Barbara Baird “I get a thrill out of just walking across campus, observing campus life and feeling part of it.”

When Barbara Baird was working as a reporter, she was constantly kept on her toes with new assignments. “There was not a dull moment. I never knew what each day’s work would bring,” she recalls of her 21 years with the Los Angeles Times. Now an instructor of journalism and co-advisor to the Corsair, Barbara’s days are still filled with excitement and surprises.

“There are times in the classroom when I think I’ve thought an issue all the way through, and then a student will ask a question that casts everything in a different light,” she says. “Then I have to reexamine and move quickly with the new idea. I like that sense of excitement. It poses continual challenges for me.”

Seeking new challenges was what brought Barbara to SMC in the first place. Working as a general assignment reporter, she felt some of her skills were not utilized. “Newswriting is very hard-edged. Part of of my strength is being more nurturing and having a connection with people,” says Barbara who enjoys going to concerts and the opera in her spare time. And she adds, “At SMC I feel I’m in a challenging environment of learning and ideas.”

Her change of jobs also gave Barbara the chance to go back to school by enrolling in a master’s program in English literature at Loyola Marymount. Having just finished a course in 18th century literature, she observes, “The ideas and appreciation of language that one sees in literature really support the clarity and precision that one strives for in newswriting.” She adds, “I really believe that it’s necessary to have a grounding in literature and philosophy and ideas in order to be effective as a journalist.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.