He was editor-in-chief of Spectator and had a flourishing career in journalism before returning to academia in his fifties to study for a graduate degree in PoliSci. Two events stand out during his period at the Spec. In 1934, he reported on the anti-Semitic incident that took place at that year's Purim dance, over the objections of Jewish students worried it would only damage their reputation. He also led a group of northern students in a protest against the mistreatment of black students during a student journalism conference at the then-segregated Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. This impressed an editor for the New York Times so much that young Beichman was given a gig as freelancer for the paper right out of college.
Around 1939 and 1940, while Beichman was still working in journalism, he maintained a bet with economist Milton Friedman, studying at Columbia, that the Second World War would be a "phony war" that would last just six months. They bet a quarter; Friedman won.
As the years progressed Beichman became closer to several New York intellectuals affiliated with Columbia, including Lionel Trilling, and operated a sort of salon out of his apartment. This influenced his decision to return to school.
He recalls that, during his oral examinations, he was not asked anything about the books he was assigned to read, only about events taking place in Czechoslovakia at the time, the spring of 1968. He then commenced his dissertation research on the British Conservative Party, spending a semester in the UK. During this period, when he, his wife, and his children were all in school, he claims to have supported his family entirely by playing the stock market.
He occasionally returns to Columbia to consult the oral history collection in Butler Library.