Breaking News: the Seniors Are Awesome

From a distance, this season can look all too familiar. There are the usual award ceremonies and invitations to events piling up. But when you look more closely, there is nothing repetitive about it. In fact, each season of graduation is especially unique. And there is no group more unique than the editors who are wrapping up Spectrum for their last time.

While keeping to the honorable traditions of the paper and of professional journalism, each senior has left a mark and put a stamp of individuality on the whole team and the publication itself.

For example, take photography – a visual record of Sacred Heart at this moment in time. Bella Fabbo has led her staff to make it real, whether it’s grabbing a post off Instagram or snapping a scene in a TAP performance. What’s more, in order to train novice photojournalists, Bella has had to call on her own know-how and experience, from what’s a good photo angle to how to craft a caption.

But the work of matching word and image is just part of the story. You need to have readers. Lots of them. That’s where the public relations managers come in. Alena Kladis brought her skills as an influencer in her own right to train her staff to make compelling social media content. As vital as online efforts are in selling the reasons for reading Spectrum, the push has to also come from in-person actions. If you’ve passed through the hallway in HC on certain days, you’ve surely seen the efforts of Kayla Kutch who’s applied her years of experience promoting SET to creating energetic table times for Spectrum.

Speaking of selling Spectrum, it’s not just to readers but to advertisers too. That challenging task went to Nick Meachen. He built up Spectrum’s ad sales after the lean pandemic years. He did it with the professionalism of a Welch College business student and through the legwork of reaching out to longtime sponsors – thank you Hansen’s – and of forging relationships with new ones.

Still, newspapers by their very essence are about reporting and writing. Especially the front page. Deciding what’s newsworthy, who to assign the story to, and how to finish it off with detailed editing are just some of the tasks that Erin Clark has been doing all year. A student government pro, Erin has an innate sense of what’s important and what it takes to turn top stories into go-to content.

Does a story belong in news or features? That’s one of the things Isabel Haglund and Geraldine Paglia considered each week. In a campus full of activities and interesting people, discerning what fits with a flexible section is key. Who are the students on campus who know how to fill out a tax return and which ones can write poems to stir audiences? Just by reading one page in features, you can find the answers to both questions.

There is one area where you’re sure to know what’s going to be covered: sports. Sports is about sports. But with so many types on campus, it’s been up to Jake Cardinale and Victor DiPierro to decide what to include that week and what, sorry to say, there’s no room for. Jake has been with Spectrum throughout his time in college and Victor came

on board after one semester in the 211 class. With their mutual love of sports, they work together to cover the big stuff – major games, what alumnus has a cool job with what major network – as well as the niche sports that show the thrilling range of athletes. Sports may be a lot about winning and losing, but the sports section itself is always a winner.

One concern remains about writing sections: What will Taylor Swift do? Now that A & E editor Alanna Wunsch is graduating – a Swiftie who even got an impossible ticket to the Eras Tour – will the new editors give the superstar enough coverage? Most likely, just as Alanna did, A & E will continue to feature the awesome work of the performing arts on campus, the best new movies, and even other popular singers. Olivia Rodrigo, anyone?

Still, a lot of critical work gets done behind the scenes. Enter Meg Harkins and Sarah Margerison, the copy editors. Is the comma in the right place, does the sentence structure hold, will the photo match the article – this is their world. They are among the last people to see the paper before it goes to print. If you’ve read a story and recognized good grammar and smooth organization, know that Meg and Sarah had a hand in it.

I always end my review with a nod to the editor-in-chief, sometimes using the famous quote “the buck stops here.” But not this time. You can’t put Brendan Williams and the word “stop” in the same sentence. Brendan is always in motion. Whether he’s chasing down candidates for governor to get an interview or heading off to Rockefeller Center to intern at MSNBC, Brendan has the news on his mind and in his heart. He leads a staff of more than 50 editors and writers. When it comes to every part of the publication, he means business. When it comes to managing people, he embodies consideration and warmth. Working with him, you’re as likely to enjoy a smile and a laugh as you are to mull a headline or a quote. Brendan is inventive (see the new campus life section), he’s serious (see the tough topics on the front pages) and he’s the kind of leader that the future of journalism needs in order to keep it relevant and respected.

I’ll miss you guys. And I will always remain grateful that, as each of you has benefitted from the past editors, you too have led the way for the unique group that follows.

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