Bowling, breakfasts and blunders: Reflections from Daily alums

Feb. 23, 2023, 5:20 p.m.

Since 1882, Daily staffers have been making a paper, but they have also been making memories. In this article, Daily members from the last 70 years share their favorite experiences with the paper. 

Pranks and hijinks

Adam Berns ’84 — Sports Editor and Editor of Cardinal Today 

I masterminded the “Fake Daily Cal” following “The Play.” After the infamous ending to the game, I got The Stanford Daily to fund my prank where we put approximately 12,000 fake papers on the Berkeley campus saying the NCAA had given the Big Game back to Stanford. I wrote the bulk of the paper in one night with fellow Daily staffer Mark Zeigler ’85 and then organized a team of Daily staffers to distribute on the Berkeley campus. The prank worked amazing well, aided by the fact that the Cal Berkeley paper was around eight hours late that day. The prank not only made national headlines at the time but to this day continues to receive press. It’s in the College Football Hall of Fame and recently was featured on ESPN. It’s been called by both Sports Illustrated and ESPN as one of the top three sports pranks of all time.

Gary Cavalli ’71 — Sports Editor

I was Sports Editor during a period of great political unrest on the campus. The week before the Big Game in 1968, The Daily ran an editorial entitled “Big Game Dying,” which was basically a sermon on how irrelevant sports was. No one gave me a heads up. It just appeared. So I was more than a little ticked off. The next day I ran a column in The Daily entitled “Big Game Living,” essentially defending college football and declaring the sports department’s independence from the rest of The Daily. The editors got the last laugh on me, though. The following day they ran a short note asking if I still wanted my paycheck.

Jon Sherman ’90 — Friday Columnist

I remember proposing to features editor Andy Berke ’90 that my photo change with each column I wrote. I still can’t believe he approved it. Photo editor Kai Keasey ’89 was a friend from high school and went all in on a photo shoot with multiple wardrobe changes. 

I can’t remember if I knew ahead of time what the subjects of my columns would be about or if I ended up with ideas based on the outfits I happened to have been wearing in the photos. Either way, it was worth the effort.

Jason Cole ’84 — Sports Editor

The week before the 1981 Big Game my friends and I built a 12 1/2-foot “football” to put under the finger of the statue of Father Junipero Serra on I-280 to make it look like he was a holder on field goals. The picture made the top half of The Daily. Fantastic fun, and I have a framed picture to this day.

A group of students in front of a football statue.
A framed picture of Jason Cole ’84, his friends and their prank. (Photo courtesy of Jason Cole).

Mistakes, lessons and challenges

Glenn Alford ’63 — Sports Editor

I wrote the headline for my advance on the 1961 Big Game: “95,000 to attend Big Game.” The next day, a fellow staffer pointed out that Stanford Stadium’s capacity was 90,000. Oops!

Bruce Handy ’81 — Arts Editor

I was Arts Editor in the fall of 1980 when John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Double Fantasy” album was released. I assigned a review to a pair of writers I knew who were going out, thinking it would be very clever to have a couple do a “he said, she said” review of a record that alternated songs between husband and wife. The writers hated the album (as did I) and turned in an eviscerating piece. But a few days before the review was scheduled to run, Lennon was shot. The writers begged me to can the review, or at least let them soften it, but I felt journalistic integrity required me to print it as is — after all, Lennon’s murder didn’t make “Double Fantasy” a better record. That was the decision of 22-year-old me; at the time I saw the world as more black and white than I do today. I think we did run a disclaimer saying the piece had been written before the shooting, but the writers still got a lot of blowback. Somehow, they forgave me.

Hugh West ’68 — Sports Reporter

In the days of a typeset paper, the Managing Editor would post a marked-up copy of the previous day’s issue on the main bulletin board, scolding us for what we’d done wrong. I’ll never forget the the big red letters screaming “NO MORE ALLITERATIVE HEADLINES!”

