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October 19, 1990 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


The Michigan Daily Centennial Edition-- Friday, October 19,1990- Page 5

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roducti*on of the Dai*ly

by Andrew Gottesman
and Christine Kloostra
Despite popular belief, The
Michigan Daily doesn't arrive at the
MLB or your residence hall with a
burst of lightning and blessings from
the Great Liberal in the Sky.
Actually, lots of work goes into
the paper by the liberals at 420
Maynard, who are pretty similar to
that Sky Guy.
At 9 a.m. - or noon, depending
upon their sleeping habits or class
schedule - a news editor arrives for
"dayside" bright-eyed and bushy-
tailed, ready for a full day of open-
ing mail, remembering to turn on the
Associated Press machine, assigning
stories, and taking long lunch
Sounds easy? Not always.
Reporters have tests and classes
and can't always cover stories.
Readers call to tell us we omitted
their event from The List, made a fa-

tal mistake, or request coverage of a
frog pizza-eating contest on the Diag
to raise funds for the impoverished
penguins of the Sahara. Well, maybe
it's not that bad.
Sometime around noon, the arts
staff begins its day. What the hell
does arts do here for seven hours? A
question we've often asked our-
selves too.
Actually, they do a great deal and
meet some of the weirdest people
around. Their afternoon is spent
calling artsy-type people to set up
interviews as well as getting books
and records to review.
Arts editors begin editing all
those book and record reviews
around 2 p.m., and spend the rest of
their time designing layout and
creating Elvis advertisements.
Around three in the afternoon,
the opinion editor saunters in to the
building to begin a grueling after-
noon of typing in letters to the editor

and "rightsides," as well as writing
or editing "leftsides."
The Daily reaches its peak ca-
pacity - and largest number of non-
liberals - an hour later when the
sports staff arrives. From 4 p.m. until
about 9 p.m., sports staffers layout
their pages and edit stories in be-
tween discussing the latest game or
controversy. They also attempt to
outrage the rest of the staff as much
as possible by ordering dinner only
for themselves.
Story conference - which has
been known to last weeks - entails
summarizing stories - by Daily
writers or the Associated Press -
and determining what will go where
on the pages.
Layouts are made, reporters
pound away at computer keyboards,
phones ring, and chaos reigns.
But from that chaos a newspaper
is born. Each and every day for the
past one hundred years.

Three Daily news staffers begin the "nightside" with story conference. At 4:15 each day, editors and staffers
meet in story conference to determine which stories will be printed in the paper and where.


""iiaiy broke polio vaccine storyj r' .

Continued from page 1
Marks said he had requested that
he be put on a specially created,
temporary medical beat in order to
stay abreast of the polio vaccine
On April 12, the press conference
.began at 9 a.m. The Daily had
written two headlines the night be-
fore - one stating that the vaccine
worked and one announcing it had
failed. As soon as the press releases
were being handed out, Marks
t dashed to Hill Auditorium's phone
booth and dictated the news of the
*vaccime's success to an awaiting
\staffer at the Student Publication's
Building. Within 30 minutes, the
extra edition of The Daily had hit the
streets with the astounding news.
"The whole world was looking at
the U of M at that moment," Marks
One of the goals of the Daily
during the fifties was to compete
with the national newspapers, said
[im Elsman, a 1958 graduate. Sub-
scribing to this view, Elsman was:
more than zealous in his coverage of
breaking news. He wanted to be an
eyewitness at the scene of the story,
even if the story was in Little Rock,
On September 27, 1957, Elsman
was the only reporter to get inside
the newly-integrated Central High
School in Little Rock. Though
*combat-ready troops of the 101st
Airborne Division were stationed in
or near the high school, Elsman used
a borrowed library card to enter the
Posing as a student, he arrived at
8:45 am to observe the first inte-
grated classroom at Central High
School. Elsman wrote, "Ironically,
this was a history class. But while
these student were studying history,
they were also making it".
Two seats away from Elsman sat
Jefferson Thomas, one of the "Brave
Nine" Black students attending Cen-
tral High for the first time. Elsman

