75 years of student journalism, Ticker
Panel of alums describe their post-Ticker careers
Published: Sunday, July 8, 2007
Updated: Sunday, February 15, 2009 02:02
As present and former students, writers and editors alike gathered on the 14th floor of the Vertical Campus, the excitement was palpable as those in attendance seemingly reminisced in unison at the place where their passion for the written word began. The occasion was the celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Ticker, and it was an evening filled with serious discussions, journalistic anecdotes, classical music, champagne and an abundance of humor. The many facets of the growth and challenges endured by an undergraduate publication were laid bare in a room full of contributors who together paved the way for The Ticker's award-winning growth spanning three-quarters of a century.
Held on Wednesday, June 6, the ceremony was inaugurated by Baruch College President Kathleen Waldron, who introduced the seven decades of Ticker alumni, who had strolled past placards displaying magnified ledes and historical front pages. These boards helped remind both the previous and present generations of the important contributions the Ticker has made to the diverse Baruch student body.
The gathering progressed from the introduction to the panel of four, who took part in a Q & A session to highlight their involvement and memories of The Ticker over the years. Roslyn Bernstein, the founder of the college's journalism programs, moderated and asked questions of the three former and one graduating editor-in-chief in front of a group encompassing a host of Ticker benefactors. The panel consisted of Stewart Kampel ('59), a former New York Times journalist, Caitlin Mollison ('90) of Crains Investment News, Hasani Gittens ('02), a writer for the New York Post and Adrienne Rayski ('07), the departing editor-in-chief.
During the course of the gathering, Bernstein discussed many interesting details of the Ticker, including a brief explanation of its humble beginnings. Historically, the Ticker can trace its naissance to a modest six column, four-page sheet, started by students in 1932. The paper ran afoul of the Baruch brass early and often during those turbulent infant years due to the often controversial stories of those early writers, providing thought-provoking stories on the college's operation. This practice caused attempts at censorship by Baruch administrators, which eventually led to combative tongue-in-cheek op-ed page featuring black borders and only the word "censored" located firmly in the center of the page, an attempt to express frustration at this hindrance on freedom of the press.
Since those early years The Ticker has undergone a myriad of changes, including a wider circulation and the introduction of colored pages. Many former Ticker editors at the gathering, however, expressed their belief that there have been several permanent canons that have always been essential to writers and contributors to the paper and those ideals are never allowed to bend or waver. Kampel explained that as a former editor-in-chief he learned and had an "appreciation for the facts, integrity and high ethical standards" for journalism and information.
Mollison discussed how working on the collegiate paper solidified her desire of becoming a journalist. She explained that she never experienced the urge to be close to the administration, but instead wanted to "shine a light and obtain the truth" for the students of Baruch.
The panel documented memorable aspects of the Ticker's history while sharing their experiences dealing with the bureaucracy. There were also light and touching moments throughout the ceremony. The audience learned the long-lasting connections that can be formed among Ticker staffers by Mollison noting that 11 members of her former staff attended her wedding several years ago. Also in attendance was a gentleman whose sole reason for attending the ceremony was the hope that he would encounter fellow members of the staff he worked with many decades ago. Unfortunately, no one from his tenure was able to attend.
Although there was not a consensus on every issue discussed among the panelists, one topic that did evoke uniformity was the question of which direction media was embarking on, and the uncontested answer was the Internet. The trio of Kampel, Gittens and Mollison all agreed that the World Wide Web is becoming the dominant destination for a range of information, particularly for current and late-breaking news. Rayski was the example that proved the rule, as she is taking a position at a New York-based website after graduation.
With a the plethora of new memories, the evening will be a lasting part of a festive anniversary celebration for the Ticker, its staff and, most importantly, for its readers.