The Ticker : History of the Baruch College Newspaper

The Golden Age: The Ticker in the 1950s

     It begins when the semester begins and it ends when the semester ends. There are no days off, no weekends and no holidays. The editors are continually reading, writing, questioning and attending events. However, the major portion of the editing and preparation is done on Thursday evening in the architectural blunder called The Ticker office. Here in a sanctuary that sports odd wall decorations and has been the scene of monster beer parties, en masse depantsings [sic] and songfests of little known ditties, the editors and staff begin their work and continue, and continue, and continue until late the early hours of Friday morn. And when the sun rises over the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, many an editorial diatribe has been born and, many an editor wishes he never were. [...]

     But there are other things - the friendships made, the million incidents that add up to those nostalgic memories that are invariably brought up at the newspaper's semi annual dinner, the knowledge and techniques learned and the intangibles that make The Ticker and its members a fountain-head of spirit, fun and camaraderie.

     The Ticker is truly much, much more than four or eight pages. It is an everlasting, animated, breathing thing, made so by its many members. (Lexicon, 1957)

 
 
 
Ticker Staff
Lexicon, 1950
Theatron Members
Lexicon, 1950
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(Baruch College Archives)
 
 

     The Ticker began the 1950s with a permanent budget, a large staff, and a bright future. Its popularity on campus prompted Theatron, the main theatrical group at the college, to put on the first original musical based on the trials and tribulations of the editor and editorial board of the paper. One of the main remaining complaints was that the editor and business manager were still not elected by students on The Ticker, but were appointed by the Ticker Association.

 
 
 
Ticker Staff "De-Pantsed"
Lexicon, 1951
Ticker Staff
Lexicon, 1951
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(Baruch College Archives)
 

     In the course of twenty years of its existence, a number of traditions developed at The Ticker. Among them was a semi-annual event where all outgoing Tickerites would be "de-pantsed" before leaving their tenure at the paper. An exception was made for some of the female members of the staff (others wore Bermuda shorts underneath their skirts). An eyewitness of one such de-pantsing of an editor relates the following:

     The first of the nine performers was Bernie Lawrence, retiring Editor-in-Chief. After a brief but determined struggle Lawrence was "de-pantsed." He strutted about in ladies' pink silk panties, which he had obligingly worn to make a big hit with the girls up front. (The Ticker, May 23, 1950, 2)

 
 
 
Ticker Staff
Lexicon, 1952
Ticker Staff at Work
Lexicon, 1952
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(Baruch College Archives)
 

     To develop a sense of camaraderie, The Ticker staged sports games, pitting their members against teams from other clubs, sororities, and organizations. Additionally, they staged various get-togethers, such as the semi-annual Ticker Monster Party, a beer-drinking affair at the printer on the last issue night of the term, and the Ticker Association dinner, where the experienced Tickerites got to know the neophytes at the paper.

     In The Ticker office itself, the students got creative with their entertainment, inventing various games, from garbage basketball - played with roughed up milk containers and a waste-paper dispenser, to baseball - played with wooden coffee-spoon bats and sugar cube balls.

 
 
 
Ticker Staff
Lexicon, 1954
Part of the Election Supplement
The Ticker, December 11, 1956, 3
Ticker Staff at Work
Lexicon, 1954
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(The Ticker Newspaper Archive)
(Baruch College Archives)
 

     The endorsement of student candidates or politicians running for office had been a controversial issue at the very start of The Ticker's founding. For a long period of time, the paper's editors tried to avoid it:

     Each year at this time many urge us to follow the lead of other campus newspapers in choosing and supporting a particular candidate. While our interest is as keen as the next fellow's, we must again submit that it is not our function as a student-subscribed newspaper to support any one candidate in any political election whether within the School or on a local or national level.

     We deem such action especially unwise in a School with only one student newspaper. The Ticker will not subvert its function to inform by advancing purely political viewpoints on personalities. We prefer to present the facts, that the student himself may decide. (The Ticker, October 27, 1953, 3)

     The paper tried to get people interested in politics, so it printed an Election Supplement - paid for by the Student Council - during elections. Once, trying to illustrate student apathy, they even circulated petitions for three nonexistent candidates: "Abel," "Bloom," and "Cohen." In what came to be called the ABC Hoax, the three fictitious candidates were only narrowly defeated, illustrating The Ticker's point.

