On Sept. 15, 1970, The Colonial News became Pipe Dream. Nearly 50 years later, about two dozen first generation Pipe Dream alumni congregated on Zoom for a reunion.
Jay Rubin, ’73, and Pipe Dream’s second Editor-in-Chief, was one of the organizers of the event. Now retired after nearly 40 years as a senior professional at Jewish Federations, JCCs and Hillel International, Rubin was part of the last generation of The Colonial News and said the name change was in response to the “major social and political unrest” the Vietnam War stirred.
“Hard to believe some of the stories back then and the ways we wrote about them,” Rubin wrote in an email. “I could share plenty of examples.”
Andrew Plump, ’74, and Pipe Dream’s sixth Editor-in-Chief, said this unrest extended into his tenure as Editor-in-Chief.
“What was also interesting about being part of the newspaper staff in those years was that it was a time of very strong counterculture currents, and the political activism included the anti- [Vietnam] War movement, which was intense in those years,” Plump wrote in an email. “The newspaper played a variety of roles, advocating for change of various types, reporting on events, et cetera, so being on the newspaper staff was a way of participating in such things, yet those of us on the newspaper staff also became part of the ‘establishment’ in a way, so it could be a paradox.”
Plump added that the staff at the time had varied interests and talents, and nobody expected Pipe Dream’s name to stick.
“I’m not sure we realized at the time that we were only the first of what would be many generations of Pipe Dream staff, since the notion that the newspaper’s name would stand the test of time as it has done might have seemed rather, if not very, surprising to us,” Plump wrote. “People were really committed to doing creative work and to the ‘mission’ of the newspaper, so there was a true spirit of teamwork.”
Joyce Fritz, ’73, and Pipe Dream’s fourth Editor-in-Chief, said the staff felt like “a very close-knit family.”
“I got to cover some interesting stories — along with some not-so-interesting ones,” Fritz wrote in an email. “I particularly liked the editing process, along with the physical process of putting the paper to bed — usually around two in the morning! The typesetting equipment was something totally new at the time, and it was a game-changer.”
According to Rubin, newspaper technology continued to progress during his time at Pipe Dream.
“We went from outsourcing typesetting, paste up and printing to doing everything other than printing in-house by acquiring then state of the art IBM and other equipment,” Rubin wrote.
Being so reliant on paper, as opposed to computers and wireless networks, did have its obstacles, according to Plump.
“One funny memory, though it wasn’t funny at the time, is that due to a newsprint paper shortage in the United States, if you can believe it, during the school year I was Editor-in-Chief, ‘73-74, our printer had to print Pipe Dream on salmon-colored newsprint paper for several months,” Plump wrote. “You can imagine the jokes at our expense in those days for putting out the ‘pink paper.’ It was only much later in life when I moved to Paris and became a Financial Times reader that I realized that there was nothing embarrassing about printing a newspaper on salmon-colored newsprint!”
Rubin explained how funny professional memories were often intertwined with funny personal memories.
“I misidentified one of the student managers in the University Union who I’d interviewed for a story on the University reducing work-study salaries,” Rubin wrote. “She accused me of shoddy journalism. I offered to publish a correction. She asked if Pipe Dream had any job openings and ended up joining the staff. We’ve been married 47 years, have three children and six grandchildren.”
Ellis Bromberg, ’74, and Pipe Dream’s fifth Editor-in-Chief, also found love at Pipe Dream.
“I met my wife there — Mel Cohen Bromberg — who was an arts reporter,” Bromberg wrote in an email. “We were married in 1976, had a daughter in 1986 and will celebrate our 45th anniversary this August! As for the rest of the staff, we had great camaraderie, and I learned so much about writing — and made some lifelong friends.”
Sadly, Pipe Dream’s first and third Editors-in-Chief, Peter Salgo and Howard Shaw respectively, have passed away, according to Rubin. The first generation of Pipe Dream writers still honor their legacy today.
“Let me credit, in particular, the late Peter Salgo, my first Editor-in-Chief, a gentle soul and fine reporter,” Bromsberg wrote. “My time at Pipe Dream convinced me that my career path should be journalism, rather than law. It set me on the right path to fulfill my dreams. It was among the most important experiences of my entire life!”