Patricia Fels ’75 — Features Editor and Columnist

In late fall quarter of ’74, I broke my foot while walking in Dr. Scholl’s sandals on the sloping walk that led down to the Quad. For the first week I was on crutches, waiting for my cast to dry. That same week, I was assigned a profile article on a professor’s class, so I hobbled to the Daily office to work on my article. I was used to being there at night when deadline pressures made the atmosphere exciting but tense. However, in the early afternoon, I realized, it was a pretty chill place to be. Bev, our amazing typesetter, was relaxed and cracking jokes; I’d never seen her that way! The section editors were just hanging out, having fun. It ended up being a compare-and-contrast story of The Daily office at two very different times of the day. I used that story in the high-school journalism classes I taught for many years to demonstrate that a determined reporter can create a story out of practically nothing, no matter what the obstacles are. Most importantly, I made my three hour deadline!

Alan Senze ’67 — Headline Editor

I enjoyed working on the Stanford Daily as a Headline Editor for Mike Roster ’67 JD ’70. I captured the essence of most articles successfully in succinct headlines. Unfortunately, I got a key headline wrong concerning a Proposition on the 1964 California ballot, and Mike was not amused! He was a great editor and never missed anything!

On the job

Ward McAfee ’61 — Paper Boy

In the late 1950s, I was The Daily’s only paper boy, delivering stacks to the Quad and bundles to residences and even off-campus to the Stanford Research Institute. Each day, rain or shine, I enjoyed seeing the beginning of a new day on the farm. As I had to be on the job at 4 a.m. each day, I was very well paid. I enjoyed that as well.

Camille de Campos ‘61 — Sports Photographer

It was the fall of 1957, pre-registration week, and somehow I found The Daily Shack. I asked to see the sports editor. I don’t recall if either was editor, but I met Steve Baffrey ’60 and Dick Barnes ’60. I, a 5’2 female freshman, announced that I was a sports photographer and proceeded to show them my portfolio of action shots. For the first home game of the year, I was on the field on my first assignment for The Stanford Daily.   

Judith Vollmar Torney-PurtaI ’59 — Radio Engineer

I worked for KZSU when it was associated with The Daily. I was the first female student who filled the role of Engineer at the station. That involved cueing up and playing recordings. On some programs, I was both the Engineer and the Announcer. I also read news stories, which I chose and edited from the teletype. 

Margie Freivogel ’71 — Editor in Chief

The country was fractured over Vietnam and civil rights. The campus was fractured as protesters broke windows. We at The Daily were exhausted — covering the action each night, then putting out the paper by dawn. Amidst the chaos, we forged a bond as we tried to make sense of a world turned upside down. We found our footing in vertiginous times. We found friendships that would last a lifetime.

John Freed ’77 — Vol. 170 Editor in Chief

One of my favorite memories is publishing The Daily’s first color photograph ever, in the last edition of my term as Editor in Chief on Jan. 28, 1977. My dear friend and Managing Editor, the late Dave Smith, chose the quote from Emerson: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

Chris Drake ’03 — Vol. 216-18 Contributing Writer

I remember the first time an article I wrote appeared on the front page and above the fold. I’ll never forget holding a copy of the paper and seeing the story I worked so hard to get just right. I felt proud that I had a hand in delivering what the editorial staff felt was newsworthy news. Thinking back on it now, it feels like a bygone era, with print newspapers fading away as they have since. Not knowing if I would ever write a front-pager again, I held onto that edition of the paper — and I still have it, carefully stashed away for safekeeping!

Vincent Ho ’93 — Vol. 202-205 Photo Editor

I remember being told this: “36-exposure roll of film costs a tiny fraction of what it takes to produce an issue of The Daily. Take the shots you need to get the right one.” We’d race back from football games and process one to two dozen rolls of film at a time in dunk tanks in the darkroom of the then publication building, the Storke Publications Building. We would then scour contact sheets with a loupe before making half-tones to do lay out by hand with our layout artist, Duran Alvarez. In the early ’90s, the transition to scanning film was particularly exciting — I sent digitized photos back via 14.4k modem with a Mac PowerBook from some NCAA championship events — that was cutting edge in those days.

