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October 23, 1986 - Image 26

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-23
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Hard at work: Producing
two weeks of 'Bloom
County' in one
marathon session-
without sleep

who drew "Li'l Abner," and Walt Kelly, the cre-
ator of "Pogo." Interestingly, while discussing
"Peanuts" at one point, Breathed mistakenly says
the name of one of his characters instead of "Char-
lie Brown." "Freudian slip," he mutters.
Frosty feelings: Of course there's another strip to
which "Bloom County" has always been compared.
From the first day the comic was syndicated, on
Dec. 8,1980, people began to call it a "Doonesbury"
clone. Clearly, there were strong resemblances
that went beyond a certain wise-ass sensibility: a
similar grouping of motley characters, a preoccu-
pation with contemporary absurdity,asimilar way
of drawing. And Breathed freely admits the influ-
ence: "I'm a child of the 'Doonesbury'era. It was the
only comic strip I had ever really read." At one
point, Trudeau and Breathed exchanged angry
letters over the parallels between their two car-
toons, and relations between the two cartoonists
remain frosty. But today the two strips are very
different. Breathed seems more interested in soci-
etal trends and values than political events and
figures, which he recognizes as Trudeau's fran-
chise: "Istillthinkhe'sthetopsatiristofany kindin
the country." Politically, says Breathed, "I float
around several miles above ev-
erything and flip-flop back and

forth. When I get letters on the
same cartoon accusing me of being
a reactionary and accusing me of
being a flaming liberal, then I con-
sider the cartoon a success."
Breathed never set out to be a
cartoonist. "I don't read the com-
ics page," he says. "I never real-
ly have. It never occurs to me." In
fact, Breathed had no specific ca-
reer ambitions as he grew up. Born
Guy Berkeley Breathed in Encino,
Calif.-"I haven't been called Guy
since I was four"-he was some-
what of a loner. An amateur herpe-
tologist as a kid, he says, "While
everybody wassmoking dope, Iwas
out wading up a bayou." When
Breathed was 15, his family moved
to Houston where "everything was
wholesome." Breathed doesn't
come from a funny family and he
JODY BOYMAN never was a class clown. "Don't,"
he says, "look for a performer in me."
As a student at the University of Texas in Aus-
tin, Breathed gravitated to the school newspaper.
Then an aspiring photographer-he graduated in
1979 with a bachelor's in photojournalism-he
sent his favorite picture to The Daily Texan with a
fictitious caption ("I have absolutely no respect for
the conventions of journalism") and, to his amaze-
ment, it ran. From then on he worked at a variety
of jobs, from columnist to editorial cartoonist, at
UT publications. Asa lark he started a comic strip,
"Academia Waltz," and it ended up running for
two years. "Cartoons were the most efficient way
of getting a point across and the easiest way to
distinguish a style," he remembers. And, even
though Breathed was, and is, a news junkie,
straight reporting was too confining: "It was al-
ways a constant frustration that reality was no-
where near as interesting as I could make it." A
college friend, Mark McKinnon, who now works as
campaign press secretary for Texas Gov. Mark
White, remembers that Breathed "wasn't one of
the gang. He came and went. He wasn't one who
would get on the bus and go to the party."
In "Academia Waltz," you can see Breathed's
style in the making-strongly drawn characters
and a pungent, opinionated sense of humor. The

