The people behind ‘The Tufts Daily’

The Daily's spring 2018 executive board poses for a photo on April 29. Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily Archives

Editor’s note: The Daily’s editorial board acknowledges that this article is premised on a conflict of interest. This article is a special feature for Daily Week 2018 that does not represent the Daily’s standard journalistic practices.

Tufts is the smallest university in the country to have a daily newspaper. With the complexity of such an operation, the Daily relies on countless people who work to publish a consistent stream of content.

The Daily’s managing board oversees daily production and works closely with the executive board to run the nearly four-decade-old student organization. The managing board typically consists of five people: the editor-in-chief, two managing editors, one associate editor and a production director. Currently, on the paper’s masthead, there are 18 members of the executive board who lead the 14 different editorial, production and business sections of the Daily. To commemorate Daily Week, three past and current members of masthead shared their experiences with the Daily and the prominent role this organization has played in their lives.

Katharine Pinney / The Tufts Daily

Michael Epstein (LA ’88) started his Daily career in his first semester at Tufts. He was taking an Explorations class in the Experimental College on “Media and the 1984 Election,” and two of his student instructors were on the Daily’s executive board.

“At that time, the Daily was only four years old,” Epstein said. “They learned that I had done some high school journalism, so they peer pressured me down there and assigned me the football preview. I could not believe that [first-years] would get that topic.” 

In the spring of his first year, Epstein was promoted to assistant sports editor and began to commit more and more time to the Daily. He spent his sophomore year on the executive board as an associate editor and executive editor, in the fall and spring respectively. He served as the editor-in-chief in 1986–1987, spending at least five nights a week at the Daily’s office.

“I loved being an editor, working with the younger writers, putting the paper together and leading a team,” Epstein said.

Junior Anna Hirshman explained that entering college, she knew that the Daily would be the place for her. Hirshman’s journey with the Daily also started in her first semester at Tufts, when she joined the copy section. She was promoted to assistant copy editor the next semester and once again to copy editor the semester after that.

“Grammar and editing … has always been a part of my life,” Hirshman said. “My dad and my brother instilled that in me … and my dad edited a paper. My high school paper, I was a copy editor and then the executive copy editor my senior year and there’s just something really comforting to me about editing and fixing problems.”

Hirshman served as executive copy editor in her sophomore spring, when she spent three nights a week in the Daily’s office from 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

“You cannot do homework. You’re constantly getting articles and you do three rounds of copy editing and you read every article. [The executive editor] looks at every article at least twice,” Hirshman said.

Senior Zachary Hertz also joined the copy section in the fall of his first year. He later became an executive copy editor in his sophomore year, while also writing and editing for the news section.

“Looking forward towards my junior year, I knew I wanted to stay involved with the Daily. I didn’t really want to commit to being a … managing editor though because at that time having just come off of being a copy exec … the production work week is very draining, and I was trying to focus a little bit on school. I was thinking how I could contribute in the way that I wanted to without necessarily making that level of a commitment.”

In the fall of his junior year, Hertz was the Daily’s associate editor, which is a position that manages many of the operations within the Daily not directly related to written content. As associate editor, Hertz focused on connecting with the executive editors and serving as a support system for them throughout the semester. 

“I was trying to serve as a more personal voice with the execs. So I set goals with all of them for the semester,” Hertz said.

Hertz talked with the executive editors on how they could achieve their sections’ goals and kept in contact with them to continue this conversation throughout the semester. 

 “I think every [associate editor] tends to feel like they haven’t done much, but they all do more than the person before them,” Hertz said.

The following semester, Hertz was one of the two managing editors, who are tasked, together with the editor-in-chief, with reading and editing every article that is published in the Daily.

While Hertz has spent a significant amount of his time on the Daily and on the managing board, some of his most memorable experiences came from writing articles as well. Hertz described his most notable article on the Daily, which focused on a Tufts Community Union Senate resolution in spring 2017 that called on the university to divest from several companies for their involvement in the Israeli defense sector.

“The resolution … was put up at a Senate meeting during Passover. There’s a lot of discussion over this one resolution [including] the timing of it and why it was presented during a religious holiday during which many students who might have wanted to comment on were at home,” Hertz said. “There was a lot of emotion surrounding the Senate resolution [which] …  many students on campus have opinions on. Basically I spent a day and a half doing nothing but covering this for the Daily.”

All three former and current staff members expressed their passion for the Daily.

“I loved writing for the Daily,” Hertz said.

The strong relationships that Hirshman has developed with her fellow Daily staffers have really added to the value of her time at Tufts.

“I really feel like I know the people, and I love that. When I end class at 7:00 p.m. on a Thursday, I’m like, ‘oh, I can just head over to the Daily for a couple of hours and just hang out.’ All my friends are in there,” Hirshman said.

Epstein said that even more special than his time on the Daily and all of the experiences that it gave him was what the Daily provided for his daughter, Alison (LA ’18), who was executive arts editor in the spring of 2018 and executive copy editor in the fall of 2015.

Epstein explained that nothing could have made him prouder than seeing his daughter find her own place at the Daily.


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