Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, April 19, 2018

Letter from the editor: A year well spent

Kate Magill reflects on her year as The Eagle’s editor-in-chief

Letter from the editor: A year well spent

Kate Magill, The Eagle's editor-in-chief for 2016-2017. 

I had a lot of concerns when I took on the position of editor-in-chief of The Eagle last April. When I accepted the role after a great deal of thought, I worried about my ability to lead an entire staff, making the wrong decisions under pressure and about being overworked.

Twelve months later, I’m not sure that I always made the best decisions or had a flawless leadership style, and I know I’ve been overworked. But I am sure that taking on this job was the right decision. 

Serving as editor-in-chief was every bit as tiring and, at times, frustrating as former editors warned me it would be, however it was also the most rewarding experience of my time at AU. The job affirmed my passion for journalism and allowed me to help improve the student organization that gave me a voice and a home in college. Most importantly, it brought me to a group of hardworking and caring people, who I consider myself unbelievably lucky to have led. 

Together, this amazing bunch of people took on a tumultuous year of news with me, covering everything from the presidential inauguration to local crime to a new University president. We revamped our culture section to go from “Scene” to “Life” to bring in new content. And we pushed ourselves to be more dogged reporters, going after difficult stories and working to hold those in power accountable. 

I asked The Eagle staff to try a lot of new things this year -- to dig deeper for stories, to push ourselves to have a larger digital presence and to work to make our paper as vital as possible to  AU’s campus life. 

Our staff, which has grown in both its physical size and its talents this year, not only took on these endeavors, but did so in ways I never could have imagined. Every day staff members amazed me with new ideas and approaches to stories and projects. They engrained in me the notion that no one accomplishes anything alone. None of the goals I set for The Eagle could have been achieved without these people, a few of whom I’d especially like to shout out. 

Courtney Rozen, thank you for bringing your passion and diligence into the newsroom every day. Your own dedication to your job helped keep me dedicated on days when I wanted to give up, and the empathy and care you show to all of your reporters is something I try to emulate as a leader. I have every confidence that you are going to bring all of these talents to your role as editor-in-chief next year, and it is because of this that I know I am leaving the paper in the best possible hands. 

Arielle Weg, thank you for showing me what it means to set, execute and accomplish a goal. You wanted to rebrand our Scene section into something new, and you’ve done so successfully. I’m so proud of all the work you’ve accomplished to push our paper in new directions.

Chris Young, thank you for jumping in head first as our adviser this year. You came to AU at a time when our campus was on unsettled ground, and you’ve helped guide our staff through the hardest days. Thank you for your unflinching support and advocacy for not only The Eagle, but all of student media. 

And finally, thank you to my right hand gal Haley Samsel. Thank you for being my sounding board for new ideas, my griping buddy on long days and for showing me the humor in even the darkest moments. Without you, I would never have been able to do this job. You’ve furthered The Eagle as a digital publication and as a student organization in more ways than I can describe, and I am forever grateful for that. 

These people, along with so many others, raised the standards of The Eagle this year, making us more present and vital on campus than ever before. Together we were able to accomplish new feats and to produce content that left a real impact on the community. 

There is still more I’d like to see from The Eagle in the future. I want to see it fully take hold of being a multi-platform digital publication and I want to see the staff tackle more investigative pieces. I want to see the organization continue to diversify the content we produce, bringing in voices from all corners of our community, and I want to see our staff continue to grow and evolve to be even more welcoming and inclusive to all students. 

Our work as journalists and as a student group is never over, and so I hope that The Eagle’s future leaders take on some of these goals. I know the paper’s next leaders, beginning with Courtney, will work tirelessly to accomplish not only these objectives but so many more.

Four years since joining The Eagle, I’ve lost track of the number of hours I’ve spent in the windowless office in MGC 252, or the number of stories I’ve edited and pestering phone calls I’ve made to sources. What stands out to me now is the impact we can make as student journalists, the knowledge I’ve gained in reporting and in life and the friendships I’ve formed. 

The Eagle provides a home to so many students, and as I get ready to say goodbye to this group and think of how much in life is still uncertain, I am sure of how grateful I am to have found my place here. 

kmagill@theeagleonline.com


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