Today we’re highlighting alumnus Steven Brint, class of ‘73, who worked as a reporter, columnist, night editor, and city editor during his time at the Daily Cal:
Reporting for the Daily Cal during the early 1970s proved very involved, exciting, and sometimes dangerous. Mr. Brint reported on the chaotic Vietnam war protests at Cal. Due to the wide use of tear gas by policemen to disperse the crowds, the Daily Californian provided gas masks to the reporters so they could continue their coverage. He described the events as “exhilarating” because of their unpredictability. “It was like almost going into combat,” he said. The divisive issue split students and staff members: students pushed for the reconstitution of the University as an Anti-War University, while residents and teachers believed the students seemed “ungrateful for their education.”
On a lighter note, Mr. Brint worked during the Daily Cal’s transition to an independent entity. He remembers the newspaper having to do two things: first, that they would be responsible, and second, that they had the ability to operate independently. He remembers a rocky start filled with high costs of production and irresponsible leadership.
Overall, Mr. Brint believes Berkeley and the Daily Cal had an enormous impact on his life. Coming from suburban Kansas City, he describes the Berkeley experience as a shift from every day life in, “black and white to every day life in technicolor.” He attributes his effective writing skills to the Daily Cal, saying it helped him “make sentences crackle.”
Mr. Brint is currently working as a distinguished professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside. We look forward to staying in connection with him in the future, as his bravery and passion during his time at Berkeley perfectly embodies the Daily Cal alumni.
Here’s a little something from Ms. Hannah Shearer who worked as a Night Editor during the turbulent 1960s:
Before the emergence of the Internet, computers, and smartphones, our Daily Cal reporters like Ms. Shearer received the news fresh off the AP wire to be passed on to the Berkeley community. Covering such events as the JFK assassination and the Free Speech Movement with her colleagues proved difficult but a “good learning experience” she said, especially with regard to focusing on reporting unbiased, factual news.
Ms. Shearer was a very hard working member of the Daily Cal team, and is proud she was the first woman on the police beat. She “didn’t like being treated differently,” and she showed that in her reporting. “[Following my own path] gave me more confidence to do that after I graduated,” she said.
After television writing positions at Universal, NBC, and ABC. She has continued pioneering in the writing field, contributing to the groundbreaking Universal program Emergency. Ms. Shearer has continued her passion by teaching episodic writing classes at LMU to graduate students.
Here’s a bit about Alisha Vandenberg, Class of 2013, about her time at the Daily Californian:
“I had the privilege of working at the Daily Cal throughout my time in Berkeley, including a sleepless Spring 2012 as Assistant University News Editor. The paper was the highlight of my college experience — working at a frenetic pace alongside committed and brilliant writers. Some favorite memories include covering the Occupy protests and march from Berkeley to Oakland, watching the drama of ASUC elections play out, and learning to ask more difficult questions.
The Daily Cal brought me out of my comfort zone, forced me to challenge my assumptions, and has produced some incredibly talented journalists along the way. Seeing former Daily Cal staffers win Pulitzer Prizes has been awe-inspiring.”
Here’s Alisha (red dress, far right) with some of her Daily Cal crew members
Alisha and a teammate hard at work
Alisha is currently killing it as a Writing Program Manager at Amazon, and we look forward to staying connected with this impressive Daily Cal alum in the future!
Here’s a note from Mr. Peter Benjaminson, Class of ‘67, who helped cover the historic Free Speech Movement for the Daily Cal as it engulfed Berkeley:
“My favorite memory from Daily Cal days was when I was a reporter covering the Free Speech Movement in 1964. Campus police arrested several FSM leaders for exercising free speech on campus. Students infuriated by the arrest surrounded, and sat down around, the police car in which the arrestees were being transported to campus police HQ, causing the car to come to a halt in Sproul Plaza. Art Goldberg and other FSM leaders who hadn’t been arrested climbed onto the top of the car and began making speeches to the sit-downers, and to other students who were watching the proceedings.
As a Daily Cal reporter, I was covering the event. The sit-downers and the people on the car allowed me to make my way through them and climb onto the hood of the car, where I interviewed some of the people sitting there, including student Ann Lubar. I then returned to the office and contributed to the Daily Cal’s story about the event.
My daughter, Anne Benjaminson, was so inspired by this event that although we were living in New York City by that time, she enrolled at Berkeley, joined the Daily Cal as a reporter, and became Editor-in-Chief in Summer 2001 and University Editor in 2000-2001.”
Daily Cal reporter Peter Benjaminson (white shirt, glasses) pictured interviewing activist Ann Lubar (white dress, braids) – Art Goldberg is speaking into a microphone and is facing to the right
Mr. Benjaminson has gone on to publish many books, including his latest entitled The Story of Motown Illustrated New and Revised Edition (including a foreword by the nation’s top rock critic and fellow Berkeley alumnus, Greil Marcus) and Crazy Man, Crazy: The Life of Bill Haley (co-written with Bill Haley Jr.), which will be released this May.