The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 27, 2002 -10
The MichiganDaily: Turning 112 ears old and loving (almost) every minute of it.
ABOVE: Photo Editor David Katz looks over the Images on this p
CENTER: Bound volumes of The Daily fill the library in the Studei
Publications Building (photo by Jason Cooper/Daily). FAR RIGH
Associate Editorial Page Editor Zac Peskowitz and editorial boa
members Jason Pesick, Laura Platt, Garrett Lee and Howard Chi
about what issues the editorial page will address during the nex
at their twice weekly meeting yesterday.
What follows is the process of production for this
newspaper, occurring just 24 hours ago. Follow along as Staff
Reporter Tyler Boersen takes you inside The Daily.
A Daily news editor arrives to start collecting stories for the
next day's paper. Reporters come in and sign up for a story, or
they receive a call or e-mail from the dayside editor. Already,
the phone begins to ring with readers who were confused or
disappointed with something the Daily printed, or people call-
ing with news tips. "Normally the dayside is pretty calm to
start out -reading the newspaper, checking for faxes, having
breakfast. And then people start to come in, which is good
because it is really lonely when youpfirst get here," News Edi-
tor Elizabeth Kassab said.
Every writer, every editor, every page designer and every
advertising sales person at The Daily is a University student.
In addition to schoolwork and attempting to maintain a social
life, they put out a newspaper every day. Some people must
skip a few classes to make it work, and some skip classes alto-
gether. Some want to be journalists, though most probably
don't. Some love to write; others find it stressful. Some love
The Daily and want to spend every minute there; others wish
they never had to come in. And some forget there is a social
life outside The Daily, substituting the microcosm of Daily
barbecues, Daily parties and Daily bowling for the outside
world. For those so inclined, there are 'Daily Points' that tally
the release of sexual tension between two staff members.
Many of these embarrassing points are made public in the
annual "Jeopardy" edition written by (inebriated) senior
staffers on their last day, and thereby breaking all rules of jour-
But it seems that once someone has seen their name on a
story, worked a nightside and been to a few parties, an attach-
ment syndrome sets in with a sense of personal responsibility
to make sure the paper is always the best it can be. If a crime
occurs in Ann Arbor, a decision is made in the lawsuits chal-
lenging the use of race in University admissions or a rally is
being held on the Diag, reporters will set aside homework and
postpone dates so they can be in the building and out in the
community. None of it is done for the money, with reporters
making only about $5 per story or shift worked.
"It is a very worthwhile experience to get to know the Uni-
versity because I felt that before I started working here I want-
ed to belong to something," Staff Reporter Kylene Kiang said.
- Noon -,
The photo editor coordinates with each section to assign
tasks to the Daily's photographers. Arts stories are due, and
writers are asked to meet with the editors to discuss their
reviews. Most news and sports stories have been assigned
now, though almost no part of the paper has been produced
yet. Reporters stream in throughout the day, making calls and
doing research. The display staff is at work selling advertise-
ments, keeping The Daily free for everyone on campus.
The Daily is operated by the Board for Student Publications
but is independent of the University and completely funded by
its own revenue (thus accounting for financial troubles
throughout its history, including now). It has had editorial free-
dom since the very beginning - despite attempts by the Uni-
versity to silence it.
The Student Publications Building in which The Daily
resides was constructed in 1931 using revenue from the news-
paper. Ivy and various architectural accoutrements, shields and
peeling paint, cover the outside of the building. Inside, the
footprints of the more than 4,000 people who have worked in
the building are apparent on the worn steps. At the back of the
room, the old Associated Press wire machine is locked in a
small closet. On the other end, a library holds all 112 years of
Daily history, though many of the papers (especially 1965 and
1968) have become torn and tattered on the edges. On the first
floor, the dismantled printing press sits in disarray, and the
walls are plastered with 30 years of inside jokes.
-4:15 p.m. -
News staff gathers in the "Batcave" for story conference
and the editors begin to find out which stories are coming
together and which are falling apart. The wire stories for the
paper are chosen and stories are assigned to pages. Each story
requires two reads from editors, but it will get more later. The
editor in chief arrives to work for the night.
The photo staff selects pictures to go with the stories. They
use all digital equipment, making obsolete the Daily's film
Sept. 29, 2002 marks The Michigan Daily's 112th birthday.
Though much has happened since our beginning, our mis-
sion and our purpose remain the same: to provide the best
and most relevant news possible to the University community.
Every day, The Daily starts off as a blank collection of pages,
but by the end of the night is filled with stories from around
campus. Now it is time to tell our story.
