. We got married in August 2016.

Did you have double bylines? What are the best/worst assignments you did together? 

I don’t think we ever had a double byline, but I went to lots of concerts and shows with Raj that he wrote about. I don’t think he ever got any fringe benefits from my news reporting. I was the ASUC reporter one semester, and he would stay in the office late into the night waiting for ASUC meetings to wrap up (which they sometimes didn’t until the next morning).

After finishing our work at the paper in the evenings, we liked to go to Nation’s Giant Hamburgers on University Avenue and order breakfast food (twoegger, eggs scrambled, no meat and toast for me).

I saw a lot of good theater as Raj’s plus-one. We also walked through some questionable neighborhoods late at night to get to concerts. We also had great times just hanging out at the office.

What happened next?

After UC Berkeley, I got a job in the Silicon Valley, and Raj went to law school at UC Davis. We saw each other most weekends, but then Raj transferred to the University of Chicago. After a year, I started graduate school in Chicago too, and we moved in together. From there, we moved to Los Angeles and then to Washington, DC.

How did the Daily Cal impact your relationship and marriage? 

We have a lot of fond memories of the Daily Cal and a lot of mutual friends that we met at the Daily Cal. Working there definitely made us closer.

Ellen (‘67 reporter) and David Newman (‘67 reporter, night editor, assistant city editor, editorial page editor and managing editor)

How did you meet? 

David was amazed that the newspaper showed up every day and wondered who could possibly be behind it. A friend, Jim Branson, was at the Daily Cal, so David joined in his second semester of sophomore year. Ellen transferred in from UCLA, and they met somewhere across the city desk.

“David was sort of snarky,” Ellen said. “All newspapers used to be snarky, and there was a tremendous amount of guy stuff going on — it was like a fraternity with words.” David’s first thought about Ellen, on the other hand, was that she was smart, a good writer and cute. They went to the movies for their first date.

Memories from the Daily Cal?

The cumulative experience, day after day, was crafting a product that was well-respected and well-known throughout the campus community.

Ellen had a car, and so she would drive down to the printer with the guys. “They were like, ‘No, turn left, turn right, turn left!’ ” she said. “I didn’t grow up with brothers, so I wasn’t used to their teasing.” Later on, someone accused David of favoritism editing her pieces, and she ended up taking a job filing and doing administrative work instead of writing, which she remembers as a terrible decision but the only feasible one at the time.

David got to edit work by Jann Wenner, the co-founderand publisher of Rolling Stone. He wrote at the Daily Cal under a pseudonym that initialled “LSD,” about the drug and music scene, which he moved right over to the Rolling Stone.

Even though the Daily Cal wasn’t independent at the time, normal reporting was thorough and unrestrained. They were not prevented from honestly reporting university matters, and they only remember being called out for specific — usually sexual — things and vocabulary.

Did you have double bylines? What are the best/worst assignments you did together? 

There were no double bylines, because David was an editor. There were some interesting things that happened on campus at the time. A faculty member’s wife wrote a letter to the editor about students hitting on the faculty member. It became a big story, and there were dozens of responses to the letter. There was also lots of Free Speech Movement coverage. There was no violence until after they graduated, but there were frequent demonstrations on campus.

What happened after?

David recently retired after 43 years as an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission. His work there included both consumer protection and antitrust investigations and cases. He appeared in court on a number of occasions.

Ellen went to journalism school and studied documentary film production. She did public relations work for the San Francisco Zoo, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and the San Francisco Design Center. She also does communications work for their synagogue, Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco. Ellen recently launched her travel and photography blog Hidden-inSite.

How did the Daily Cal impact you? 

Ellen and David do partnerships well — something they credit to the Daily Cal — which came in really handy later when David became president of their synagogue. They started a communications program through it and worked well editing it together.

They also do fun things related to journalism. The Daily Cal impacted them “in weird ways.” They once made a mock newspaper as a present for Ellen’s dad’s 80th birthday, in which they all wrote stories about him, and made a movie. They still have the mock newspaper.

“What I learned from the Daily Cal is all I ever really learned in college,” said David. “I learned to investigate, find out what facts really are and do something which is convincing but not strident. Law isn’t very different.”

“The Daily Cal and journalistic training is extremely important; it’s as important as training a doctor. Even though it might not feel that way, the world needs really good, honest journalists. Desperately,” said Ellen. David added: “One of the most critical issues, especially in American politics is that people don’t know how to tell whether something is true or not. Truth tests are different for different professions and journalism has a discipline for knowing whether something is true or not, and how to ask the right questions to know whether something is true.”