WESTWOOD—A recent survey of Daily Bruin readership revealed that 100% of readers only picked up the award-winning student-run newspaper for its crossword puzzle and Sudoku.
This statistic, though, is nothing new to Daily Bruin staff.
“The Daily Bruin is a free newspaper, so our revenue and livelihood as a paper are completely dependent on advertisement sales,” commented Daily Bruin editor Brian Whitlock. “We’ve known for a long time that people only get the Daily Bruin for the crossword and Sudoku, and that’s why we position our most valuable ads around them.”
In a standard issue of the Daily Bruin, the Sudoku can be found amidst the classified ads, and the crossword puzzle is often adjacent to a large half-page ad space. Without these two crucial draws, no person would pick up the Daily Bruin, and no advertiser would be willing to purchase ad space in an “unread” paper.
“No one wants to know what’s happening on campus,” said Whitlock, “especially in class, and that’s why everyone does these puzzles.”
Asked for his opinion on the Daily Bruin’s complete reliance on crosswords and Sudokus for viability, 4th-year History major and avid crossword-doer Alex Estevez said, “Here’s a clue: 2 words, 7 letters for ‘leave me alone and let me do my crossword’.” Added fellow 4th-year crossword enthusiast Ron Mathers: “Fuck off.”
Some have called for the Daily Bruin to do away with such unnecessary items as the “front page” and “Opinion” and “Sports” sections. Public interest advocacy group CALPIRG has started a petition asking the Daily Bruin to stop printing their superfluous pages as they are wasteful and harmful to the environment.
Daily Bruin staff seem open to this idea given that the printing of extraneous elements also raises their own printing costs. However, they have been reluctant to definitively side with CALPIRG in fear of making an association which might damage their paper’s reputation.
Not all are opposed to the Daily Bruin’s extra filler. Others, such as 2nd-year Electrical Engineering major Thomas Sing delight in the non-puzzle content. “Personally, I like the extra pages,” said Sing. “The outside pages help shield the puzzles from the elements, and the extra weight helps so that the paper doesn’t blow away so easily.”
Among the higher-ups at the Daily Bruin, there have also been talks of a compromise in which the Daily Bruin would keep the same number of pages but fill those pages entirely with crosswords and Sudokus instead of articles. When asked about a possible newspaper consisting wholly of Sudokus, Whitlock responded, “It’s a numbers game.”
“If we have to turn our paper into a giant collage of puzzles to stay afloat, we’ll do it,” said Whitlock noting the recent struggles of the newspaper industry at the hands of online media. “There’s just so many fucking puzzles online, that eventually, we’re going to have to change to keep up and keep from going under.”
Whitlock also pointed out that a publication consisting entirely of crosswords or Sudokus is not unprecedented. “You know those cheap little crossword books that they sell on magazine stands at the grocery store? That used to be the New York Tribune.”