J.T.S. Moore ’92 — Vol. 197-198 World & Nation co-editor, Vol. 197-198 and Vol. 196-199 Writer

I remember sitting in the super-neat central room of The Daily’s offices in the Storke Publications Building reading Associated Press wire stories on the green-screen computer terminal. Before the worldwide web, the ability to read wire news stories as they were filed was a rare experience. As co-editor of World & Nation section, I had access to the green-screened computer terminal and loved learning the news of the day before almost anyone else on campus. I would then select serious news stories and write irreverent headlines like: “Bush keeps mum about taxes, says, ‘Read My Hips.’”

John Coonrod ’73 — Vol . 156 Reporter and Photographer

I was in the darkroom the day the Palo Alto police raided the office and seized our negatives of anti-war protests. This led to a Supreme Court case.

A man with a camera in black and white.
John Coonrod ’73 with a camera. (Photo courtesy of John Coonrod)

Late nights

Rich Jaroslovsky ’75 — Vol. 165 Editor in Chief

During freshman year, we’d often finish work on the paper at around 3:00 a.m., drop it off at the printer in Menlo Park and go have breakfast at an all-night place on El Camino. Sometimes, though, we’d drop it at the printer and then hit the all-night bowling alley — and then go to breakfast. I don’t believe I made an awful lot of 8 a.m. classes that year. Or 9 a.m., come to think of it.

Lori Matsukawa ’78 — Reporter

One of our favorite rituals was going out for Jack Steak sandwiches after sending the paper to the printer. Jack in the Box was the only place open that late. It made the newsroom smell like greasy onion rings the next day. Pretty gross. 

Hall Daily ’73 — Section Editor, Managing Editor and Executive Editor

One of my favorite memories is playing night football under the streetlights in front of the Storke Publication Building and, of course, going bowling with backshop Bev after dropping off the paper at the printer at 2 a.m.

Michael Roster ’67 — Executive editor

We were located in “The Daily shack,” that is, a WWII Quonset hut. A year later, the palatial Storke Publications Building was built across the street. It was definitely a ramshackle operation, including the overhead heater that sounded like a jet engine taking off when it started. And across the street was the Stanford Press, which still used linotype machines and hot type. It published something like 10,000 print copies of The Daily every night on site. 

One of the early challenges when we became night editors was to go across the street to the printers and deal with Jack the foreman. Nothing was more terrifying then approaching the 11 p.m. deadline and wanting to make last minute changes in actual lines of type. Jack would truly snarl at us, indicating this was our very last chance.

Elna Tymes ’61 — Staff editor

My favorite memories involve putting The Daily to bed at night. We were in The Daily’s old home, a dilapidated shack across the alley from the printers who went on overtime at 11:18 p.m. There was always a mad rush out the door after 11 p.m. to get stories to the typesetters before they went on overtime.

Ashwin Ramaswami ’21 — Chief Technology Officer
I remember working with Do to file transfer protocol (FTP) into a server to edit The Stanford Daily WordPress website and thinking, “This is jank.” I shortly moved the code to version control under GitHub and have never looked back!

Daily community

Baldwin Lee ’92 — News Features Editor and Senior Staff Writer

Once a Daily staffer, always a Daily staffer. In 1991, while I was not writing for The Daily because I was a Residential Assistant, but the news editor knew I had a motorcycle when the Oakland Hills firestorms started. I immediately said yes, and drove The Daily photographer into the fires on my old Yamaha Seca. Pretty stupid of us, but we wanted to document what was happening, with homeowners on their roofs with hoses, trees catching blaze and fire growing all around. I had to tell The Daily photographer at least once, “Uh, don’t go away farther than five seconds from me again — we’re almost surrounded by fire.”

