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Introducing CALIFORNIA Magazine’s New Editor-in-Chief, Pat Joseph

September 14, 2018

Pat Joseph has been promoted to Editor-in-Chief of CALIFORNIA, the award-winning publication of the Cal Alumni Association (CAA). He succeeds Wendy Miller, who retired in July. Of her former colleague, Miller says, “Pat joined the organization a week before I did and we worked closely all those years to produce a quality print magazine and website. He understands that creating a great alumni magazine—one with the right blend of tradition and innovation expressed through compelling storytelling and imagery—means mobilizing and inspiring a dedicated team.” Miller adds, “I think he has the leadership and vision to lead such a team.”

Joseph first joined CALIFORNIA in 2008 after many years as an editor and freelance journalist with credits in publications including The Atlantic, National Geographic Adventure, Scientific American, Smithsonian, and VQR. In addition to his magazine work he was also, for many years, a syndicated columnist for Universal Press Syndicate, where he wrote about outdoor sports and adventure travel.

Before coming to CAA, Joseph, a former Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism, served as Current Affairs Editor at the Sierra Club in San Francisco. Previous editorial jobs included stints at Computer Life and The Net magazines.

“…we like to say ‘All roads lead to Berkeley.’ Name any topic or issue in the news and we can almost guarantee you there’s some kind of Berkeley con­nection.”

Joseph graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in English. After college he traveled extensively, working various jobs to finance his adventures, including teaching English in Japan and Colombia, bartending and selling climbing gear.

He did not make it to Berkeley until 1994, but it was love at first sight.

“I just remember this gorgeous weather, the view of the Bay, the smell of eucalyptus in the air, all these beautiful young people on the campus and thinking, ‘Man, I could live here!’”

As it happens, he arrived that day driving an old Volkswagen bus, the engine of which he’d rebuilt using a book called How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Step-by-Step Manual for the Compleat Idiot. Little did he know that he’d one day write about the author of that book–a mechanic by the name of John Muir—for CALIFORNIA.

Founders' Rock on UC Berkeley campus
Founders’ Rock on UC Berkeley campus | Photo: Pat Joseph

“We were putting together a bug-themed issue, and, in addition to stories about entomology and virology, I wanted to somehow get Volkswagen Beetles in there. So, on a whim, I did some research at Doe and sure enough, Muir, whose book was a cult classic with VW owners everywhere, had a Berkeley degree in engineering.”

Moments like that keep the job endlessly interesting, says Joseph. “At the magazine, we like to say ‘All roads lead to Berkeley.’ Name any topic or issue in the news and we can almost guarantee you there’s some kind of Berkeley connection. And, often as not, it’s a crucial one. That’s what allows us to be a truly general-interest magazine. We’re not just about the world of Berkeley but also about Berkeley in the world.”

Although he didn’t go to Cal, Joseph has become intimately familiar with campus and its environs in his ten years at the magazine, exploring hidden corners from the Bancroft’s Mark Twain Archives to Founders’ Rock, the lonely outcropping at heart of Berkeley’s naming. “It’s a big campus and students are generally too busy to explore it. Part of our job is acquainting alumni with aspects of the University they never experienced firsthand. That’s a pretty great gig.”

Asked about his ambitions for the magazine going forward, Joseph says, “I’m not big on mission statements, but this comes close: If you’re a Cal alum, I want you to be proud this is your magazine. If you didn’t go to Cal and you pick up the magazine, I want you to wish you had.”

Here’s a selection of Joseph’s writing at