"Wanna buy a Barb?"

© Robert Altman

Max Scherr
Editor, Berkeley Barb

Max was my editor at the Berkeley Barb from 1967 to 1971. He was about 51 in August, 1965, when he decided Berkeley needed a newspaper to reflect the changes fomented by the Free Speech Movement. We certainly weren't going to get anything but the ultra-conservative party line from the Berkeley Gazette. So Max started writing articles and soliciting additional scripts from his friends. His minimum print run was 1000 papers, which he tried to sell for ten cents each.

By mid-1966, Max was a fixture on Telegraph Avenue, wandering through coffee shops like the Meditteraneum and Forum, cajoling people into spending a dime for his weekly notes from the underground. There were times when Max barely made expenses. There were also times when he blew the competition away, like the first color edition in May, 1967, which sold 75,000 papers.

A great deal of what I know about being a journalist came from Max. He and Robert W. Wettleson, my news teacher in high school, were from the old school of "STOP THE GODDAM PRESSES!" journalism. The pissants who pass for journalists and reporters these days wouldn't have been able to carry the jocks of Max and RWW. I did so proudly.

Jef Jaisun

Much more to come...stay tuned.

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