Courtesy of SU Archives

Courtesy of SU Archives

1909 Daily Orange staff

Stephen Cohen ’99 showed up at The Daily Orange office during his second week on campus. He was eager for some hands-on reporting experience and was assigned to write about the new dining hall in the Brewster/Boland complex. Not exactly front-page material, but hey, he was a freshman. And for an enthusiastic budding journalist, news is news. Cohen gave the story his best shot and turned it in to his editor, feeling a mixture of pride and nervousness. “He read what I submitted and said to me, ‘This is crap,’” recalls Cohen, who now writes about the securities industry for Bloomberg News, a multimedia business communication company in New York City. Taken aback by the bluntness of that early criticism, Cohen quickly recovered enough to ask, “So how do I make it better?” His willingness to learn earned him an apprenticeship in reporting and writing that he describes as “very nurturing,” and he launched a career with Syracuse University’s student-run daily newspaper that lasted throughout his four years, eventually encompassing positions as copy editor and editorial page editor. “The paper taught me a lot,” Cohen says. “Working there was an amazing experience.”

For Jennifer Kronstain ’92, working at the newspaper provided a solid foundation for meeting the challenges of managing a business. “There we were at age 19, 20, or 21, running a newspaper,” says the former D.O. staff writer, editorial page editor, and board member who now owns and operates a Philadelphia-based editorial consultancy and publicity firm. “For better or worse, we made decisions every day that affected the success and future of the business. That’s when the real learning happens.” Kronstain says the D.O. provided the “groundwork” for her career. “It was all-encompassing,” she says. Not only did she get the practical writing and managerial experience of working at a newspaper, but she also participated regularly in a decision-making process that helped determine the paper’s longevity. “It was one of the most valuable experiences of my life,” she says, “one I consistently draw on.”

Courtesy of SU Archives

Robert Shogan ’51, former D.O. managing editor, works at his desk. The keynote speaker at the D.O. centennial celebration, Shogan is an author and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins who retired from full-time work in 1999.

It’s been more than 25 years since Budd Bailey ’77 was a member of the D.O. staff. Now a sports copy editor for the Buffalo News and author of a book about the Buffalo Sabres, Bailey, too, counts his D.O. training as an important step in his career, offering precious lessons beyond those that helped him become a better sports reporter and writer. “I learned a lot about time management by juggling my work at the D.O. while going to school,” he says. But what Bailey values even more than the educational benefits of his D.O. work is the quality of the relationships he established with his colleagues there—friendships that are still strong today. “For many of us, the D.O. was like a second home, and the people there were our extended family,” he says.

Cohen, Kronstain, and Bailey were among the alumni who gathered on campus this fall to mark the 100th anniversary of The Daily Orange—an institution that has contributed to Syracuse’s superior reputation for journalism education and has helped shape and share the University’s story through the impassioned voices of generations of students. A September celebration hosted by the Daily Orange Alumni Association featured panel discussions, a dinner gala, and a keynote address by Robert Shogan ’51, a former D.O. managing editor and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the School of Journalism (now known as the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications). Also in honor of the anniversary, the alumni association collaborated with the current D.O. staff to create a souvenir journal and produce a commemorative section in the September 19 issue of the paper. “The anniversary presented an opportunity to come together and celebrate the paper and all it has done for us,” says Cohen, who serves as president of the alumni association, which he was instrumental in establishing. “Many people owe a great deal to this institution. It’s very special.”

Courtesy of SU Archives
Jennifer Waddell ’98, left, Meredith Goldstein ’99, and Mickey Rogers ’98 add a headline to a designed page.

Who, What, When, Where, Why
A lot has happened in 100 years—at Syracuse University, and in the rest of the world—and The Daily Orange was there chronicling it. A sampling of headlines from the past century reveals stories ranging from lightweight and sometimes silly accounts of campus life to influential world events. Among The Daily Orange’s first editorial messages, for example, was “Don’t hit other students when playing golf on campus.” There are tales of sports victories and disappointments (1987: “Syracuse Rejoices”; 1998: “McNabb Walks”; 2003: “A Season to Remember”), and coverage of two world wars, the civil rights movement, and the September 11 terrorist attacks. Somewhere in the middle of all that, on the black-and-white newsprint of The Daily Orange, the history of a University, a nation, and a world unfolded. It was portrayed through news, sports, and lifestyle stories; editorial cartoons; and opinion columns. It was hammered out on hefty black typewriters, dictated from parking-lot pay phones, and shared silently and immediately via the Internet. And every carefully chosen word, well-crafted paragraph, evocative photo, and controversial sketch was conceived, discussed, created, and shared by Syracuse University students with a passion for journalism.

Courtesy of SU Archives

Editorial cartoons have been a staple of The Daily Orange for years. This one is by Frank Cammuso ’87, now an editorial cartoonist at The Post-Standard in Syracuse.

