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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Reflections on a year in the trenches

Published: December 9, 2011
Section: Features

Volume eight of The Brandeis Hoot doesn’t look like the other volumes.

The paper itself is brighter, the dot gain finer, the text tighter and the masthead considerably longer.

But one thing hasn’t changed: The Hoot’s mission as always is to strive to be a source of “deep, insightful, meaningful news coverage and commentary about interests of direct concern to Brandeis students, staff, faculty and alumni.”

Thanks to the work of a dedicated staff of editors, writers and photographers who have taken risks and put in countless hours of their time, our young newspaper has become—in a word—consistent. Whether or not you agree with our articles, you’ve had a chance to pick up a copy of 26 issues of The Hoot, each filled with news and feature stories, opinion columns and coverage of campus arts and sports.

My hope is that you have enjoyed what you have read; that you have judged us not on our promises but on our product; and that, as The Hoot moves into its ninth volume, its value to the campus community only continues to grow.

I joined The Brandeis Hoot’s fifth volume the second week of my first year. I began covering the news, including Student Union elections, Union Judiciary trials and the now infamous closing of The Rose Art Museum.

Prospective students take notice: From the beginning, The Hoot gave me some pretty incredible experiences. Among my favorite interviews, I have spoken with the late Ted Sorensen, Justice Richard Goldstone, former Governor Howard Dean, President Fred Lawrence and, just last week, Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy.

I’ve also taken full advantage of the opportunity to write what is on my mind. When dorm rooms all around me were flooding, when new student fees were to be introduced, when obnoxious protesters interrupted high-profile campus speakers and when I realized that I was paying double for a six-ounce yogurt at the C-Store, I was able to share my concerns with the community.

Thursday nights became Hoot nights. As a first-year, I delved right into helping with production, which in practice meant standing over Max Price’s shoulder as he painstakingly pasted together the articles of the former Diverse City section onto an old Dell computer that never quite did what you wanted it to do. I believed then and still believe that layout is the source of the brunt of the editorial message of a newspaper, cueing readers to what’s most important. The prominence of articles; the size of headlines, bylines and captions; and the use of accompanying photos all contribute to how the community learns about the news.

Of course, The Hoot has been The Hoot only because of the individuals—my friends—who have dedicated so much to the paper.

As volume eight draws to a close, I’d like to thank them one more time.

The news section, led by Jon Ostrowsky and Nathan Koskella, with the help of Debby Brodsky, Josh Kelly and Connor Novy; the arts section led by Sean Fabery and Candice Bautista with the help of Alex Patch; the copy editing section led by Yael Katzwer (who tells me she reads every word in the paper, and I somehow still believe her) and Savannah Pearlman with the help of Suzannah Yu; the impressions section led by Morgan Gross and carefully put together by Emily Stott; the sports section led by Gordy Stillman and Brian Tabakin; the photography section led by Ingrid Schulte and Nafiz “Fizz” Ahmed, with the help of the flexible schedules of Alan Tran, Nate Rosenbloom, Paula Hoekstra, Haley Fine and Lien Phung; the graphics section led by Steven Wong; the back page led by Alana Blum; and of course the features section, website, social media and something else, all diligently organized by Leah Finkelman.

A more personal thank you to editors who have left their mark: Leah Lefkowitz, Vanessa Kerr, Max Shay, Bret Matthew, Alison Channon, Danielle Gewurz, Hannah Vickers, Max Price, Kayla Dos Santos, Adam Hughes, Sri Kuehnlenz, and of course, our current alumni coordinator, Ariel Wittenberg.

We also have a long list of committed staff members published each week in this paper, all of whom deserve thank yous.

A special thank you also to the business editor and the social events committee, whoever you think you are, and to all those who actually learned AP style and used it.

Of course, the close of this volume isn’t an end by any means. Volume eight might have been an improvement, but I’m betting on volume nine.