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Edwin R. Bayley

Professor of Journalism, Emeritus




Edwin R. Bayley, founding dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, was born August 24, 1918, and died October 27, 2002, in a Green Bay, Wisconsin, hospital after a chronic illness. He was 84.


His wife, the former Monica Worsley, who had been his college classmate, had died in March 2002. A former book editor and writer, she had been an officer in the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C.


The Bayleys divided their time between their winter home in Carmel, California; London, England; and their summer home in Door County, Wisconsin.


Ed Bayley was appointed dean by the Regents of the University of California in 1969. He took over and phased out an undergraduate program and created the Graduate School of Journalism. By the time he retired in July of 1985, an accrediting committee had concluded that the school had the strongest faculty and had become the best graduate school of journalism in the country.


Bayley brought to his deanship a long career in journalism, service during World War II, and significant positions in government, including stints during the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He also brought to the new graduate school and its faculty a culture of directness and candor, as well as unremitting insistence on accurate reporting, clarity of writing, and seriousness of purpose. He immediately dropped public relations from the earlier program as antithetical to journalism ethics and added specialized graduate courses in business, science, health reporting and ethics in journalism.

Dean Bayley personally read every application to the school. His rejections were notably direct, candid, and analytical, not typical of university rejection letters. Rejected applicants were usually grateful for an honest personal response. Euphemisms were not in Dean Bayley's vocabulary.


University Librarian Thomas Leonard, a professor and associate dean of the school, has said that Dean Bayley "had as much first-hand knowledge of American politics as anyone appointed to the entire Berkeley faculty in the last quarter of the twentieth century. He shunned the worst from this experience—pomposity and over-promising, while he passed on the best of his era: engagement with public issues and alliances that got things done."


Typical of the unique qualities he brought to the deanship, Bayley's single-spaced, typed reports to the faculty after each meeting of the University's Council of Deans were read with greater eagerness than most memoranda of committee meetings. Bayley reported the changes in programs and procedures announced at the Council, but added notes on the demeanor of particular deans sitting in the meetings and a fashion report: here a natty tweed jacket, there a bright, striped shirt. No new neckwear worn by the chancellor escaped Bayley's notice.


With the help of then-Associate Dean and Professor David Littlejohn, he managed the escape from the school's quarters in the concrete corridors and sterile cubicles of Evans Hall to the warm, wooden, human-scale North Gate Hall, designed by John Galen Howard.


Bayley graduated cum laude from Lawrence College (now University) in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1940, and after two years in the English doctoral program at Yale University, he left to become a journalist. He was a feature writer and wire editor for the Green Bay (Wisconsin) Press-Gazette until he joined the Navy during World War II. He was an officer on merchant ships in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and later a gunnery officer on an attack transport in the Pacific. He was discharged as a lieutenant in 1946.


Bayley joined the staff of the Milwaukee Journal in 1946 and in 1947 became its chief political reporter. He covered local and state politics and national political campaigns, with occasional periods of editorial writing.


Bayley's political reporting in Wisconsin made him an important journalist in a major political firestorm of twentieth century American politics. In Bayley's political bailiwick there emerged the Republican junior senator from Wisconsin, Joseph R. McCarthy. Beginning during the Cold War in early 1950, McCarthy embarked on a series of wild accusations that the United States government—including the White House, the State Department, and the Army—had been massively infiltrated by agents of the Soviet Union. He insisted that radio and television were similarly infiltrated; causing networks to fire nationally-known stars and cancel programs.


It was not American journalism's finest hour, because most newspapers and broadcasters were intimidated by the threat of being listed among the news media whose employees might appear on McCarthy's list of "subversives." Most newspapers limited themselves to generous daily headlines announcing new McCarthy accusations without further examination.


A handful of daily papers went beyond this surface reporting; one of them, the Milwaukee Journal and, of course, its chief political reporter, Ed Bayley. Bayley, in his typical style, did detailed, straightforward, and careful background reporting on McCarthy. This did not escape Senator McCarthy, then riding high on a wave of national hysteria. During one of his speeches before zealous followers, McCarthy spotted Bayley at the press table and said: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like first to introduce a reporter in the audience, Ed Bayley, from the Milwaukee Daily Worker. Stand up, Ed, and let people see what a communist looks like."


During a leave from his deanship, Bayley wrote what has become the definitive book on the news media's treatment of McCarthy, the prize-winning Joe McCarthy and the Press (University of Wisconsin Press, 1981). A second book, Ask Harvey, Pls (White Oak Press, Madison, 1994), is a recollection of the city editor of the Milwaukee Journal, a colorful curmudgeon under whom he had worked. In 1959, Bayley left the newspaper to become executive secretary for Governor Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. From there, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he held several positions in the administration of President Kennedy.


In 1961 he became public information officer for the new Peace Corps, and later he handled the same job at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He moved to the position of news editor and vice president for administration of the National Broadcasting Service, predecessor of the Public Broadcasting System. He occasionally traveled with President Kennedy as acting press secretary or occasional speech writer. Later, at the Johnson White House, he handled media relations for the ground-breaking Conference on Civil Rights.


Bayley won a wide range of prizes for his journalism and public service, including the George Polk Award and the Frank Luther Mott Award for journalism research, in addition to being nominated for a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. In 1986, Lawrence University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, and in 1985, he received the Berkeley Citation, the highest award granted by the University (which confers no honorary degrees).


Until his illness, he wrote a daily Internet log, Eduardo's Journal, for a close circle of friends, depicting in detail each day in the life of the Bayleys, with periodically added trenchant comment on contemporary state and national politics.


He is survived by his daughter, Mary B. Fisk, administrator for the prosecutor at the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague, and his son, Thomas Bayley, of Madison, Wisconsin, who is chief reviewer of plans and contracts for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.


William Drummond

Tom Leonard

Ben Bagdikian