The paper’s first issue hit the streets on September 15, 1903, replacing its forerunner, The University Herald. From the start, SU’s student-run daily began setting the standard for other college newspapers by being the first in the nation to feature cartoons. In 1939, The Daily Orange’s Elizabeth Donnelly gained widespread attention as one of the country’s first female college newspaper editors. Ironically, less than a decade before, the paper had featured a story that declared college a waste of time for women: “For an average girl who intends to make marriage her chief business, to waste four precious years that ought to be devoted to romantic adventure seems tragic.”

Robert Shogan attended SU in the years following World War II, during what he refers to as “a special time.” “The campus was dominated by veterans who brought a sense of purpose and maturity to campus,” says Shogan, who has covered the Washington political scene for Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times and was page-one editor for The Wall Street Journal. “I was fortunate to know and work with them at The Daily Orange, where nearly all the senior editors were veterans.” A member of the Time magazine-dubbed “Silent Generation,” Shogan recalls that most of his fellow students were fairly conservative and had little interest in politics or world events. Even so, the D.O. pages from the late 1940s reflect on such weighty issues as war in Korea and the activities of liberal activist Irving Feiner, who Shogan says was arrested for disorderly conduct and expelled from the University after making a public speech criticizing local politicians as “champagne-sipping bums.” In his weekly D.O. column, “The Ivy Tower,” Shogan protested the expulsion. Feiner went on to appeal his arrest on First Amendment grounds, and his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in a landmark decision. “But make no mistake,” Shogan says, “campus life—and The Daily Orange—were not all that serious. We were much preoccupied with football.”

Courtesy of SU Archives

1962 editorial staff

By contrast, students in the early 1970s saw the D.O. as a powerful vehicle for creating change in what they considered to be a troubled world. “I always wanted to be a journalist—since the womb,” says Barbara Beck ’73. “And the reasons are simple: I could save the world and humankind, raise awareness of every important issue in the Western hemisphere, impact public policy, stop the war in Vietnam, and elevate women’s issues. I was 18 and really believed it.” A newspaper reporter and editor for 25 years, Beck is now a public affairs officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts. She recalls that the D.O. staff covered the Vietnam war protests, sending a reporter to an anti-war rally in Chicago. The staff also published stories that painted the University in an unflattering light, believing it was their obligation as journalists to reveal the unflinching truth, regardless of the risk. “We reported on what we considered bad tenure decisions,” Beck says. “We criticized the architectural designs for a proposed student union for which there were no funds anyway. That D.O. office was my classroom. It taught me you can have a ball and still publish a highly professional, ethical newspaper. Every day I learned something about good writing and effective leadership from other D.O. staff members. They were great friends and wonderful teachers.”


Courtesy of SU Archives

Former art director Sean Murray ’98 inks his pen while working on a sketch.


Beck was named managing editor when The Daily Orange became independent of the University in 1971. Clashes between the School of Journalism and the had come to a head that spring, in a disagreement over who should be editor. In October, unhappy with the paper’s content, the University threatened to cut funding to the D.O., eventually offering a choice: “The journalism school chooses the editor and funds the paper, or the University ends the subsidy,” Beck recalls. The staff opted for independence, taking on responsibility for managing the newspaper’s finances as well as its contents and production.“We had a constant fear that we wouldn’t make it financially,” Beck says. The final tie with the University was severed in 1991, when the chose to stop receiving activity fees from the Student Government Association.

Professor Steve Davis, who became chair of Newhouse’s newspaper department in July, recognizes that the D.O.’s independence is of great importance to the students who work there—just as editorial freedom is important to any newspaper. But he believes the concept of independence is sometimes misunderstood to mean that Newhouse faculty shouldn’t offer advice, or that the D.O. staff shouldn’t seek it. On the contrary, he says, a regular exchange of ideas with people outside the newsroom is essential to any newspaper staff. “Most Newhouse faculty members have a good relationship with the D.O., but we all could and should work harder to make the most of it,” says Davis, who makes a point of reading three newspapers closely every day: The Post-Standard, The New York Times, and the D.O. “SU is a city in itself, and the D.O. fulfills the classic and important function of a daily—keeping us informed about our ‘city.’”

Professor Joel Kaplan, who chaired the newspaper department for six years and is now assistant dean for professional graduate studies, agrees. He says Newhouse faculty see the D.O. as a vital part of the newspaper journalism curriculum. “We encourage our students to publish in the D.O. and often critique their stories in class,” says Kaplan, a former investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist. “We want them to write for the newspaper, and most of our students do. I know that many students attend Syracuse University because of the reputation of the Newhouse School. But there are an awful lot of aspiring journalists who attend Syracuse University because of the reputation of The Daily Orange and its history of excellence.”

Courtesy of SU Archives

Junior editors await their assignments in 1951.

Enduring Dedication
Throughout the years, as news stories and University Chancellors came and went, The Daily Orange experienced its own series of changes—in everything from the names on its masthead and the location of its office to methods of newspaper production and styles of newspaper design. But some aspects of working at the D.O. have endured throughout the century. Former staff members consistently pay tribute to the lifelong relationships established among colleagues who work, eat, crash, and occasionally party together. They are grateful for the beneficial career impact of the intense hands-on experience they received while working at the D.O. They note with amusement the important role food plays in the creative process—from Abe’s Donuts to Taco Bell to late-night Wegman’s runs. And they speak fondly of the unmatched sense of dedication and fulfillment that comes from creating a daily newspaper and running a business.

