70 years of the newspaper, Special Projects

Get to know a few of the Forty-Niner’s editors-in-chief

Lee Brown, EIC 1959-60

My experiences as editor in chief of the 49er are probably best told by selected contents during my editorship. Exceptions to this primarily involved my running battle with fraternities and sororities, my candidacy for editor in chief and my involvement in Associated Student Body as treasurer.

I promised to end a social column the weekly 49er carried if I was named editor. I didn’t want to read about whom was seen kissing who in the backseat of whose convertible. If that happened, I was promised, student government would withhold all funds and there would be no 49er.  In those days, the Publications Commission reported to the Student Senate, and the Senate could end funding to the paper. Fraternities and sororities dominated all parts of student government, and the government-funded campus drama productions, concert programs and several other student activities. So, I ran for ASB treasurer and won. I ended the offensive column and was not challenged on funding. How is that for conflict of interest?


John Canalis, EIC 1992-93

I served as editor and city editor of the Daily 49er in the early 1990s. The near-professional experience I received covering some of the biggest stories of that era — the Los Angeles civil unrest, which affected Long Beach, the presidential election, which brought candidates to and near campus, the height of the AIDS crisis ravaging Long Beach, the gay rights movement and a decent number of on-campus scandals — prepared me for jobs in journalism right out of the gate. The expectations of us were quite high, and I all but lived in the newsroom. We did a healthy amount of investigative journalism into misspending by the Associated Students government, the potentially improper development of Native American land and the fact that many buildings were not retrofitted to withstand earthquakes. Our photographers captured images I still recall in detail. But we goofed off plenty, going to shows at the Nugget Grill & Pub and Bogart’s, and fostered the kinds of us-against-the-world friendships that can only blossom in a newsroom. I may be one of the last of my group still in the newspaper business, but I would have never lasted this long without the education I received at Long Beach State and at the Daily Forty-Niner. I am so grateful to the journalism program for giving me a career I love.


Austin Brumblay, EIC 2019-20

It’s hard to believe that just a year ago I was just a contributing photographer for the Daily Forty-Niner. As a student journalist who got burned-out working at my community college newspaper, I decided to take a semester off from being an editor when I transferred to Long Beach State. It was a huge mistake. My days were boring and unfulfilled—I wasn’t used to the free time. I missed the pressure of deadlines. I missed the long nights and most of all, I missed the newsroom community. 

A year later, I am the editor in chief of the 49er. While my days now are too long with too many deadlines, it was the best decision I have ever made as a journalist. I call myself a journalist with a human resources job. Luckily my staff makes it easy to yell at them because I love them like family.

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