David Ogul: A true Daily Aztec’er at heart

by Alumni Codices

I came to San Diego State University by way of Los Angeles in the summer of 1977, but I really didn’t feel I was a part of the campus until I joined the staff at The Daily Aztec.

That was in my junior year. It changed my life.

My journalism experience up until then was limited. Like many my age who had hopes of embarking on a career with long hours and notoriously low pay, I had worked on my high school newspaper, but that was about it.  I didn’t know what to expect at The Daily Aztec, but I soon realized its roster of reporters was impressive. It included such names as Daniel Weintraub, who would go on to cover politics for the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee and Orange County Register, in addition to being a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. It included Tina Susman, who would go on to cover the end of Apartheid in South Africa and the war in Iraq and who would find herself kidnapped by Somali pirates during a career that sent her to the Associated Press, Newsday and the Los Angeles Times. And it included award-winning columnists such as the Register’s Frank Mickadeit, and award-winning copy editors such as The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Robert Krier.

Jimmy Carter was still in the White House when I first stepped into the cramped Daily Aztec offices, furnished, it seemed, with desks and chairs that no other department would take and decorated with cartoons and photographs that resembled something one might find in MAD Magazine. But in many ways, we were cutting edge. The industry at the time was still using typewriters. Cutting and pasting still meant cutting with scissors copy typed onto sheets of paper and pasting them with glue in a puzzle-like fashion if you had an urge to rearrange some paragraphs. At the Daily Aztec, though, we had already begun to move to computers – a profound development that raised eyebrows at some of the papers advertising jobs for which I would later apply.

The two years – including one as the editorial page editor – at The Daily Aztec were my most memorable at SDSU. At times Animal House-ish but always ready to do business, we had skills. We were close. And many of us remain close to this day.

The Daily Aztec provided me with my first paying job as a journalist, and it help set me up for a career that spanned more than three decades and continues to this day. It is a career that included reporting and editing gigs at some of Southern California’s larger newspapers, including 11 years as an assistant metro editor at The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The industry has changed profoundly since I first stepped into the cluttered Daily Aztec offices, and I now run my own communications business. But I’ve returned to Montezuma Mesa as a mentor to a new generation of Daily Aztec’ers who will make our accomplishments seem minor.


David Ogul, Class of 1981, worked for a number of Southern California newspapers after graduating from San Diego State University with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. He now runs his own communications/editing/web-content company, Ogul Communications. He is married and has three children. His wife and a son also attended SDSU.

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