The end of the spring semester at NEIU is usually the herald of change here at the Independent. Our senior staff usually graduate and move on to their lives beyond college, which gives way to a breed of new staff. And with this staff comes fresh ideas and renewed commitment to the values of the paper. It’s a process I’ve seen occur and been a part of over my last two years as an Indie.
In that time, I’ve made my way from staff writer, to senior staff writer and to news editor. This time around I’ve somehow conned my way into the position of Editor-in-Chief. It’s a surreal feeling, knowing that I’ll be in charge of one of the school’s oldest orgs, if not THE oldest. We have issues in our archives that date back to the 1950s. And it’s not a responsibility I take lightly.
Most new writers that come into the office may not have the same first impression I had when I walked in. “Wow, what a bunch of weirdoes,” was literally the first thought when I had when I had my first meeting.
I didn’t know it at the time, but meeting those “weirdoes” would end up being my most singular life changing experience.
The people who choose to work at the Independent are not only some of the most talented individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, they are some of the most caring, supportive, and good-willed people I’ve ever met. And even with new staff coming every semester and old staff leaving, that remains the Independent’s strongest asset.
That’s why I know that I have a responsibility to create a product that we can be proud of every two weeks. I owe it not just to the hard working Indies who write, edit and layout this rag, but to you, the reader. Whether you’re a student, professor, staffer or member of administration, our promise is the same:
We will never be anyone’s cheerleader. Nor will we ever print a teardown piece. We will be 100 percent accountable to you, the readers. Our alliance will always be on the side of the truth.
Over my last year as News Editor, I’ve made a concerted effort to have news stories that aren’t just rewrites of articles you see on CNN or the New York Times, but stories that are centered around NEIU.
These are stories you won’t find anywhere else. It’s undoubtedly harder work creating content that needs footwork, interviewing and fact checking, but we’ve come a long way from the time our own university’s president said at a public meeting she would not use the Independent as a “source of reliable information.”
I’d argue now that we are one of the school’s most reliable sources of information. My replacement as News Editor, Emmanuel Gonzalez, without a doubt shares a fervor for journalism as I do. He will keep that momentum going. He of course will be assisted by our team of talented section editors, much in the same way I was over the last year.
We’re also going to be more accessible to you. We’ve recently revived our website at Neiuindependent.org, and we’re planning to do a relaunch by the fall semester. We are also planning to be more present on social media. Readers will be able to “like” us on Facebook, tweet at us, and share the stories that matter to them more readily.
I invite anyone remotely interested in media of any sort to apply to the Independent. We’re always looking for journalists, photographers and graphic designers to help out. Not only will you gain some practical experience, but I sincerely believe that this newspaper is home to some of the best people you will ever meet. You can quote me on that.
I can’t imagine life at NEIU without the Independent. It’s my hope that you feel the same.