asked Thomas two questions:
"Have any trouble today?"
"No sir."
"Expect any trouble any more?"
"I don't expect any."
Elsman snapped a picture of Jef-
ferson studying his textbook. The
click of his camera caught the
teacher's attention. He was promptly
sent to see the principal and subse-
quently arrested.
The press swarmed around Els-
man as he exited the school. ABC
News correspondent Howard K.
Smith asked him about the condi-
tions inside the school and Time-
Life magazine later bought the photo
"sight unseen- after bidding a top
price of $200 on condition they mail
The Daily a print immediately."
Though the photo never turned out,
Elsman used the cash to finance his
When asked about his motivation
for such a daring assignment, Els-
man declared, "I was a kickass Daily
reporter and I wasn't scared."
Elsman encouraged other staffers
to be as intrepid as he was. "I tried
to inspire the young cubs to dig out
the news and make us a national
newspaper by creatively traveling
and doing a better job than the other
Hunger for news led Elsman and
fellow reporter Barton Huthwaite to
Cuba in the spring of 1958 in an at-
tempt to get an interview with rebel
leader Fidel Castro.
They first flew to Miami. There
they "rescued" an "old, rich man
preyed upon by prostitutes" who
gave them $400 in return. The un-
expected reward paid for their flights
to Havana and then to Santiago.
Before they had a chance to travel
to the Sierra Maestra mountains to
contact Castro, Elsman and Huth-
waite were the first reporters arrested
at machine gunpoint by the Cuban
government in the government's at-
tempt to ban the press from Santi-;

"When that machine gun stared
me in the face, I thought I was
gonna die," Elsman reflected.
He said Cuban dictator Fulgencio
Batista's secret police incarcerated
them in the same jail Castro had
been put in during an abortive coup.
There was "blood on the drain," he
Elsman and Huthwaite were
kicked out of Santiago and put on a
government plane to Havana. There
they placed a call to the Detroit
News who paid them $200 for a
front-page story about Batista's jail.
Despite the threat to his life,
Elsman found his face-to-face con-
frontation with the Cuban military,
one of the "most exciting" experi-
ences of his life.
Like Elsman, Jenny Stiller, who
graduated in 1970, volunteered to
sacrifice three weeks of school'
school year to cover a story.
Stiller was the only college re-
porter with credentials to cover the
Chicago Seven trial of seven ac-
tivists who were charged with cross-
ing state lines to incite a riot at the
1968 Democratic Convention. She
was issued a special pass by Judge
Julias Hoffman.
"It was like a job," explained
Stiller. Each morning she would
leave her friends' apartment in Hyde
Park and take the Illinois Central
Railroad to the courthouse. At the
end of the day, she would call her
story in to the Daily and await the
next day of testimony.
Stiller felt compelled to cover the
Chicago Seven trial because it was
of "passionate personal interest to
everyone on campus." Many stu-
dents at the University were from
Chicago and Tom Hayden, one of
the defendants, was a former editor of
The Michigan Daily.
"It was kind of an ego trip," said
Stiller, who still keeps her note-
books from the trial in her attic.

On Tuesday, April 12, 1955, the Daily was the world's first news source to report Dr. Jonas Salk's breakthrough
polio vaccine in an "extra" edition.


Free-drop saves newspaper

Continued from page 1
pointed out that free drop would
increase circulation, attract more
advertisements, and bring in more
Although the business staff
largely supported the change, the edi-
torial staff was not as positive about
the idea. The edit staff believed the
switch from a six-day to a five-day
3 nnn..A .nnil ... n..a..n ra f .ar

if the paper was going to become
free drop. Her budget showed that a
six day free-drop paper would cost
$32,000 more than a five day paper.

'At a certain point our
pride was hurt a lot,
but we realized that
the Daily was in
financial trouble. We
accepted it, not
happily, but we did'

many students were away from
Staffers and editors who worked
for the Daily at the time of the
change agree there were various rea-
sons for the decreased readership.
"The Daily of the 70s had lots of
energy left from the 60s but gradu-
ally this subsided," Miller said.
"Students weren't as interested in
writing for the Daily and the Daily
didn't have the Tom Haydens and
(Pulitzer Prize winner) Dan Biddles




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