A heartfelt letter to The Daily Cal

Dec. 2, 2020, 7:50 p.m.

Every year, esteemed independent student newspaper The Stanford Daily and other independent student newspaper The Daily Californian get together before Big Game for the Ink Bowl. What is the Ink Bowl? It is a spectacle of physical excellence; it is a triumphant return to the kind of athleticism that produces epic poems; it is a flag football game played between two student newspapers. 

Because they haven’t made flags long enough to play flag football socially distanced, we chose instead to hold a friendly online fundraising competition. And while The Stanford Daily put up a good fight, we must admit defeat to The Daily Californian. 

Typically the winner receives The Knife — an X-Acto knife taped to a particularly resolute wooden plank — but since we are all barred from entering buildings or touching things right now, we have agreed that the loser must publish an article celebrating the winner. So I, Charlie Curnin, Editor-In-Chief (or rather, someone pretending to be him), want to take a moment out of my very busy schedule of Editing-In-Chief to enlighten our readers of the various strengths of The Daily Californian, rival institution to us at The Daily. 

What’s so great about The Daily Californian anyways? Well, until we lost and I had to start writing this article, I was asking the very same question. First of all, The Daily Californian bows down to no one. They gained independence in 1971 after a nasty tizzy with Berkeley over an editorial, and in true Berkeley spirit, Daily Cal editors have maintained the right to get angry about whatever they want ever since. 

Secondly, The Daily Californian is… um… let’s check Wikipedia… owned by the Independent Berkeley Students Publishing Company, Inc.! And… they have 401 staff writers! (Wow!) Next year, The Daily Californian, founded in 1871, will turn 150! (The Stanford Daily was founded in 1892, so that makes The Cal sort of like our older sibling. Or weird uncle.) And, pre-COVID-19, The DC circulated 10,000 copies (that’s about one paper for every 3.5 students — good on DC for supporting half-students’ right to information!) every weekday.

Or, actually, every weekday except for Wednesday. Weird. So, thirdly, The Semi-Daily Californian is… uh… I’m scrolling down… a frequent victim of newspaper theft? Neato! In 2002 the mayor of Berkeley had 1,000 copies of The Daily Californian thrown out after they endorsed his opponent. A year later, 5,000 copies were stolen in protest of coverage of an athlete’s arrest. And, most incredibly, after endorsing a proposition that prohibited the state government from discriminating based on race, sex or ethnicity when hiring public employees, 23,000 copies were stolen and an effigy was burned in front of The DC’s office. Wow, The Daily Californian. I’m impressed. Even despite all that, your staff has always stood up for what they believed in.

(And afterwards, in an effort to gain back the community’s support, you started the nation’s first student sex column, which is still running today. Talk about making up.)

This is all to say that, while we may be enemies in football, we are friends in deed. And during these trying times, The Daily Californian has continued to uphold the same values — of freedom of information, of equity and inclusion, of untarnished truth  — that we at The Stanford Daily strive to embody.

But don’t forget: While you may keep The Knife… we got The Axe.

Contact Charlie Curnin at ccurnin ‘at’ stanford.edu. Contact the real authors at satire ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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