Edwin Bayley, pounding out copy on his IBM Selectric.
Saxon Donnelly photo

06 November 2002 |

Edwin Bayley, founding dean of journalism school

By Kathleen Maclay
Public Affairs

Edwin Bayley, founding dean of Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, died Oct. 27 at a Green Bay, Wis., hospital. He was 84 and had been ill for several months.

Born Aug. 24, 1918, in Chicago, Ill., Bayley was hired by the Milwaukee Journal after World War II and assigned to city hall. He became the paper’s chief political reporter, covering the Wisconsin Legislature and local, state, and national political campaigns and conventions, including the presidential campaigns of 1948, 1952, and 1956.

While at the Journal he wrote 14 articles exposing secrecy in state and local governments in Wisconsin. The series won a citation from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and was submitted by the Journal for the Pulitzer Prize for meritorious public service.

He left the Journal in 1959 to become executive secretary to Gov. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, serving as chief of staff and speechwriter. Two years later he was appointed the first public information officer for the Peace Corps. In subsequent years he served as a special assistant to President Kennedy (for whom he also acted as press secretary on occasion), director of public affairs for the State Department’s Agency for International Development, and editor of public affairs programming for National Educational Television, the predecessor of the Public Broadcasting Service.

Bayley arrived at Berkeley in 1969, appointed as professor and dean of the campus’s new School of Journalism. During Bayley’s deanship, the school’s faculty grew from seven members to twelve, its enrollment from 50 graduate students to 75. In 1981, an accreditation team for the American Council on Education for Journalism said the school had the strongest journalism faculty in the United States.

Despite his administrative duties as dean, Bayley insisted on teaching basic news and introductory political-reporting classes. Ben Bagdikian, himself a former dean of the journalism school, called Bayley “a first-rate, meticulous, and literate reporter with the highest ethical standards … [who] believed … that the graduate degree should come after a student has had a liberal arts degree and was mature enough to be shed of the trenchcoat-swashbuckler romantic notions that tempt too many young people into the profession.”

Bayley guided the journalism school for slightly more than 16 years. In his first year, he abolished courses such as public relations and changed the length of the degree program from one year to two. He emphasized specialized writing classes, invited professional journalists to teach, and instituted the Summer Program for Minority Journalists.

In 1985, Bayley received the Berkeley Citation, the highest honor awarded by the campus. Earlier that year, the Institute for Journalism Education cited his “service to the progress of minorities in journalism.” He retired from Berkeley that year but continued to lecture, write, and serve as a worldwide consultant about journalism.

Bayley’s book, “Joe McCarthy and the Press” (University of Wisconsin Press, 1981), won the George Polk Award and the Frank Luther Mott award for research in journalism. It also was a finalist in competition for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the book, Bayley combed news archives, interviewed 40 reporters and McCarthy associates, and evaluated the coverage of 131 newspapers nationwide, concluding that newspapers could have hastened McCarthy’s downfall if they had better appreciated their influence and found the courage to speak out against him.

After his retirement in 1985, Bayley and his wife divided their time between London, England, a 90-acre farm and log cabin in Door County, Wis., and Carmel, Calif., where they were active in community affairs. Monica Bayley died earlier this year. Ed Bayley’s survivors include his daughter, Mary Fisk of The Hague, Netherlands; son, Thomas Bayley of Madison, Wis.; granddaughter, Rebekah Fisk of New York, N.Y.; and sister, Lois Matthews of New Zealand.

A memorial service is pending.


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