Welcome to The Daily.
counters. Many Daily writers possess a sort of passion for the
newspaper in realizing its legacy. Eyes new to the building are
joining thousands of others that have looked intently across the
newsroom as they wrote about student politics and world
affairs. There is a sense of history that is present in the room,
from the front pages hanging on walls to the mysterious out-
line of a hand in an old obscure drawer. The question of whose
hand it is will probably linger forever as the remnant of a col-
lege experience long passed.
The Daily was lauded when nominated for a Pulitzer Prize
in 1967. It was harangued by Soviets and defended by Ameri-
cans on the floor of the U.N. Assembly in 1952. In 1924, a
Daily reporter interviewed Mahatma Gandhi on a beach near
Bombay, India. In 1956 The Daily was the only newspaper
inside of Little Rock Central High School as it was forcefully
integrated. And it turns out The Daily helped to propagate the
1969 "Paul is Dead" rumor about Beatle member Paul
Daily alums include playwright Arthur Miller, Students for
a Democratic Society co-founder Tom Hayden and ESPN's
Rich Eisen. They write for The New York Times, the Los
Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, the Detroit Free
Press and just about every other major publication. They write
for many small ones, too.
- 1 a.m. (when we are lucky) -
Lock. In one of the more recent innovations, the newspaper
is transmitted via File Transfer Protocol to the printer in
Grand Blanc. For double redundancy, the files are saved to a
disk and hand-carried to the printing shop, along with printed
proofs. Previously, pages had to be printed and pasted onto a
master sheet. Before that, the Daily had its own printing press.
Online editors arrive to update the website.
processing lab. The cameras are on par with professional pho-
tojournalists and cost from $3,000 - $5,000 each.
The phones that were new less than a year ago now have a
permanent crackle in the earpiece. All production, from writ-
ing to page design, occurs through the Daily's computer net-
work, yet the computers conveniently crash whenever people
forget to save their work.
"Maybe it doesn't like you," News Editor Jacquelyn Nixon
says as Staff Reporter Louie Meizlish reaches around back to
pull out the power cord on a computer.
"It doesn't,"he says.
The Daily always welcomes new reporters with no previous
experience, and must train writers in interview techniques and
production methods. This is done through the trial-by-fire
method of teaching journalism; they are simply tossed into the
mix and given bits of wisdom while they work through their
first stories. Most receive no formal training during school,
but many apply for and receive summer jobs and internships
to increase their skill level.
- 6 p.m. -
The editorial board meets on Mondays and Thursdays,
planning editorials for the entire week. A member proposes a
topic for the board to discuss and the members try to fit it into
Daily precedent. Each proposal must be passed by a simple
majority. Precedent is the guiding set of opinions the Daily
has observed throughout its 112 years.
Daily precedent "basically forms the personality and the
political opinions of the Daily," Editorial Page Editor Johanna
Hanink said. "I always say that we are bound to precedent but
not handcuffed, in that the Daily is always going to be against
the death penalty, is always going to support abortion rights, is
not going to want people oppressed by the Man."
Tension starts to build with the rush to finish stories and
pages. The power struggle over page dominance ensues.
Sometimes, controversy will set off an argument among staff
members and between staffs. Most times these are fiery, quick
andforgotten. Coverage of some late events does not come in
until after 9 p.m., resulting in hurried writers who feel the
pressure of deadlines. The managing editor for each section
must read every story and headline, looking for grammatical
errors and typos. Then the editor in chief reads the pages and
corrections are made.
Sometimes mistakes go unnoticed and it becomes a point of
great embarrassment and stress for the.editors.
"It feels bad because you don't want to make mistakes. We
are trying to shed any image ,of being a student paper and
therefore being less credible and less important. At the same
time, it is kind of serious because if people didn't care and
people didn't read then they wouldn't call in and tell you what
you were doing wrong," Editor in Chief Jon Schwartz said.
The system of The Daily fails, there is no doubt. There are
certainly minor mistakes in almost every paper, and there
always have been. Editors can end up debating the meaning
and missed meaning of a headline for hours.
- 11 p.m. -
There are only 10 to 15 people in the building now. Page
drawing is near completion. "Things are starting to get - 8 a.m. -
done," Kassab says. Papers are distributed to residence halls, and classroom
The building is quiet now as staffs work to finish the paper. buildings across campus. Soon, it all starts again.
It is almost haunting to remember-althe people who-have "Someone is always here,"y.Managing News Editor Lisa
been through the building and who once slept on couches and Koivu says about the Daily. It is always standing guard.
LEFT: Fine Arts Edtor Christine Lasek,
Film Editor Todd Weiser and Music
Editor Scott Serilla take a break from
their work to joke around on the Arts'