Alumni Spotlight: Anita Seline

By Mahira Dayal and Roy Kamineni, Development Staff

Anita Seline ’84 worked at the Daily Cal during all four years of her undergraduate career at Cal, majoring in English. She was editor in chief of the Daily Californian during her senior year. After graduating, she received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Anita worked at the Hartford Courant for eight years, where she met her husband,  Michael Remez. She then moved to Washington, D.C., where she recently hosted one of the Daily Cal’s 2017 East Coast alumni reunions in her home. Anita still does some writing and editing, but has channelled her time into volunteer work in the last several years. We caught up with her about her time at the Daily Cal and experiences through her career.

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What was your favorite part of working for the Daily Cal?

“It was so real — not goofing around and playing with journalism, it was real. Having been in the Daily Cal newsroom and then going to other newsrooms, it didn’t seem different at all . It was not amateur hour, people took their work seriously and that was inspirational! People were so careful, and so meticulous and took such pride in their work. There were so many smart people and everyone was so put together, which made an impression on me.”

What were the most exciting articles you worked on at the Daily Cal?

“When UC President David Saxon resigned, there was a big job search for who was going to be the new president. We broke the story about finalists for his successor. We scooped everyone, as I recall.

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day was not a state holiday or federal holiday when I was at the Daily Cal, and there was a movement to make it a campus holiday. I covered the activism pretty fiercely and the group prevailed and got the campus to recognize it as a campus holiday. Back in the ’80s this was considered a pretty big deal, certainly before Dr. King’s birthday became a federal holiday.

“Another great memory was the 1982 Big Game, which Cal won in the final seconds when the Stanford Band came on the field thinking the game was over. A few days later, the Stanford Daily replaced all the Daily Cal newspapers and put out a spoof Daily Cal that said that the play had been reversed and Stanford had actually won the game! That was something I’d never forget, I remember my friend Dan Woo, who was my predecessor as editor in chief, just looking at the newspapers like “oh no!” Hats off to the Stanford Daily for doing it, and for the fact that they could pull that off — it was quite impressive! We also grabbed of bunch of the fake papers and sold them.”

If you were to make a return to journalism, are there any subjects or themes you’d be interested in covering?

“It’s a tough world right now, and journalists are such reviled people — which shouldn’t be, because they do such important work. The work I see in the New York Times and Washington Post and different newspapers has such good stuff — it’s so impressive, I don’t know what I would cover if I went back right now, or if I’d fit into that world anymore. There’s definitely good work to be done in other ways!”

Can you talk a bit about your experience at the Hartford Courant?

“I started off in the bureau system and then worked my way up to cover City Hall. I was there a good eight years. Thinking about covering City Hall in Hartford and all the different characters, politicians and shenanigans that I’d seen all before at Berkeley and the Daily Cal — it was definitely familiar territory for me, which was good preparation.

Berkeley was, and still is, left-leaning.  Hartford had a similar political makeup. There were very similar types of issues, so covering those were definitely interesting!”

Do you have any advice for current Daily Cal staffers?

“I’m struck by how things have changed. It used to be ‘go out, report the story, come back, type it up and give it to your editor.’ These days it’s ‘go out, report the story, write a couple of emails, tweet something, post something on Instagram, make sure the YouTube channel is updated’ — I think you have to be really, really flexible and be ready to take on new things. You have to be ready to try different modes of communication, and I’ve am reminded  how much more complicated things have become, even though we have so many different ways of reaching people. Everyone wants to be reached in a different way and having to do it all is challenging, but also seems to be the thing that will give you the edge.

“The thing about the Daily Cal was that you can get really really wrapped up in it, to the point where people stopped focusing on school or dropped down to one class. That was actually never my goal, so I was a bit unusual in that respect! It’s important for the young adults working in the paper to strive for balance and not lose sight of getting a degree. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the feel of the place, the work and the camaraderie, but it’s important to remain balanced.”