Current editor in chief Tito Bottitta, a School of Information Studies senior who took the helm in January 2002, admits that he loves working at the D.O.—perhaps a little too much. “My house is across the street from the D.O. office, but the people I live with say I really live at the paper,” says Bottitta, who believes a high level of dedication comes with the territory. “I’m not unusual. I’m just one in a long line of people who spent most of their hours here.” Bottitta heads a staff of 35, including writers, editors, graphic designers, cartoonists, photographers, copy editors, and advertising representatives. Most are Newhouse students; but many SU schools and colleges, including the College of Visual and Performing Arts, are well represented among current staff and D.O. alumni. This past year, additional staff members were hired to assist with publishing the commemorative journal for the D.O.’s 100th anniversary and a book about the Orangemen winning the 2003 NCAA basketball championship. “People really throw themselves into being here, which is one of the great things about this place,” Bottitta says. “You work with so many talented, driven young people who are excited about what they are doing.”

Jennifer Kronstain, who worked at the D.O. in the early 1990s, attests to the dedication of staff members. “It was a huge involvement,” she says. “You got there after your classes ended and stayed until 11 at night or later. Even if you weren’t there, you might have received a call once pages were put together at midnight, saying, ‘OK, this is wrong, can you fix it?’ But we loved what we were doing. It was very honest, very real stuff.”

The rewards of that dedication come in many forms for students, from the immediate satisfaction of serving on SU’s community newspaper, to the career benefits of entering the workforce with invaluable experience and a connection to a loyal network of D.O. alumni who are now accomplished journalism professionals. Budd Bailey speaks with pride of the world-class achievements of D.O. colleagues who now work as writers, photographers, editorial cartoonists, and editors at newspapers and magazines throughout the country. “We have two Pulitzer Prize winners in our group, and several have written books,” Bailey says. “So someone at the D.O. obviously did a good job of picking talent.”

As the bureau photo editor for Knight Ridder/Tribune Photo Service in Washington, D.C., Linda Epstein ’89 handles photos for foreign correspondents’ stories and overseas events. “We had 15 photographers covering the Iraq war, and I handled all the logistics for them,” says Epstein, who first encountered the challenges of deadline photography while working as the D.O.’s photo editor. She credits the D.O. for fueling her desire to be a photojournalist. “It taught me to open my eyes to see more around me, to get photos of the ordinary and the not so ordinary,” she says. “And I got the biggest kick out of seeing everyone read The Daily Orange each morning.”

Alexandros Koromilas
2003 Daily Orange staffers review the week’s issues of the newspaper.

Frank Cammuso ’87, former D.O. art director and creator of the “SU Zoo” comic strip, considers his D.O. experience “one of the best things I ever did.” Now a political cartoonist with The Post-Standard and an author of humor books, Cammuso says working at The Daily Orange taught him the value of letting go of perfectionism under the squeeze of deadlines. “Especially at a daily newspaper, you’ll have your best cartoon on one day, and your not so best the next,” Cammuso says. “But every day, no matter what, a new paper comes out, and yesterday’s paper is trash. So you’ve just got to do the best you can, and not worry so much. That’s the nature of a daily deadline.”

Meredith Goldstein ’99 credits the D.O. with getting her a reporting position at The Boston Globe. “This is my dream job, and I wouldn’t have it if not for the D.O.,” says Goldstein, who was one of only a handful of female editors in chief in the paper’s history. The paper’s excellent reputation and the supportive network of D.O. alumni working in the field helped open doors during her job search. “That networking was helpful,” she says, “but it was less important than the actual experience I gained. At the D.O., I worked on good stories and got amazing clips. I had great freedom and learned all aspects of the business.”

Even before graduation, D.O. students benefit from connections with alumni. Bottitta says his friendship with a former editor helped him obtain two internships—one with The New York Times. He also values the input of the alumni advisors who critique a section of the paper every week, offering their opinions to that section’s editor. “It’s a great way to learn, and we appreciate the time they take from very busy schedules to do this,” Bottitta says. “It really shows how much they care, and how loyal they are.”

As the Daily Orange Alumni Association grows and matures, Cohen hopes the organization will allow alumni to offer even more to current D.O. staff members—and the institution itself—in terms of financial support, knowledge, and networking opportunities. “The paper is bigger than any individual, or the staff,” Cohen says, rephrasing the words of another former D.O. editor. “It is an entity with a long lifeline, and a sense of community and fraternity.”

With the help of talented and loyal alumni, that entity will continue to evolve and thrive—telling the story of SU with clarity, integrity, and passion, while helping shape journalism’s future. “What we know we can do better than anyone else is cover Syracuse University,” Bottitta says. “That’s who we are, and that’s who we serve—so that’s what we’re going for. We spend a little bit of time here, and we become part of it and it becomes a part of us. Then we pass that on to other people. That’s how it’s been sustained for 100 years.”





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