From Cub to Chief


Spencer Serling, Editor-in-Chief

Spencer Serling, Editor-in-Chief

I had come home from the Scarsdale High School activities fair with nothing substantial to show for it, having spent most of my time signing my friends up for clubs I knew they would have no interest in but would receive countless emails from. At the urging of my mother to take things more seriously, I decided to join Scarsdale High School’s Maroon. Upon completion of the “Cub Course” that all reporters are required to take before officially joining, I officially became a staff member at the Maroon.

Whether it was writing a sandwich review about a local deli or covering one of SHS’s many varsity sports, my portfolio of bylines grew and my love for journalism expanded. As a child who sat on the floor of the kitchen reading the box scores in The New York Times’ Sports section, newspapers and journalism had always been an important part of my life. Despite the perception that journalism was on the decline and that reporters were a dying breed (a theory I debunked in a high school research paper), to contribute to the field was rewarding; I believed the work was important. Arriving at Colgate as a first-year in 2012, it made sense to continue the work I had completed over the last four years, so I quickly became a writer for The Colgate Maroon-News.

As a timid, scared first-year, there’s no way I would have believed that one day I would be Editor-in-Chief of the oldest college weekly in America, and yet here we are. After four years of countless Tuesday evenings spent on the third floor of the Hall of Presidents eating Slices and fixing oxford commas, my time has come to an end. I have written dozens of articles, edited hundreds of pages and still to this day cannot even tell you the difference between a widow and an orphan (but at least I know how to detect them!). That is not to say that working as a writer, reporter and editor for the last eight years has not taught me anything.

This year as Editor-in-Chief I have learned more than I could have imagined, not just about newspapers and journalism, but also the people and world around me. Being an editor at a college newspaper in this day and age is not an easy job, and dealing with sensitive issues has become a part of everyday life as a journalist on a college campus, both at Colgate and on other campuses across the country. What has become evident to me over the course of this year is the importance of freedom of the press and having your voice heard. A newspaper by and for the students, The Colgate Maroon-News is meant to reflect the opinions of the student body. As such, all opinions need to be heard and considered, no matter how uncomfortable they make you feel. Disagreeing with someone else’s opinion is human nature, but allowing their voice to be heard is important and necessary.

Going forward, it will be important for The Colgate Maroon-News to continue the work it has done this year. The avenue for the student body to have their voices heard regarding issues on campus and around the world is right in the Commentary section of this newspaper. It may seem unnatural to turn to what is perceived as the dying medium of print journalism to voice your opinion, but the changes newspapers around the world are making to engage with readers in the 21st century has revolutionized the industry. The article your friend may write appears in print in the Library Café around 4 p.m. on Thursday, but it also pops up an hour later on The Colgate Maroon-News website and then again a few hours later on your Facebook feed. Accessibility for newspapers is the key to combating the changes technology has forced upon the industry, and the ability of an organization to do so allows it to stay relevant in these times.

I look forward to being an avid reader of the Maroon-News next year and learning about student opinions regarding campus issues. An engaged and active student body is the indication of a healthy and thriving campus, and I believe Colgate is up to the task.