After eight years in Hartford, Anita moved to Washington with her husband, Mike, who had been promoted to the Courant’s Washington bureau. Anita freelanced for numerous publications — including the San Francisco Chronicle — until their first child was born in 1994. Anita was an avid ballet dancer, and all three of her children followed in her slippers. Her older daughter, Marisa Remez, is a recent Princeton grad with a certificate in dance who hopes to go into arts and dance management and development.Her son, Nathaniel, is a dancer with the San Francisco Ballet. Her younger daughter, Elena, dances and is the visual content editor for her high school newspaper, the Wilson Beacon

These days, Anita is focused on an underlying mission of social action and social justice. She is active in her church, working on building relationships with different parts of Washington DC. She is a part of her local high school’s Diversity Task force, which introduced an Honors for All program for freshmen to close the achievement gap. She also fundraises for her local PTA and the Maryland Youth Ballet. She was also recently co-chaired the 50th anniversary gala for her local nursery school, raising $50,000 for a new playground and sending the existing one to Haiti. Anita says that she applies many of the skills she developed as a journalist — starting at the Daily Cal —  to the work she does for causes.

 

Dick Hafner: From Sproul Hall to vineyards

unnamedDick and Mary Hafner (center) with the Hafner Vineyard family and crew.

By Sanam Patel, Development Staff

Driving  a vintage flatbed truck between rows of grape vines, Dick Hafner ’50 might seem a world away from Sproul Hall, where he served as a university spokesperson from 1961-86, but his  Healdsburg ranch, grape cultivation and wine making are as much a part of the California story as Cal.

Hafner was one of the thousands of World War II veterans pursue a college degree after the war. Cal’s academic program was tough, and he described how he was lucky to earn a “Gentleman’s C.”

“That’s a phrase from out of the past,” he said. “A Gentleman’s C meant that they were people who just got C’s because they were busy being gentlemen — carrying on and having fun. They weren’t serious scholars, and they spent a lot of time pursuing social pursuits.”

When he was at the Daily Cal, Hafner worked his way up through multiple positions from freshman editor, to senior night editor, and eventually the editor in chief. “The Daily Cal  introduced me to the university and the ideas of the university at an intimate level. The other thing it did was that it really gave me a lot of my early journalism training.”

He met and married Mary Hagar, the daughter of Gerald and Ella Barrows Hagar. Her family resided in Berkeley for well over a century and was closely involved with the University. Mary died in 2017.

Hafner, 92, worked at the Oakland Tribune, the Hayward Daily Review and as a freelance reporter in Southeast Asia.

In 1961, he returned to the university as a public affairs officer. His relationships with the media, including the Daily Cal, were legendary. “Sometimes it was negatively, and many times positively,” he said. “We had battles over the editorials and their viewpoints. Occasionally, we had battles over news stories that we felt were inaccurate, as we were representing the administration.”

Political rallies were almost unheard of when Hafner was a student in comparison to the crowds they draw today. In 1949, his senior year, the Board of Regents ordered a loyalty oath from the faculty in response to perceived Communist threats. The loyalty oath essentially made faculty swear their allegiance to the state constitution and deny any support for organizations that wanted to subvert the U.S. government and its democratic structure. Rather than physically participating in these protests, Hafner reported on this issue and wrote anti-oath editorials. He particularly recalls the day the Board of Regents decided to not take action against those who refused to sign the oath. On this day, he recalled Regent Lawrence Mario Giannini standing up and banging of the table and saying to the Regents, “Gentlemen, the flags will fly in Moscow!”

“That was wonderful,” said Hafner. “Mr. Giannini was afraid the Communists would take over.” Giannini was the son of Bank of America founder A.P. Giannini.

Hafner reminisced about the memory of UC President Bob Sproul introducing the new football coach as an “SOB” which he then clarified to be “son of a bishop” to a crowded Greek Theater.

He also spoke with excitement about the card stunts organized by the Rally Committee in the football stadium. “Some of them got pretty complex,” he said, “They went to where they could have people change cards, which made horses gallop and ducks swim and things like that. It was pretty snazzy.”

Hafner also recalled the day President John F. Kennedy spoke at Charter Day.  “It filled most of the stadium except for a number of sections that the FBI closed off to prevent snipers.”

Hafner’s 51-year-old winery has become a California institution, with his sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughter actively involved.

He’s an Old Blue, but he keeps his distance. “I’m busy raising wine grapes in Sonoma County,” he said, “The vineyard is a long way from Sproul Plaza.”

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.”