ternships and Experiential Education,
about 1 in every 36 college students in-
terned as part of their academic training;
today that figure is 1 in 5. That growth is
due to the fact that internships profit both
employer and employed. Students check
out the real world while earning money or
credit or both; companies can reap energet-Sr
ic labor at low cost and scout promising
young talent before the competition does.
For years undergraduates have latched
on to trainee positions through professors
with contacts in the field. Increasingly,
however, colleges are formalizing these
contacts into networks that involve local
merchants, corporations and nonprofit in-
stitutions. Boston University, for example,
lists about 1,200 intern positions in every-
thingfrom advertisingtosocial services.
Blinding glamour: A semester spent in a
professional environment often helps a stu-
dent refine career plans. Many are blinded
by the alleged glamour of certain jobs; actu-
al work in their chosen fields can reveal the
grit beneath the gleam. "It means coming Hitting the jackpot: Pulitzer winner Marx
down to earth," says Prof. Terri Schultz-
Brooks, director of New York University's equalgrant. PepsiCo says that 70 percent of
intern committee. "They come out of it still qualified interns have been hired on full
in awe, but with much more realistic expec- time after graduation.
tations of what they're getting into." Some- Many sponsors do not pay their interns,
times they decide to stay away. "You may arguing that the jobs-which may provide
get into the office situation and say, 'This is critiques as well as responsibilities-are
not for me!' and you may decide to switch," valid learning experiences. Faculty super-
says Lynne J. Robbins, director of career visors often help analyze that experi-
planning and placement at NYU. "It's easi- ence, holding rap sessions throughout the
er to do it when you're a sophomore than semester so students can exchange war sto-
when you're a senior." ries. Other programs, like Berkeley's
A dazzling array of internships can also SCOPE (Survey of Career Options and Pro-
distinguish a student resume and add tech- fessions through Exploration), monitor
nical polish to a liberal-arts background. sponsors to make sure interns are doing
"There are a lot of people out there with substantive work and not running coffee
bachelor's degrees," says Gregg Dedrick, for the boss.
national college recruiting manager for Let the intern beware: not all intern-
PepsiCo. "It's a matter of what's going to be ships are what they're cracked up to be.
the edge for a student." Barbara Nash, who Many sponsors, in fact, treat their interns
spent the summer before her
senior year at BU working for
Salomon Brothers in New York
City, can attest to that edge. "I'
waspaid$7 an hour, butIwould
have paid them to get the job
there," says Nash, who was
hired after graduation by a
New York bank. "In this year's 6
job search I know that the in-
ternship helped open the door
for interviews."
PepsiCo, for one, is so satis-
fied with the recruitment bene-
fits of internships that it has
doubled the number of slots iny
the minority program it began
in 1983. This summer, 69 stu-
dents earned stipends of up to
$325 per week; exceptional
x work gets rewarded with a
$2,000 scholarship-plus the JACQUES M. CHENE'
intern's school receives an Making connections:Sean Lane with New York Mayor
OCTOBER 1986

as if they were indentured servants.
"There's a danger. A lot of companies want
to take advantage of free labor and have
students answer phones and do photocopy-
ing," warns NYU's Schultz-Brooks. "And
students are very vulnerable. They want to
do well and they don't wish to offend or
complain." The key when interviewing,
say the experts, is to make it clear you are
seeking to gain firsthand knowledge
through participation, not observation.
Noshooting:Take Berkeley'sSarahNelson
as a case in point. When she began a stint as
a production assistant for KGO-TV in San
Francisco, she expected to work at tape
editingandshootingonlocation. "Ihopedto
dazzle them once I got in but I made the
mistake of saying I had clerical experi-
ence,"says Nelson, who did little more than
act as a temporary secretary.
Brigid Dowdal, a BU communi-
cations major, reports that on
her first day in the news depart-
ment of a local television sta-
tion,alltheinterns wereherded
intoaroomandtold, "Youwon't
be doing much because you're a
peon and, by the way, congratu-
lations for getting the intern-
ship." Prohibited from touch-
ing any equipment because she
did not belong to the union,
Dowdal finally got her shot at
glory-and muffed it. Told to
feed a script into a TelePromp-
Ter, Dowdal didn't know how
but was afraid to say so. "The
copy just came out ... I mean it
just flew out and the top anchor
started yelling," remembers
-NEWSWEEK Dowdal. "It wasn't much fun."
Ed Koch Neither a dreary round of
NEWSWEEK ON CAMPUS 51

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