Another memory stands out to me. Back in 1989, when I was writing the lead article on the student takeover of University President Donald Kennedy’s office, we were still typing on green-screen terminals and manually laying out. Late at night as I was finishing the lede with the editors standing behind my shoulders waiting for this last piece — poof. A wisp of smoke, no more screen, article draft gone. We had to start over. I instantly sensed multiple editors behind me thinking, “Uh, young reporter, don’t freak out!” But we got that story out. We bonded during that stress, but I also remember one thing I was never afraid of — that I’d get pressure to see it the University’s way when all these students had been arrested. The editors always stood by me, and I felt no pressure to write anything but what we observed. I only later realized what a luxury that was, and what an independent institution The Daily is.  

A group of students in graduation outfits.
Baldwin Lee ‘92 and his friends at graduation. (Photo courtesy of Baldwin Lee)

Winston Shi ’16 — Vol. 245 Opinions Managing Editor

Shortly after graduation, I jotted down a joke article for my graduate school’s student newspaper where I just talked about how great Stanford was. It was a rousing success. The undergrads were so upset, they wouldn’t even put it in the print edition. About two years later, The Daily’s public relations team was feeling frisky and tweeted a screenshot of my article asking, “Why are you so obsessed with us?” I mentioned the tweet in passing to some Daily friends, figuring that I’d already been forgotten. But as it turns out, I never really left. 

Karen Springen ’83 — Editor-in-Chief

It’s impossible to pick one! More than any dorm, the Storke Publication Building was my Stanford home. The student editors there gave me my first assignment, an article on breakaway bollards. The building’s vending machine there gave me my beverage of choice, Tab. The 1 a.m. closing times gave me the greatest gift, lifelong friends. The entire experience gave me my two passion professions, journalist and journalism teacher. 

James (Jim) Madison ’53 — Vol. 123 Editor

My favorite Daily memory is the day my future wife of 60-plus years (now deceased) arranged my election as editor instead of her, because, as a journalism major, she preferred the job of managing editor. We celebrated the results that evening at our favorite make-out spot on campus.

Vlae Kershner ’76 — Vol. 169 Editor

A surprising one is how fondly I remember several members of the World War II classes who had worked for The Daily and remained helpful to the younglings. In general, they were friendly and had better manners than my generation of Boomers, but were more closed off and nursed private hurts. They sure could hold their liquor and celebrated the Cardinal by imbibing bloody marys at their tailgate before Big Game. They’re gone now, but thanks to The Daily I have a strong impression of the Greatest Generation.

Lisa Williams ’87 — Photographer

As a photographer for The Daily I was assigned to shoot a photo of two business school students who were training for the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. I treated it as any other assignment, and met Dave and Dan as they were going on a training ride. It turns out that I ended up dating Dan for over a year, which was a highlight of my time at Stanford.

Memorable stories

Stanley Gross ’57 — Vol. 131 Night Editor

I interviewed Dean of Students Don Winbigler for a Daily article and noticed the ashtray on his desk. Around the rim were the words: “non illegitimus carborundum,” meaning “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

Mike Vaska ’82 — Vol. 179 Co-Managing Editor

The archives say I wrote 44 articles over my two years with The Daily. Each was an adventure. From the big stage of national politics — I covered a speech by then presidential candidate Ronald Reagan and interviewed independent candidate John Anderson — to why the new bollards on campus were made of wood. 

But nothing compared to the big Storey House fire, which began when I saw some smoke while getting my mail. Soon the old wood structure of the all-female dorm was crackling as the fire began to consume decades of its history. I talked to an editor from The Daily and asked what to do, and they said something to the effect that “this is your big break” and go cover the story. It was an all day and into-the-evening adventure. If the editors were nervous that a cub reporter was not up to the task, they never let on. Many hours later, when we put the paper to bed, a huge headline over a picture of the blaze said “Fire Guts Storey House.” We reported that the six fire trucks were delayed in responding by those new wooden bollards I had previously written about. While the editors generously ran the story with my byline, it was a team effort with other reporters contributing. The front page also had wonderful reporting from Fran Miller ’82 on how the women from Storey House met with University President Richard Lyman and his wife. I often tell the young lawyers in my office that my Stanford Daily experience taught me to think and write fast, but it also inspired me to give the next generation the chance to run with a project, to have their own Storey House moment — much like the big break The Daily gave to me.