Alumni Spotlight: Erin Allday

By Juan Rodriguez, Development Staff

Erin Allday, ‘96, started her career at The Daily Californian in 1992 as a general assignment reporter. During her four years, she spent time as University, News, and Managing Editors. Once Allday left the Daily Cal in ‘96, she bounced her way up the Bay Area media ladder, starting at the Napa Valley Register, then the Hayward Daily Review, and spent a few years at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat where she was part of a reporting team that won a George Polk Award for regional reporting in 2005 for a series of stories on outsourcing jobs from Santa Rosa to Penang, Malaysia. For the last decade, Erin Allday has been a health reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle covering infectious diseases, stem cells, neuroscience and consumer health topics such as fitness and nutrition. We caught up with Erin recently to discuss her project, “Last Men Standing” and to talk about her time as managing editor during the controversial Daily Cal endorsement of Proposition 209.       erinallday

Erin Allday ‘9, Courtesy of SF Chronicle

In March 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle published “The Last Men Standing,” a multi-part feature and documentary on the continuing struggle survivors of the AIDS epidemic still face in San Francisco. Allday’s longform narrative profile on the eight men was accompanied by the Chronicle’s first feature-length documentary. “The process was organic and it felt natural,” Allday explained. “It was initially set out to be a short film like the ones the Chronicle had made before. At first, there was only one filmmaker assigned to the project. Very early on we started to see that there was so much great material.”

The feature focuses on how San Francisco is ill-equipped to deal with survivors and lacks the infrastructure and support to help those still standing. With 6,000 gay men living with HIV or AIDS in San Francisco alone, Allday described selecting subjects for her story from the more than 50 people she spoke to as one of the challenges she faced, and how difficult it was to capture a life story that incorporates the right amount of personal history. She reflected that “It was hard finding a balance between present and past, incorporating both the exciting and the important” in her in-depth profiles of the eight men who have lived with AIDS for more than half of their lives.

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Profiles in “The Last Men Standing” highlight toxic effects of AIDS treatment, social isolation and psychological and economic struggles survivors are living with. Early on in the project, Allday discovered that working with videographers and filmmakers freed her up as a writer to weave a story and make the project big. While there were improvements by city health officials right when the feature was published, Allday reflected on the overall effect that the project had by emphasizing how the piece created a community of survivors and people who were affected by HIV or AIDS by giving people a voice and making sure they do not feel isolated. She said:

“When we would go to screenings or events and people would always come up to me and say that they are happy to see that they are not alone. “The Last Men Standing” was a way for them to see that they were not alone and come together to form a community.”

Allday explained that the project documents how survivors live with the feeling of being abandoned and forgotten. “The Last Men Standing” revealed this as a problem that people in the city should get behind, to renew the confidence surviving men lost in “a world they had given up on,” and generate support from the general public.

In response to a question about whether she planned to continue working with the AIDS population, Allday expressed that it had been a “luxury and privilege” to cover AIDS survivors. She had remained committed to the feature for more than two years by writing follow-up stories and attending screenings of the documentary. She is now planning to work on a project about stem cells, however, no other clues were given, which means we will have to watch out for that.

Following the election, as a health reporter, Allday commented, “It’s hard feeling motivated to write about topics other than what is being played out in national politics. There’s a sense of new journalism and what role we play as journalists. What’s going on in the national news gives us new meaning.”

We reflected back to Allday’s time at the Daily Cal. While she was Managing Editor in 1996, the 11-member editorial board of the Daily Cal voted six to five in favor of endorsing Proposition 209. Proposition 209 was a California ballot measure that, if passed, would eliminate state affirmative action programs that grant preferences to women and certain minorities. Allday remembers the editorial board as being very emotional with everyone having their own perspectives on each issue. “Although I was upset with what my colleagues had thought, it was a very important lesson, you have to put your personal opinions aside.”

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On November 4, when the endorsement was published, more than 23,000 copies of the paper were stolen off their racks. “After (the papers) were stolen, although I was upset that the editorial was posted, I was angry that people would steal and silence our voice and perspective,” explained Allday. Referencing an article she had published a week prior about how the campus was split on Prop 209., Allday reflected, “It was eye-opening that there was a silent majority. Even though there were a lot of protests in favor, there were also less vocal students who did not agree.”

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A few days later, on election day, a group of protesters rushed the Daily Cal offices and shredded pieces of the paper, throwing them off the balcony. Although Allday was not in the office at the time of the incident, she recollects that it was only a small group of fringe protestors, “We had big wooden doors in the lobby of the newsroom and it was the first time that I saw our front doors closed.” Allday does not remember it ever being scary or there being any real danger.

As our conversation came to a close, Allday explained that she stood by the Daily Cal during the controversial endorsements, although she did not fully support or agree with their stance. “It was good to learn these lessons early. (As a journalist) you have to keep your ethics in line, you have to be fair, you have to be balanced and you have to keep a level head,” Allday concluded reminiscently.