New cohort of editors takes lead at the Daily

Monday, December 12, 2016 - 10:54pm

As the semester comes to a close, a new class of editors at The Michigan Daily are preparing to take the helm of their respective sections for the 2017 calendar year. The editor in chief and editorial managing page editors were elected in a staff-wide election, and section editors were chosen through elections within their own sections. The editor of the Statement, the Daily’s weekly longform magazine, as well as the managing editor, were chosen by the paper’s Management Desk.

In interviews, the incoming editor class as a whole all emphasized multimedia innovation and building community across the paper.

LSA junior Emma Kinery, incoming editor in chief, has served as a senior news editor, a member of the paper’s innovation team and a writer for both Arts and the Statement along with news. Kinery said she looks forward to expanding digital content and bolstering cross-section relationships within the Daily.

“That looks like putting out more videos each day and driving more readership to our website,” she said. “I just want to make the Daily a place where people want to come and can gain valuable skills.”

Incoming managing editor Rebecca Lerner, an LSA junior, also emphasized fostering staff community, stressing the importance of ensuring representation of a greater diverse set of voices.

“One of my main initiatives for the upcoming semester is increasing diversity and reaching out to student organizations, putting faces to the name ‘The Michigan Daily,’ ” she said. “We have definitive plans to make 420 Maynard a home away from home for more students on campus, particularly students of marginalized identities.”

LSA sophomore Alexa St. John, who will serve as managing news editor, similarly highlighted her focus on inclusion on news staff next year. St. John also prioritized publishing news online throughout the day, as opposed to editing the bulk of stories in the evening.

“I hope to be publishing during the day like many other news organizations, in the hopes of advancing our readership and credibility as a publication,” she said. “From a personal standpoint, as a sophomore in this position, I hope to show what I am capable of even as a younger managing editor. I know it is going to be a wonderful year with fantastic content, furnished by the dedication and passion of our staff.”

Like Lerner, new editorial page editors Anna Polumbo-Levy and Rebecca Tarnopol, an LSA junior and sophomore, want to broaden the spectrum of political and social views featured in the opinion section. To that end, Polumbo-Levy and Tarnopol plan to introduce a new recruitment chair to draw from more student groups.

“We’re really focused on diversifying our writers,” Polumbo-Levy said.

Tarnopol also said she anticipated moving the opinion section toward new mediums of storytelling.

“We want to expand to a web-based platform, and start a podcast for opinion in general,” she said.

Incoming managing design editors Ava Weiner and Michelle Phillips, an LSA sophomore and freshman, also look forward to improving digital graphics.

“Since I have been at Michigan, the Daily has allowed me to continue gaining experience while being part of such a special team,” Weiner wrote in an email interview. “As Managing Design Editor, Michelle and I plan to focus on working more closely with web in the coming year.”

Heading the web team, Bob Lesser and Dylan Lawton, an Engineering sophomore and senior, respectively, noted the importance of their section in context of the overall paper.

“We definitely have the team and the tools necessary to push forward and try new things,” Lawton said.

Lesser highlighted in particular a data compilation of grade distribution in LSA courses published by the web team in November, which remains the most read story on the Daily website a month later.

“It shows how much of a desire there is in the University for this data perspective and the interactive perspective,” he said. “We’ll make the Daily more digital, but also more personalized to the specifics of what students and faculty want.”

LSA juniors Taylor Grandinetti and Biz Dokas and LSA senior Danielle Jackson will share the title of copy chief next year, and want to update style rules to reflect a more diverse readership.

“We’re really focusing on the effect that our words have on our readership,” Dokas wrote in an email interview. “Our whole job revolves around following rules and since we now have the opportunity to change some of those rules, we really want to focus on updating some pre-existing, weaker ones: how we refer to and describe various disabilities and making the style on identities (especially of minorities) and their titles stronger and more uniform, among other things.”

As incoming managing arts editors, LSA sophomore Natalie Zak and LSA junior Anay Katyal look forward to harvesting “untapped potential” in the Arts section through more experimental material.

“Our plans are ambitious,” Zak wrote in an email interview. “We hope to change the B-Side and produce more innovative and creative content than we’ve seen before.”

LSA sophomores Ashley Tjhung and Jason Rowland will lead Michigan in Color next year, and want to implement more organization structure into the section, which is dedicated to telling the stories of marginalized students on campus.

“In the past, it’s sometimes taken weeks for a piece to go from contributor to published, so we’re hoping to streamline that process,” Tjhung wrote in an email interview. “It’s nothing too sexy but it’s mainly just organizational work so MiC can continue to grow as a section in the future.”

New managing photo editors Amelia Cacchione and Emma Richter, both LSA sophomores, hope to integrate other sections’ digital goals with engaging content from Daily photographers.

“Our plan for next year is to keep developing the presence of photos within the Daily, particularly for the website and digital media,” Cacchione wrote in an email interview.

LSA juniors Kevin Santo and Betelhem Ashame, who will lead the sports section, said they look to cultivate writers’ growth as managing editors.

“We’re aiming to implement video content, hold workshops that would help our writers and editors grow, and create a new editor position that would allow new writers to transition easily into the sports section,” Santo said. “Our section has grown to become a second family to the both of us, and the importance of that can’t be stressed enough.”

Incoming social media editor Ellie Homant, an LSA junior, said she plans to use web analytics to expand the Daily’s presence on online platforms.

“Analytics are extremely useful for telling us what kind of content our readers are interested in so we can make more posts that our readers will enjoy,” Homant said. “I also aim to expand the live coverage we offer to readers, specifically using Facebook Live.”

Similiar to the photo editors, LSA sophomore Abe Lofy said he looks forward to heading the video section and integrating content into other sections’ work.

“There is a huge potential for the Daily to move further into the digital age and I’m excited for the opportunity to help lead this transition,” he said.

LSA junior Lara Moehlman, who will lead the Statement weekly magazine, echoed other sections’ goals in focusing on social media and extensive coverage.

“I’m really excited about expanding social media presence,” she said. “I also want to spend more time on investigative research and plan out longform stories that dig deeper into issues on this campus.”