Bill Freivogel ’71 — Co-Editor

I have so many memories of The Daily: Delivering papers at dawn the morning after Kent State. A sheriff’s bus hurtling toward demonstrators near Wilbur. The smell of tear gas. Editorializing that the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) should leave campus, even as the ROTC building burned. The shock when gunshots wounded two conservatives. Police raiding The Daily photo lab leading to a fight for press freedom that lost in the Supreme Court but won in Congress. Publishing “Snitches and Oppression,” a radical’s op-ed screed urging protesters to beat conservative students — an op-ed we unfortunately published but which fortunately led to Daily independence. Most of all the good friends, many still journalists and still great friends. I’m married to one of them.

Jon Weisman ’89 — Sports Editor and Senior Staff Writer

In the biggest year for Stanford basketball since 1942, the Cardinal stunned No. 1 Arizona at Maples during my first week as Sports Editor in 1988. Immediately, beat writer Chris Fialko ’88 called the office and said, “We have to get the front page.” The news side didn’t realize at first how big a deal this was, but we got it. The sheer joy and energy of publishing Fialko’s front-page story remains unforgettable. I still have the photo that I lifted off the flat (kids, ask your parents) after it went to press. Amazing night.

Ralph Kostant ’72 — Editorial Board Member, Opinions Editor and Reporter

On Sunday night, Nov. 15, 1970, Felicity Barringer ’72 and I helped the Band foil an attempt by Cal Bears to steal the Axe. We captured three raiders. Our story appeared in The Daily on Nov. 17, 1970, entitled, “Skulkers Nab Ursi.”

Deena Weisberg ’03 — News Editor

I remember the night of the presidential election of 2000, where the race was called and then un-called and thrown into chaos. The Daily had actually been able to send our reporters to cover the story live from Bush’s and Gore’s campaign headquarters, so we were getting as much up-to-the-minute news as most major media outlets that night. I was in the newsroom until about 2 a.m., working with our Editor in Chief to try to coordinate the story from our reporters and figure out what to print. We had a different election website pulled up on every computer in the newsroom, but they were all contradicting each other, and the TV news wasn’t any better. Finally, we had to admit that we wouldn’t know the result before we had to go to print and ended up running a more accurate story than most newspapers the next day.

Fritz Stahr ’81 — Photographer

Back in our era, we celebrated a variety of events with fireworks over Lake Lag as it had water in it most of time. I covered that one night for The Daily with a fair amount of trepidation about getting a good shot, but some of my experiments with shutter speed and exposure — mostly manual then — worked out well and I got a front-page image out of that roll that I have in my scrap-book to this day! Another great memory was my photo coverage of the athletic department’s desire to make the “Griffins” the school mascot after the Trustees decided to drop the “Indians.” They found large, old griffin statues deep in the woods around the mausoleum, moved them to a prominent position in front of the athletic department, where they stayed until around 2005. By that time, it was apparent that the mascot was going to remain the color “Cardinal” for the foreseeable future. Clearly, they thought that would be a better option than the 1970’s student favorite: “Robber Barrons.”

Mary Kay Becker ’66 — News Editor and Night Editor

I remember holding down the fort an The Daily shack in Dec. 1964 to maintain contact with intrepid reporter (and future editor) Jon Roise ’67 and our brilliant photographer, Bruce Wilcox ’67, when they went to Berkeley to cover the Free Speech Movement demonstrations. They managed to climb to the top of a campus building to get the best possible view.

