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Edwin Bayley, founding dean of UC Berkeley's journalism school, dies in Wisconsin at age 84
29 October 2002

By Kathleen Maclay, Media relations

Berkeley - Edwin R. Bayley, founding dean of the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, died Sunday (Oct. 27) at a Green Bay, Wis., hospital. He was 84 and had been ill for several months.

In addition to his tenure at UC Berkeley, his career spanned political reporting, serving as a gubernatorial chief of staff, directing public information for the Peace Corps, working with President John F. Kennedy and editing public affairs programs for the predecessor of the Public Broadcasting Service.

Edwin Bayley at the typewriter
Edwin R. Bailey at the keyboard.

Print-quality photo available for download

Bayley arrived at UC Berkeley in 1969, appointed as professor and dean of the campus's new Graduate School of Journalism. At the time, the study of journalism at UC Berkeley had been revived from a struggling undergraduate major to a graduate journalism program that would become one of the top three in the country.

During Bayley's deanship, the school grew from a faculty of seven to 12, and from 50 to 75 graduate students. Four years before Bayley retired, 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.

"He really kept a finger on the pulse of students and what was going on. He was also a very gentle critic," said Andrew Stern, who was a friend and colleague of Bayley's. Bayley convinced Stern to leave network television and part-time teaching at Columbia University to introduce broadcast news to the UC Berkeley journalism program.

Harvey Myman, a former student of Bayley's who became vice president of HBO after an extensive career working for newspapers, said Bayley was an inspiration.

"He was a completely remarkable guy. He was maybe the most pure reporter I ever met, certainly the best editor," said Myman, who stayed in close touch with Bayley through the years. "He always had this great, dispassionate, keen eye, and there was a cleanliness to his prose."

UC Berkeley professor emeritus David Littlejohn, on the journalism faculty when Bayley began, called him "profoundly dedicated to the school."

Bayley guided the 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 at UC Berkeley.

In 1985, Bayley received the Berkeley Citation, the highest honor awarded by UC Berkeley. Earlier that year, the Institute for Journalism Education cited his "service to the progress of minorities in journalism."

Bayley received in 1986 the Alumni Distinguished Service award from Lawrence University for his service to journalism. Lawrence University also conferred upon him an honorary doctorate, citing his service to journalism and to graduate education.

He retired in 1985 from UC Berkeley, but continued to lecture, write and be a worldwide consultant about journalism.

Bayley was born Aug. 24, 1918, in Chicago, Ill. He attended public schools in Wisconsin. In 1940, he received a bachelor's degree in English literature, cum laude with departmental honors, from Lawrence College (now Lawrence University) in Appleton, Wis. He worked for the campus newspaper, was the founding editor of the campus literary magazine, and twice won prizes for poetry.

He attended the Yale University graduate school in 1940 and 1941, working toward a Ph.D. in English. Bayley married college classmate Monica Worsley in 1941.

He went on to work for the Green Bay (Wis.) Press-Gazette in 1941 and 1942 before being commissioned an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve. He was on active duty as an armed guard officer on merchant ships in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean and as the gunnery officer in the central Pacific.

After World War II, Bayley was hired by the Milwaukee Journal and soon was 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.

He wrote 14 articles exposing secrecy in state and local governments in Wisconsin. His series won a citation in 1985 from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and was submitted by the Journal for the Pulitzer Prize for meritorious public service.

He won an International Press Institute fellowship in 1959 for the study about the British press and worked as a staff member of the (London) Daily Mail, the Manchester Guardian and the Glasgow Herald. He also wrote about British politics and culture for the Milwaukee Journal.

Bayley also was the Wisconsin correspondent for the Washington Post, Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Philadelphia Bulletin, Louisville Courier-Journal, Nashville Tennessean, Kansas City Star, Chicago Sun-Times, Time magazine, The New Republic and The Economist of London.

He left the Milwaukee Journal later in 1959 to become executive secretary to Gov. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, serving as chief of staff and speechwriter. Two years later, Bayley was appointed the first public information officer for the Peace Corps.

In 1961, he was appointed a special assistant representing President Kennedy on inter-departmental committees involving information and the hiring of minorities. In that post, he wrote speeches and did research for presidential meetings with newspaper editors and publishers. He occasionally traveled with Kennedy as acting press secretary.

Bayley accepted an appointment in 1961 as director of public affairs for the State Department's Agency for International Development (AID).

He was appointed editor of public affairs programming for National Educational Television (NET), the predecessor of the Public Broadcasting Service, in January 1964. He was promoted a short time later to vice president for administration, responsible for NET's general management, then took a leave of absence to direct media relations for the planning session for the White House Conference on Civil Rights.

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 the 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.

Bayley concluded that newspapers could have hastened McCarthy's downfall if they had better appreciated their influence and found the courage to speak out against him.

Once, when Bayley was covering a McCarthy rally for the Milwaukee Journal, the senator spotted Bayley and introduced him to to the crowd. McCarthy said, "Stand up, Ed, and let the people see what a communist looks like."

Bayley's second book, "Ask Harvey, Pls," a memoir of a curmudgeonly city editor of the Milwaukee Journal, was published in paperback in 1994 (White Oak Press, Madison,Wis.).

Friends said he was an expert tennis player, an avid gardener and loved music. He also was a voracious reader of fiction and non-fiction and used to work The New York Times' daily crossword puzzle with his wife, who died earlier this year.

Myman said Bayley remained intensely interested in news of the day. "This guy was always searching for information and truth," he said.

After his retirement in 1985, the Bayleys divided their time between a home in London, England, a 90-acre farm and log cabin in Door County, Wis., and Carmel, Calif., where they were active in community affairs.

Survivors include his daughter, Mary Fisk of The Hague, Netherlands; son, Thomas Bayley of Madison, Wis.; granddaughter, Rebekah Fisk of New York, New York; and sister, Lois Matthews of New Zealand.

A memorial service is pending.

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