Though it's been over 20 years since I first stepped into the offices of the Daily Bruin, I continue to think of it, and the values and lessons I learned during my time on staff. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the world. Even with the arrival of vaccines, there remains uncertainty about when the pandemic will end and what our world will look like on the other side. I recall feeling the same sense of the unknown on a societal scale on Sept. 11, 2001. As others watched the events unfold in panic, our editors at the Bruin called us into the office and put us to work. We had a job to do: to investigate, to report information to our community, and to create a record both for ourselves and for others later looking back on what happened. We worked through the day and evening and published a special edition of the paper the next morning, one of our staff’s proudest achievements. The Bruin’s work that day forever solidified in my mind the critical importance of journalism, especially in times like these, when in the face of the unknown the demand and need for courageous investigation and accurate reporting is so high. It is why I and so many others, whether we stayed in journalism or not, still feel compelled to support the Daily Bruin and student journalism so many years later.
The Daily Bruin helped me grow in several personal ways. Perhaps most importantly, the Bruin helped me learn about leadership by allowing me to serve as editor-in-chief in my senior year. Those lessons were invaluable. This past year, I was appointed as the federal public defender for the Central District of California, which spans the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo. I manage a staff of over 210 people dedicated to defending people accused of crimes in federal court. Managing a staff of public defenders is not unlike managing a staff of journalists: both work tirelessly and relentlessly for the public interest. I think back to my days as the editor-in-chief to draw inspiration as I lead the Federal Public Defender’s Office through the challenges the pandemic has created to the representation of our clients.
I know, and love, that my story is not unique. The Daily Bruin has given so much to so many of us, and for that we are indebted to it. I’m looking forward to Oct. 16 when we get together for the Daily Bruin Alumni Network’s annual reunion both virtually and in person. I hope that you will attend so that we can catch up, celebrate journalism and the Daily Bruin’s legacy, and honor current Daily Bruin students with scholarships.
Hope to see you then,
Cuauhtemoc Ortega ’03
On behalf of the Board of The Daily Bruin Alumni Network
DBAN Reunion: Save the Date
Jocelyn Wang/Daily Bruin.
It’s been far too long since we’ve gathered our alumni ranks together, and we are working on a way to bring folks back to campus, safely, on Saturday, Oct. 16. We are planning a hybrid event with an opportunity to mingle on campus as well as tune in from further away. We will hear updates from the current staff and we are excited to honor Martin Kasindorf ’60 with our Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Martin is an inspiration to journalists across the country, with reporting experience spanning presidential campaigns and major court trials, international reporting and the Olympics, Hollywood and the White House. Martin served as editor-in-chief of the Daily Bruin in 1959-1960, and went on to serve in roles including Los Angeles bureau chief for Newsweek, Newsday and USA TODAY. A list of celebrities he interviewed runs to 700 names -- starting with President Harry S. Truman, whom he introduced to a Royce Hall audience in 1960.
Martin retired in 2007 after a wide-ranging 44-year career. An avid runner, he’s also run 26 marathons, including the elite Boston Marathon four times, inspired by his Olympic reporting experience. At 81, he still runs five days a week.
We hope you can join us as we celebrate Martin and reconnect with old friends. Look for an invitation and further details soon.
Light the SPARK
Summer is nearly behind us, and you may be asking, “Where are all my Daily Bruin Scholarship Fundraiser emails?” Don’t worry, the DBAN’s annual merit scholarship, in support of promising DB student-staffers pursuing careers in journalism and media, continues into our third year. Applications for the five scholarships of $2,000 each have been collected by UCLA Financial Aid, and now, it’s the turn of DB alumni to step up again and support the program.
This year, the annual $10,000 DBAN Scholarship Fundraiser will be an autumn sprint, in association with UCLA SPARK, the University’s crowdfunding platform. The 2021 DBAN Scholarship Fundraiser will take place from Oct. 18 through Nov. 18 via our own brand new online SPARK homepage, complete with video messages from our student-staffers, social media scaling capabilities, various levels of giving and a donors’ honor roll. Just in time for homecoming month and the 2021 DBAN Reunion!
Last year, in those challenging early months of the pandemic, Bruin alumni stepped up and raised almost $13,000 for the fund. The network’s first two Distinguished Alumni honorees, Cari Champion ’98 and Gary Knell ’75, led our first-ever donation matching challenges that helped put us well over the top. If you or your staff cohort would like to step up to the challenge this year, DBAN board members Robina Riccitiello ’84 and Lawrence Ma ’95 would love to hear from you.
Meet the Board
Our board ranks have grown, and we’re excited to have fresh perspectives to help us continue our work of connecting with students and each other. Interested in getting more involved? Contact Lawrence Ma ’95 at email@example.com.
Ken Peterson ’74
During his Daily Bruin days, Ken worked as co-city editor and co-led the opinion section, plus worked as a general assignment reporter. He then spent more than 15 years in newspaper journalism, including at the San Jose Mercury News, Monterey Herald, Carmel Pine Cone and Yuba City Daily Independent Herald. For the last three decades he’s been on the PR/communications team at Monterey Bay Aquarium, and public radio program host on the Monterey Peninsula for both a music program and a public affairs program. Ken shared in the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the staff of the Mercury News for coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake, and is a past Jeopardy! champion.
Kate Parkinson-Morgan ’14
Kate was the first digital managing editor and blog editor at the Daily Bruin. After graduation, she developed a love for audio while working at NPR's Morning Edition and NPR Music, and she went on to launch new shows at the podcasting start-up Gimlet. She recently moved from New York back to L.A., and now works as a senior audio producer for Pushkin Industries. Her most vivid DB memory is traveling around L.A. with a DB photographer to report on the city's deli culture and eating eight (!) different deli sandwiches in just two days. Ask her about her favorite!
To keep pace with the digital age, the Daily Bruin added a new section to its roster – Data & Graphics. This section was formed by merging the former data journalism blog The Stack and THE Graphics section with the hope to produce both aesthetic and informative data journalism. The idea to merge the section came from Editor-in-Chief Genesis Qu, who felt the Daily Bruin’s data journalism lacked visual appeal in comparison to other college newspapers’ data journalism departments. So, Genesis came up with the solution to merge The Stack with Graphics to overcome the shortcoming.
We wish Data & Graphics all the best and hope you all will keep an eye out for future content from this new section!
Critique the Paper
The current students love getting our feedback on the news they’re writing, photos they’re shooting and multimedia elements they’re creating. Please consider signing up to critique the paper. It’s an easy lift ꟷ just read the website one day and share your notes. And it’s a fun way to keep up with campus happenings. Sign up here.
Former PRIME art director Courtney Kan ’10, now projects editor for the Washington Post, joined in an Edward R. Murrow award for her work on the podcast, “Canary: The Washington Investigates,” which explores how two women banded together after one of them publicly came forward about her sexual assault. Courtney led the team to produce the award-winning podcast – which Apple Podcasts named as one of the best 2020 podcasts – and acted as art director.
Media company Condé Nast appointed Millie Tran ’11as vice president, content and strategy, in which she will work to improve the global readership experience for readers and advertisers. Previously, she worked as the chief product officer at the Texas Tribune.
Send Us Your News!
Have recent work or personal success to brag about? Email Sara Randazzo to be included in future newsletters.