The Michigan Daily elects a new class of editors for 2012

By Jennifer Lee, Daily Staff Reporter
Published December 6, 2011

The Michigan Daily recently elected a new class of editors to manage the newspaper during the 2012 calendar year.

Every year, staff-wide elections are held to determine who will inherit the positions of editor in chief and editorial page editor. Sections such as news, arts, sports and photo elect their own editors while other positions — such as the managing editor and online editor — are appointed by the paper’s management desk, a group of about 30 editors.

This year, the Daily staff held an election that lasted until 6 a.m. to elect the paper’s new editor in chief, Public Policy junior Joseph Lichterman. Lichterman, who has been working at the Daily since his freshman year, said he is overjoyed to start his new job and will ensure that the newspaper is held to the best journalistic standards.

“As students at the University of Michigan, we have a unique perspective on what’s going on on-campus or (with) the athletic teams or the art scene,” he said. “And I really want to provide the campus community and Ann Arbor our unique perspective, and our authoritative coverage and really emphasize that, but also continue to emphasize how we deliver our content to our readers.”

Lichterman said he plans to focus more on social media, something that LSA senior Stephanie Steinberg, the Daily’s current editor in chief, pushed for during her term.

“I want to take that to the next level and really encourage every staff member to get a Twitter account, build up an audience and really become a brand and make themselves an authority on their beat, whether it be reviewing movies or covering City Council,” Lichterman said.

Like Lichterman, Business School sophomore Ashley Griesshammer and LSA sophomore Andrew Weiner were also elected next year’s co-editorial page editors by the entire Daily staff. Griesshammer said she and Weiner plan to bring increased diversity to the editorial staff to represent more viewpoints and make the opinion page more vibrant.

“To start, we’re being a lot more selective with our columnists and trying to find a much more diverse group of people coming from different schools on campus, different backgrounds and people that are going to talk about different topics and not have everyone write about politics every week,” Griesshammer said.

LSA senior Josh Healy, who was appointed the 2012 managing editor and is the current copy chief, said increasing staff diversity is a top priority. He added that he looks forward to working with the new class of editors.

“We’ve got some extremely strong talent around the paper right now, so the possibilities in terms of content and the quality that we’re going to be able to produce is pretty outstanding,” Healy said.

Public Policy junior Bethany Biron, who is currently a senior news editor, was elected managing news editor for the upcoming year. Biron said one of her top priorities is to improve communication not only within the news section but between all the sections in order to foster collaborative work.

“I’m very excited,” Biron said. “I’ve been on the news staff since freshman year, and I’ve loved every moment of it, and I can’t wait to stick around next year and see how the news section progresses and what we can do to make it better.”

The same level of dedication toward the paper was expressed by LSA junior Leah Burgin, a current senior arts editor and the next managing arts editor.

“I’m excited, but it also feels really natural because I love the Daily, and this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while to give back to the institution,” Burgin said.

She added that she intends to revamp the arts section of the website to cater more toward readers and to focus on the arts section’s community culture beat. Like Biron, Burgin said she intends to work on improving communication between arts and the other sections of the Daily.

LSA junior Stephen Nesbitt will continue his current position as managing sports editor into the next term. Nesbitt said the biggest challenge for the sports section has been striving to provide quality coverage across the board for the more than 25 sports at the University.

Nesbitt said the section has attracted many new reporters who have great potential to cover upcoming spring sports.

“I think we have some really good young talent that we want to keep around,” he said. “I’m really excited about the beat writers we have going right now. It should be a great semester with hockey, basketball, women’s basketball and all the spring sports coming into term.”

LSA juniors Jennifer Xu and Dylan Cinti were appointed co-editors for the paper’s weekly magazine The Statement. Xu said she wants to encourage more of a magazine community within the Daily by holding weekly Statement meetings and having more in-person reads between editors and writers.

Cinti said he will push for stories supported by data available through the use of Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. He said he looks forward to working with longer and more investigative stories that make use of multimedia.

“I’m really excited for next year because it’s much more of a visionary position,” Cinti said. “(There is) a lot more potential for integrating not only news, but also the visual component and the graphic component and making that emerge into something that’s really cool.”

Public Policy junior Zach Bergson was appointed online editor of the paper. LSA senior Sarah Squire currently holds the position under the title of web development manager.

Bergson will focus on multimedia, further developing the Daily’s website, overseeing the Daily’s blogs and managing the paper’s social media activity. Bergson said he is excited to take on the role of online editor, but also recognizes the level of innovation that will be required.

“It is daunting because the role is so new,” Bergson said. “There are certain things that I’m required to do, but a lot of it is just my own initiative. So for me, it’s a lot different than everyone else’s job because I don’t really have a set job.”

Art & Design and LSA sophomore Arjun Mahanti will be the managing design editor next year and Art & Design sophomore Alden Reiss and LSA sophomore Erin Kirkland will be the co-managing photo editors. Reiss said a big initiative for the photo staff next year is to redevelop its blog and Twitter account, which are currently inactive.

LSA senior Christine Chun and LSA sophomore Hannah Poindexter, next semester’s co-copy chiefs, both said they want to expand the copy section by copy editing more stories from different sections. The copy section currently reads all news and Statement content, as well as some articles in the opinion and arts sections.

Poindexter described plans to establish a program centered on exchanging feedback with reporters about the changes the copy section makes to their stories in order to help them develop as writers.

—None of the Daily staffers named in this report edited this article.