Current university staff, faculty members reflect on their time at the Daily

Jennifer McAndrew (LA'96), the Director of Communications, Strategy & Planning at Tisch College, poses for a portrait in Barnum Hall on Feb. 23. Nicole Garay / The Tufts Daily

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 2020 that does not represent the Daily’s standard journalistic practices.

Contributing to the Daily is a common experience among Tufts students and multiple faculty and staff members also share that with their students.

Jess Keiser (LA’06), an assistant professor in the English Department, got involved with the arts section as a sophomore when he was an undergraduate. 

“I started writing arts and culture reviews for the Daily,” he said. “I did books, movies, music, kind of whatever.”

He would pitch the editors an album or movie he liked — such as Dizzee Rascal in an article he wrote for the Daily called “Wot do U call it?” — and then proceeded to write about them. After doing that for a while, he started to be assigned movie reviews. 

“I thought it was cool that we could go to press screenings before the movie came out,” he said.

Eventually, Keiser became managing editor of the arts section, an experience he enjoyed. While he ultimately stepped away from the Daily during his senior year, his time at the Daily gave him transferable skills, like writing under a deadline and being a clearer writer, that he carried forward with him — even if he found some of the articles he wrote to be embarrassing.

“I have forcefully forgotten [the articles I wrote] because they’re incredibly embarrassing,” he said. “They were so mortifying that I was trying to just forget about them completely.”

Keiser was shocked that there were other faculty members at Tufts who had worked on the Daily during their time at Tufts. He is also not the only member of the faculty who wrote journalistically after moving on from the Daily.

Now-television host and guest lecturer in the film and media studies department Anthony Everett (LA’83) said that, when he first joined the Daily, it was nowhere near as big as it is now.

“My freshman year, which was 1979, [the Daily] was literally a sheet of paper that was being slid underneath people’s doors,” he said. “By the fall of the following year, it was beginning to look like a newspaper. But really it was just a couple of sheets of either two pages or four pages of pieces of paper.”

He joined the staff of the Daily while he was a first-year. He had been interested in English and creative writing beforehand but being on the Daily gave him his first and best experience with journalism.

“I began to understand how to ask the right questions of who, what, when, where, why and how, and then expand on that,” he said, “Also who to talk to in order to get both sides of the story.”

He did not leave Tufts with a plan to go into journalism. 

“I took some time off and went to Colorado with some friends to go skiing, and I literally stumbled into this little radio and television station in Aspen, Colorado … and they had a job opening and I applied and got it,” Everett said.

He deferred his law school acceptances and, on his advice from his friend, decided to stick with journalism as a career.

“[My friends said] you found something you love so stick with it, and I loved it so I stayed with it,” he said. “And it’s been a great career. It’s been everything I could have hoped for in a career.”

Even though Everett found his desire to go into journalism later in life, the Daily provided him with foundational skills he carried forward with him in his life.

Jennifer McAndrew, director of communication, strategy and planning at the Jonathan M. Tisch College, took photos for the Daily and was the photo editor.

Because this was before digital photography, the development of photography was still physical and the photo staff developed photos in their darkroom in the basement of West Hall.

“It was probably not super well ventilated,” she said. “Probably had some chemical exposure there and I would go and take pictures and then develop them at night and then bring them to the Daily and they would lay it out — like physically lay out the paper.”

Her favorite memory of being on the Daily staff was photographing when George H. W. Bush came to speak on campus.

“It was really one of the coolest things I got to do on the Daily because obviously, as you can imagine, that was something that brought in a lot of outside media,” she said. “So to be there with a press pass, and a picture — I remember that we thought that our photo was better than The Boston Globe’s photo.”

She used photographing for the Daily to capture not only big events like that on campus, but also sports events and smaller moments about her life at Tufts.

“We started something when I was on the Daily where we had a question of the week and then we would ask … people and put photos of them in the paper with their … responses,” McAndrew said. “[The question] could be like something in the national news, or it could be something that was happening on campus.”

While she does not pin her current career directly on the Daily, she did say that having that experience on the Daily gave her the experience of working with journalists that pushed her towards a career in communications.

“Having that experience on the Daily of trying to cover things and trying to get access to things and working on a team of people who really cared about getting it right and getting the story right — that really does stick with me” McAndrew said. “I have found throughout my career that, overwhelmingly, journalists have very, very high civic responsibility.”