Erik Hill ’79 — Photo Editor and Photographer

One day in May of 1979, my senior year, a request came in to photograph a concert to be performed by violinist Mark Gottlieb and his sister Karen — underwater in deGuerre Pool. Some combination of photo staffers Lex Passaris ’79, Jim “Spiro” Spirakis ’79, Dave Bockian ’79 and others decided I was the obvious choice for the assignment. Someone loaned me a Nikonos camera, I received a quick tutorial, and the next day found me swim trunks for the pool. Gottlieb, a graduate student, strapped on scuba gear and plunged in, as did his keyboard accompanist. They played submerged, cables connected to audio equipment on the pool deck for audience enjoyment. I got a few frames, dried off, and headed to the darkroom. As the Monty Python sketch troupe was popular at the time, and their “Fish License” bit featured a pet named “Eric the Fish,” my photo in the May 29, 1979 paper was credited “Daily underwater photo by Erik ‘the fish’ Hill.” Obvious choice.

Two musicians play underwater in a newspaper photo.
The photo taken by Erik “the fish” Hill ’79. (Photo courtesy of Erik Hill).

Susan Heilmann Miller ’66 — Copy Editor and Features Editor

I transferred my junior year after graduating from community college. Since high school, I’d been working at my local paper part-time during the school year, full-time over the summers. My first quarter at Stanford, I did a student survey for an anthropology class, asking men what they thought of Stanford women and what they thought Stanford women thought of Stanford men. I turned the responses into a four-part series for The Daily that ran every day on the front page. Managing editor Jim Briscoe said, “Not bad for a cub reporter.” I just smiled.

Barbara Louchard (Ritz) ’70 — Assistant Editorial Page Editor

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview and travel to the airport with the folk group, Peter, Paul and Mary, when they performed at Frost Amphitheater, donating their performance to the Eugene McCarthy presidential campaign. Diarmuid McGuire handed me this incredible gift. I was assistant editorial page editor, and I was awestruck at this opportunity he gave to me. I had worshipped this group, as did so many, since high school. They were likely exhausted after their performance, but theu were very kind towards me. Paul was very charming and friendly. He said he would send me old copies of the Village Voice. After the piece was published, I sent him a copy of the interview and received in short notice a letter from him and the promised copies of the Village Voice.

A young woman in a black and white photo.
A photo of Barbara Ritz ’70 during her college days. (Photo courtesy of Barbara Ritz)

Robert Siegel ’73 — Consumer Affairs Reporter

In the spring of 1973, sunny afternoons brought a sky filled with a deep orange haze, caused by thousands of cars traveling 101. I wrote a Daily article questioning why American car companies were resisting new environmental legislation that imposed pollution standards on vehicle emissions. Meanwhile, Japanese companies had already developed new, more efficient and less polluting engines. Fifty years later, I still vividly remember using the ubiquitous yellow paper on large (and manual) Smith Corona typewriters. The editors were always wonderfully helpful.

David Georgette ’78 — Co-Sports Editor.

In early Feb. 1977, I was able to experience the adventure of hitting the “Oregon Trail” when sports editors Chris Baker ’77, Paul Bauman ’77 and his girlfriend invited me to accompany them on their drive to the Willamette Valley to cover the Stanford men’s basketball team’s Friday and Saturday night games at Oregon and Oregon State.

Hal Hughes ’69, JD ’72 — Feature Writer and Reporter

As a writer for The Daily, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview, report on and visit with author Richard Armour, who wrote “It All Started With Columbus.” I also interviewed future astronaut Sally Ride.

Rod Koon ’74 — Reporter

I enjoyed writing for The Daily, especially concert reviews. One of the most memorable was a review of what was to be a Stephen Stills and Manassas concert at Winterland in Oct. 1970. It eventually turned into a full-blown Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion. Sadly, I only had two rolls of film and shot it all early in the concert — so I had none left when Crosby, Nash and Young joined Stills on stage. Lesson learned: always pack more film than you think you’ll ever need!

These submissions were lightly edited for concision and clarity.

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