Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Letter from the editor: Thank you for the experience of a lifetime

Farewell from Courtney Rozen, The Eagle's outgoing editor-in-chief

Letter from the editor: Thank you for the experience of a lifetime

Be discreet when meeting President-Designate Sylvia Burwell – you don’t want to accidentally leak her name before her announcement as president. When covering a devastating campus event, don’t forget to sleep and limit your caffeine intake. Someone will always criticize you or the paper – don’t let them rattle you. Most importantly, order pizza for the staff as often as possible. They will be more likely to help when news breaks on a Friday afternoon.

These are all lessons learned at The Eagle that I’ll never forget.

Three years ago, I walked through the doors of Mary Graydon Center 252 for the first time. After stints as a reporter, student life editor and managing editor for news, I took on the role of editor-in-chief a year ago. It was the best decision I made in college.

This year, our staff published several in-depth stories, including one about an underground fraternity and another about six female professors accusing the provost of discrimination. We owned our breaking news coverage – reporting AU’s fast-moving stories accurately, quickly and with insight. Our sports team covered the women’s basketball team’s rise to the NCAA Tournament expertly. Our Life team deepened its reporting and multimedia skills, launching our first online-only special project on Valentine’s Day that combined text, video and web design.

We improved our online presence tremendously. In addition to refining our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, we relaunched our email newsletter and started sending email news alerts. We dedicated more resources to video and graphic design, which helped us publish online-only special projects that will serve as a model for future enterprise stories.

We challenged ourselves constantly to become a more inclusive student organization and newspaper. We started by creating a diversity and inclusion committee and inviting speakers to teach us about representation in journalism. We redesigned our recruiting efforts to broaden our reach to all students, not just those in the School of Communication. Our opinion team launched Identities, a bi-weekly column for students from underrepresented backgrounds to write authentically about their experiences at AU. We critiqued our own coverage and identified missteps in covering communities of color. To improve, we built stronger relationships with identity-based clubs. While The Eagle is far from perfect with diversity and inclusion, I’m confident that we’re in a better place than we were a year ago.

Not only did a year as editor-in-chief cement my passion for journalism, it gave me an opportunity to give back to my home in college. It brought me to a group of people that I’m incredibly lucky to have met.

To Haley, Nick, Vince, Emily, Anna, Taameen, Alyssa, Anthony and Jack, thank you for being our fearless managing editor team. You each pushed yourselves – and your sections – to grow and improve. Thank you for your dedication, commitment and energy. I hope we get to work together again one day.

Chris Young, thank you for always having The Eagle’s back. I don’t know what we’d do without you. Thank you for being our advocate always – even when others disagree – and for inspiring me to love journalism.

Amy Eisman and John Watson, thank you for all of your advice and support. The Eagle is lucky to have you and the entire community of professors in the School of Communication.

To Kate, Shannon, Arielle, Ellie and Haley, thank you for being my circle of empowering women. Whether you’re near or far, I know I can always count on you.

To Amanda, thank you for being my unwaveringly supportive friend and The Eagle’s cheerleader. I’m so grateful for you.

Thank you to my parents for believing in me always. You first encouraged me to take on this role. I know I wouldn't have been able to do it without you.

And finally, to Haley: thank you for being my reporting buddy, sounding board and friend. The Eagle is incredibly lucky to have you as its next leader.

In three years at The Eagle, I’ve lost track of the intricate details of my days here. However, I’ll always remember how this newsroom shaped me as a reporter and led to lasting friendships. To our staff, your tenacity and enthusiasm inspires me daily. I firmly believe that many of you will be leaders in professional newsrooms one day. As I wrap up an incredible year, thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime. I can’t wait to cheer you on forever.

crozen@theeagleonline.com


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