 
 
 
Ticker Staff at Work
Lexicon, 1956
Ticker Staff at Work
Lexicon, 1956
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(Baruch College Archives)
 

     The Tickerites always found a way to laugh at themselves. Poems composed by staff members often took jabs at their colleagues:

['T was] a night at the printers' when all through the shop
The editors were working with nary a stop;
The page-proofs were read with considerable care
And the voices of Tickerites were heard in the air.
The telephone wires were now burning red
While visions of the week-end danced in the head;
Jerry Greenberg, in sweat-shirt and black chino pants,
Was trying to get a date for the Saturday dance.

When at the line there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter;
Away to old Foxy I flew like a flash
To learn that a colon was changed to a dash.
Italics were mixed with the bold-faced type
And the coffee that spilt on the copy was wiped.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear
But more errors and corrections - both here and there.

But back at the phone the boys were still calling
Their girls for dates - the refusals appalling;
More rapid than eagles their curses they came
As they dialed and called, and the girls were a pain.
Now, Sheila! Now Helen! Now, Lola and Thelma!
Oh, June! Oh, Betty! Oh, Irma! and Barbara
From A to Z our editors did call
But, "I'm busy, I'm busy, I'm busy," said all.

But soon came the time for a good coffee-break
And an old fashioned bull-session was soon in the make;
Dick Kwartler, soon, for a cigarette was askin'
And advice about girls was given by Lou Marin.
Dick Rustin was teaching Sobovinsky the style
And Gene Heftman was home doing homework the while:
Shelly Engelberg was phoning and being a nuisance
And Dick Ellis, to some girl, was offering his innocence.

We spoke of the old days, of Bienstock and Schatt,
And Perelson and Harrison, and City Coach Nat.
Of last year's de-pantsing and the New Year's Eve booze
And how we crashed the Dem's convention with fireman's ruse.
But now, dear reader, the time is at hand
When we must leave you until next term's stand;
To Sam Perelson, now graduating, I give special thanks
For teaching me all, and raising me from the ranks.

As we now go to press, the paper all finished
Thanks for being with me in my few reminisces;
The term is soon closing and finals are near
So good luck to you all, and a Happy New Year!
(The Ticker, January 3, 1956, 4)

 
 
 
Ticker Staff
Lexicon, 1957
Congratulatory Ad
The Ticker, Jan 3, 1958, S7
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(The Ticker Newspaper Archive)
 

     In 1957 The Ticker celebrated its 25th anniversary, and adopted the slogan, "Twenty-five years of responsible freedom." Congratulations poured in. Bernard Baruch, an honorary Ticker editor, wrote:

I understand that this semester marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Ticker's publication as the undergraduate newspaper at the Baruch School.

I hope the occasion will be properly marked. The college administration and the student body have every reason to be proud of the publication's high standing and standards.

I like your theme: "25 years of Responsible Freedom." It is one we might all adopt.

Bernard M. Baruch (The Ticker, January 3, 1958, 2)

 
 
 
Ticker Staff at Work
Lexicon, 1957
Congratulatory Ad
The Ticker, Jan 3, 1958, S7
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(The Ticker Newspaper Archive)
 

     Robert F. Wagner, the Mayor of New York and a graduate of City College when it still stood on the corner of 23rd Street and Lexington, was also emphatic in his praise.

As Mayor of the City of New York, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to congratulate you and the members of your staff on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Ticker.

The Ticker has always been a credit to the college and all of you can be justifiably proud of your record.

With all best wishes for continued success,

Sincerely yours,
Robert F. Wagner
Mayor, City of New York
(The Ticker, January 3, 1958, 2)

 
 
 
Ticker Staff at Work
Lexicon, 1958
Ticker Staff at Work
Lexicon, 1958
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(Baruch College Archives)
 

     The increasing quality of The Ticker was evident to the entire college community. Consistently, semester after semester, The Ticker was able to secure an All-American rating, the highest honor given to college newspapers. The Association of Collegiate Press praised the periodical for having "a professional style that outshines a lot of metropolitan dailies," calling some of the columns "real prose." (The Ticker, Nov 7, 1956, 2)

 
 
 
Ticker Staff
Lexicon, 1959
Ticker Staff at Work
Lexicon, 1959
 
 
(Baruch College Archives)
(Baruch College Archives)
 

     The decade ended with a larger format (up to 12 pages) and greater, more diverse coverage than ever before. Accountancy, economics, foreign trade, and advertising majors who were among the ranks of its staff could look with pride at what they had accomplished over the course of those ten years.

 
Shakeups and Independence: The Ticker in the 1960s