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.
Since its founding in 1980, The Tufts Daily has evolved from an operation led by about a dozen students to one with 25 executive editors alone.
“To look at what the Daily is today is really to look at an amazing, impressive organization, not only in the content that they’re putting out but also in the mindfulness that is being [put] toward the content that is being put out. If that is, in any way, an extension of the embryo that we started 40 years ago, then I feel really good about that,” Bill Frechtman (LA’81), a founding member of the Daily, said.
Frechtman served as editor in chief during the spring semester of 1980 as well as both semesters of the 1980–81 school year, which were the first three semesters of production.
“The student activities office, seeing the need for some kind of daily journalism and news and information on campus, put together the concept of having a daily paper, organized meetings around that and got student funding for it,” Frechtman said.
Frechtman added that production was done without computers when the Daily first started.
“At that time, everything was being typed up on an IBM Selectric typewriter in columns, and then you had to cut them and wax them onto boards,” Frechtman said.
Bob Goodman (LA’91), who was editor in chief in the spring of 1990, saw the shift from this process to a computer-based one.
“We made what we thought was this massive transition from boarded and waxed and stenos and knives and things to it being on the computer,” Goodman said.
Despite changes in production, the Daily has always been an important part of campus life.
“It would sort of fly off the stands, and people would bring it to class, and they’d basically be — as if on their phone in class — they’d be reading it,” Goodman said. “It really was a focus of everyone’s attention in an exciting, although intense, way.”
Among those who would go on to become editor in chief, joining the Daily seemed like an obvious choice.
“I had always loved journalism, I had always loved writing, I had volunteered in high school at my town newspaper where I lived … to be able to do it and see my name in print was so cool,” Caroline Schaefer (LA’95) said.
Schaefer started writing for the news section of the Daily as a first-year student and quickly progressed, eventually to editor in chief in the spring of 1994.
For others, however, the Daily was something they just stumbled upon and then got into.
“I hadn’t done my high school paper, I was sort of marginally interested in journalism, but I got really into it my first year at Tufts,” Alex Schroeder (LA’16), who was editor in chief in the fall of 2014, said. “I got right into the sports section right away and hit the ground running out covering a beat.”
Allison Roeser (LA’06), editor in chief in fall of 2005, spoke to a similar idea.
“We were all kind of growing up through the system together,” Roeser said. “None of us had previous experience so much in journalism, so we had kind of been trained by the previous generation, just to carry on the integrity and the legacy of what we did.”
Some editors in chief went on to careers in journalism, while others took different paths.
“I’ve been working at WBUR as a producer in various roles and most recently at On Point, and now I’m going to be starting at Marketplace as a producer there,” Schroeder said. “I’m not sure exactly where I’m headed, but I think journalism will definitely play a big role in it.”
Schaefer, Roeser and Goodman all started in journalism after college.
Schaefer worked at Time magazine for a year before going to graduate school at Harvard University for human development and psychology, and then deciding to return to the journalism world.
“I worked at InStyle for three-and-a-half years, then I worked at SELF magazine, and then, my most recent job was at Us Weekly where I was the executive editor,” Schaefer said.
After taking a couple years off to freelance, Schaefer worked at SoulCycle doing digital content.
“Now I’m working for a startup in the Boston area called Merryfield, basically a clean-label rewards app for food. I’m doing all the content for that,” Schaefer said.
Roeser pursued higher education in journalism after Tufts.
“I went to journalism school after I graduated, I went to Northwestern [University],” Roeser said. “I was kind of unsure what I wanted to do after college, I had changed my major, I think, three times, and I really loved the Daily and I thought that was something to pursue. I did get some pretty good connections out of it, and I ended up working at Wired magazine out in San Francisco.”
After working in the arts and entertainment department at Wired, Roeser decided to try something else. She now works at a large asset management firm in Boston.
Like Roeser, Goodman worked in journalism after Tufts. He spent four years as a reporter, but is now the vice president of global user experience design & content at Virgin Pulse, a global health and wellbeing company.
However, whether or not their career is in journalism, the skills gained and practiced as editor in chief of a daily newspaper are transferable to nearly any job.
“I thought [the Daily] was basically priming me for newspapers, but looking back, it’s still just as relevant in spite of my career having shifted,” Goodman said.
Roeser sees the benefits of the Daily in her career as well.
“It taught me more than most classes did in terms of preparing me for the real world,” Roeser said. “That’s leadership training, it was teamwork, it was project management. You’re managing [under] strict deadlines every night. There was integrity, there was communication, writing. Everything I did there on a daily basis, I still use every single day in my adult life. I can’t say that for a lot of other things I did in college.”
A lot has changed about the Daily, but a lot has also stayed the same. The friends, the experiences and the memories are constants among members throughout the decades.
“I remember it all really well, I could talk about it like it was yesterday. It was really an amazing experience,” Goodman said.
Schaefer shared a similar sentiment as Goodman.
“I loved it. We were like a family,” Schaefer said.