Remember The New Journal? Here’s Its First Year!

The New Journal began in 1967, the brainchild of Yale Daily News expatriates Pete Yeager and Dan Yergin, both ’68.   It was student-run and free — one of the first serious, college publications that didn’t require a subscription.

A few of us ’69ers joined that first year:  Paul Malamud, Howard Newman, Jean-Pierre Jordan.  (Any others? if so, leave a comment.)

The next year more people got involved: According to the Yale Banner a total of 12 of our classmates were involved: John Adams, Milton Anderson, Paul Bennett, Peter Choy, Jeffrey Denner, Konstantine Georgiades, David Mylenbusch, Jeffrey Pollock, Andrew Popper, Robert Randolph, Andrew Wechsler, and Jeff Wheelwright.  (Is that right?  Complete?  If not, please comment below.)

Do you remember when you first saw The New Journal?  Did you read it?  What did you think?  If you remember, add to the comments below.  If you don’t, feast your eyes on the six issues archived below from that first year.  And enjoy!

The “New” in The New Journal

Committed to what’s now called long-form journalism, The New Journal delivered well-written investigative pieces, in-depth film or book reviews, commentary, photography and features about life in New Haven and/or Yale.   A contemporaneous report in the Harvard Crimson said: “The writing is consistently good and often superb; everything from book reviewing to reporting on the Pentagon demonstration is approached from a fresh angle.”

With the exception of a short publishing hiatus in 1972 owing to an embarrassing lack of funds (Yale Daily News report), The New Journal continues to publish to this day.  See the current issue here.  You’ll notice that the focus is still in-depth, well-written articles about New Haven and/or Yale; the biggest change is the addition of much better color graphics, hyperlinks, and interactivity.

There was speculation that the name of the publication was derived from the “new journalism” of Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer and Hunter Thompson.  But the founding mission statement in 1968 explains the “New” as derived from a different idea:

“This university has once again reached that stage in history when people are talking about the New Yale, presumably to be distinguished from the Old Yale, which in its own day was presumably considered new. Wishing to share in this modernity, we have chosen The New Journal as the name for our publication. Besides, things seemed slow around here.” (source)

Six Of The First Seven Issues

Owing to the packrat proclivities of our own JP Jordan (Reunion Co-Chair and first “Circulation Manager” for The New Journal), we had the paper copies of six of the first seven editions, which I have dutifully scanned to PDF files. Here they are:

Volume One, Number One, October 15, 1967

This first issue is great. It contains an interview with filmmaker Kenneth Haight and a withering criticism of Mayor Richard Lee’s urban redevelopment efforts that preceded our arrival in New Haven.

Volume One, Number Two, October 29, 1967

Students Protesting Lady Bird

The second issue has commentary by Bart Giamatti and a major story on p. 8 about Lady Bird Johnson’s speech to the Political Union in Commons, by Dan Yergin and Mopsey Strange Kennedy. (She sounds familiar; does anyone know why/how she was part of the scene then?)

Volume One, Number Three, November 12, 1967

The third issue followed the October 21st demonstration at the Pentagon — Remember when Abbie Hoffman, et alia, tried to “levitate the Pentagon?”  This issue was full of anti-war content: advertisements for turning in your draft card. Pictures of the protests. A report from the scene by Gerald Bruck (’68) and his mentor Staughton Lynd.  You may remember Lynd, an untenured professor whose contract was not renewed by Yale after he went to Hanoi. (Lynd was also black-balled by 5 Chicago-area colleges who had extended offers, then recanted them after Hanoi.)
Students facing troop at the Pentagon, Oct. 1967

Volume One, Number Four, November 26, 1967

In this fourth issue Michael Mandelbaum and Steve Weisman (’68), both of whom went on to illustrious careers in journalism, did an in-depth analysis of “The County That Made Reagan Possible” — namely, Orange County, California. They took Reagan very seriously — and 13 years later he was President. On p. 9, there’s a list of people who signed the Draft Refusal petition, including many in our class. Joseph Heller gave a long interview — his We Bombed In New Haven opened that month.

Volume One, Number Six, January 21, 1968

This sixth issue covered a lot of ground. A report on Biafra and the rising risk of genocide there. A defense of Coffin. A review of Heller’s We Bombed In New Haven. An in-depth look at the Insanity Defense. And an interview with Arthur Penn about the recent release of Bonnie and Clyde.

Volume One, Number Seven, February 4, 1968

Jim Morrison, arrested at New Haven Arena
This seventh issue is disquieting. There’s a report of FBI agents showing up in the dorms, interviewing students about Classmates who were actively resisting the draft. The wife of professor Robert Jay Lifton reported on her trip to Vietnam. And undergrad Larry Lasker reported on his experience watching the New Haven Police stop a concert by The Doors and arrest Jim Morrison.

The New Journal: Mother Of Illustrious Alumni

A quick check of the Wikipedia article about The New Journal shows that a lot of people became great writers after cutting their teeth at The New Journal.  Here is Wikipedia list of notable alumni involved in The New Journal:

2 thoughts on “Remember <em>The New Journal</em>? Here’s Its First Year!”

  1. Allan Abravanel

    As many of you know, Peter Yaeger died tragically in an automobile accident in 1986. He was survived by his wife and four sons, all of whom are doing well today. His oldest son Jonathan (Yale, ’97) is married to my daughter Karen (Yale, ’99).

    Allan Abravanel (Davenport, ’68)

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