Julia Shapero ’21, third from left, with 2019-2020 news editors Marilyn Chavez-Martinez exp. ’22, Kate Nucci ’21, Sameera Pant exp. ’22, Martín Bilbao ’20 and David Gray ’21
When I first started at UCLA, I knew I wanted to find a place — one where I felt I belonged, where I could kill time between classes, where I could always find a friendly face. In a school of more than 40,000, it can be easy to feel lost. And my first quarter at UCLA, with no activities beyond class, I felt disconnected.
So, in my second quarter, I applied to the Daily Bruin with the hope that it could be that place for me. I had a rough start. My first story was an absolute trainwreck and I felt like the only person I knew was my editor. I even considered quitting.
Little by little, I began to feel more comfortable in the office. I started to enjoy spending an afternoon editing my article at the news desk, grabbing dinner with the other writers or watching “Spotlight” at a news social.
As an editor my sophomore and junior years, I spent endless hours in Kerckhoff Hall. Despite how much I complained to my roommates, I loved every second of it, even when it was 11 p.m. and I was trying to edit down a 4,000 word Regents recap for the late-run deadline (sorry Copy). I doubt I can ever get Wetzel’s Pretzels again without being reminded of all the bags of it I split with the other editors, as we lost track of time in that windowless office.
Even in a pandemic that turned the world upside down and sent us thousands of miles apart, the Daily Bruin was a connection to campus and normalcy. The Daily Bruin became that place I had searched for freshman year. I am forever grateful for the community that it has given me and will miss it dearly when I inevitably have to graduate in June.
Class of 2021
Julia is one of this year’s Daily Bruin Alumni Network scholars. She’s written and edited for the news, higher education and enterprise sections at The Bruin. Julia will attend Northwestern University in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in journalism.
The State of The Bruin
If all goes well, the Bruin will be back in Kerkhoff 118 this fall.
The Daily Bruin’s staff has adapted well to publishing remotely during the pandemic. Despite the separation, our journalists have worked diligently to report news that matters to the community and have expanded the paper’s digital presence. If local public health guidance allows, we hope to return to the office and ramp up the print schedule that was reduced during remote production.
All of us are excited to see the offices again, which were renovated while we were away. On behalf of the staff and many more Daily Bruin journalists who will use the office, thank you for making it happen through your donations for the Centennial Campaign.
The pandemic may have scattered our journalists all over the world, but it has not diminished the staff’s passion and commitment to deliver quality journalism to our community.
As the Bruin transitions to its 2021-2022 staff, our focus will be on improving our coverage of underrepresented communities and expanding our digital arsenal even further. In particular, the Daily Bruin’s Graphics section and the Stack, our data blog, will merge to become a new hub of data journalism. We are creating ever more multimedia projects and interactive content. Just as exciting, the Daily Bruin is now on TikTok.
Our financial status is stable but we are conservative about advertising revenues in the coming year because of the unpredictable business climate.
The Bruin will have a tough job next year: It will have to regain the institutional knowledge lost during remote work and connect with a community that, for the most part, has not picked up copies of our paper for over a year. Knowing the talent and passion of these journalists, however, I know we will persevere.
This spring quarter, the UCLA Communication department hosted the first-ever two-credit class for Daily Bruin staffers. The pilot class serves about 20 students who are current editors and features guest speakers every two weeks. The inaugural guest speakers included:
Jeong Park ’17, Sacramento Bee reporter and former Bruin managing editor
Kristie-Valerie Hoang ’20, associate distribution producer for special projects at Insider and former Bruin digital managing editor
Neil Bedi ’15, ProPublica investigative reporter and former Bruin photo editor
Tanner Walters ’18, alumni coordinator at Stanford University and former Bruin Editor-in-Chief
Love at the Daily Bruin
By Kari Lau
A love for advocacy tied the knot for alumni Narges Zohoury Dillon ’06 and Zac Dillon ’06.
Narges, a former Daily Bruin managing editor and Zac, a onetime slot editor, have been together since 2008 — a relationship sparked by their election advocacy. That year, the pair were involved in election activism in the San Francisco Bay Area, with Narges advocating against a state proposition that would have restricted abortion rights, while Zac advocated against Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. As the months rolled by, Narges and Zac began seeing each other more often because of their political involvements, developing romantic feelings for each other in the process — feelings that were never sparked during their time at UCLA.
Four years after they reconnected that election year, Narges and Zac got married and later had a daughter, Isla. The couple continue to be bonded by their passion for the greater good.
A philosophical core in Narges and Zac’s relationship is their interest in the world and how they can be a force for positive change. Narges said it was important to her that her partner be as connected with civil activism as she is.
“Our interest in the world has always been there,” she said, and trying to be “a force that uplifts people who are being marginalized.”
The couple hopes to instill 5-year-old Isla with their values. Narges said they have been teaching Isla the importance of community and how it expands beyond just family and friends. They have also been incorporating the word “helper” in their conversations, asking Isla how she can be of service to others.
Zac said their romantic relationship was also built on their familiarity with each other from their undergraduate years, though at the time it was a passive connection. Now, UCLA and The Bruin are some of the main pillars in their relationship. The couple even took their engagement photos at Royce Hall.
“The Daily Bruin was such a home base for me … and I think by extension now Zac is a piece of that, that is always with me,” Narges said.
Did you find love at The Bruin, or know someone who did? Email Sara Randazzo ’08 at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in a future newsletter.
Seeking New Board Members
We are looking for volunteers to help us continue the work of building our alumni network.
Since launching four years ago, we’ve worked to rally alumni around three core missions: networking, mentoring and scholarship. Together, we have raised more than $30,000 for scholarships and newsroom upgrades, presented alumni workshops for student-staffers, provided valuable editorial feedback through the alumni critique program, and kept the Bruin alumni diaspora connected through our newsletters, social media and reunions.
We’re now seeking more recruits to provide a burst of energy, perspective and skills to the work we do.
A big part of the Daily Bruin Alumni Network’s success is a credit to our current student-staffers, who help us stay connected to UCLA.
We’d like to thank Marilyn Chavez-Martinez exp. ’22, who had the innovative idea to get us on Instagram, helped edit our quarterly newsletters, and got incredible feedback from the staff to help our mentorship programs. Marilyn will be interning at NBC News in Los Angeles this summer and expects to graduate next year with a degree in English and minor in professional writing.
We are also welcoming our new outreach director Kari Lau exp. ’23, a rising third-year international development studies student and former assistant news editor of the features and student life beat.