North Texas Daily

Letter from the editor: Open door, open communication

Letter from the editor: Open door, open communication

Letter from the editor: Open door, open communication
August 30
16:16 2019

If you would have told me two years ago when I transferred to UNT during my undergrad that I would have been Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily, I would have laughed.

I transferred to UNT from Tyler Junior College where I served as the Arts and Life Editor and later became the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The DrumBeat. I loved working for the paper, but I always struggled with my confidence when it came to my work. Little did I realize just how much of an effect my junior college experience would have on the rest of my college career.

During my first semester at UNT, I attempted to work for the Daily as an arts and life writer, however I quit after writing only a handful of stories. I blamed it on being overwhelmed with life essentially, but honestly, I didn’t feel good enough. I felt like an outsider and I didn’t like the vibes I got from some of the higher-ups on staff.

I rejoined the Daily when Alec Spicer first became Editor-in-Chief in Summer 2018 and decided to use it as a fresh start. The editorial board was completely new aside from him and I already had an idea of what kind of journalist he was. I knew I would be in good hands and I felt comfortable talking to the editors. I wrote for the news section that summer and started regaining my confidence. I moved over to the arts and life section that following fall and then worked as the Copy Chief (now called the Managing Editor) during spring of 2019.

I’m not saying these things to shade anyone, but I’m wanting to be honest. During my time as Editor-in-Chief, I want to make sure that no one feels the way I did when I first started. When interviewing the editorial board, I asked each of them what some of their expectations were for me as a boss and literally every single one of them said something along the lines of keeping open communication. As a result, something I’ve established that my previous editors didn’t have is office hours. As a grad student and someone that works another job outside of school, I have a pretty busy schedule, but I wanted to set this time aside to let both my staff and our audience know that I am an open door. Come see me, come talk to me and let’s work through whatever we need to. If you can’t reach me in office hours, contact me and we’ll schedule for another time.

That being said, I’m excited to see where we take the Daily this semester. One of the new positions we’ve created here (thanks to former Editor-in-Chief Jelani Gibson) is an illustrations editor. I feel that in the past, illustrations were rarely used outside the opinion section. A goal of mine with this position is for us to create a team of illustrators and expand our wings into other sections. I also want our illustrators to help make our covers pop.

Something else I’ve wanted to do was utilize our videographer more. My goal is for us to drop some kind of video weekly. These videos will either go in hand with and give us a closer look at a story we’re running in print or tease something that we’ll publish at a later date.

So far, one of the things that makes me the happiest is how diverse our staff is. When I first transferred, I felt like there was hardly any black people on staff. As a black woman that grew up in a predominantly white community as a child, I know just how important representation is. I felt like I didn’t belong then and I know that probably wasn’t the intention when I first started here, but that’s how I felt when I first started the Daily too. Over the years, our staff as grown and we now have people from multiple cultures and backgrounds working on the editorial board and volunteering.

Even though the semester just started, I’m already proud of my staff. This transition process hasn’t been the smoothest, but both paid and unpaid staff members have been incredibly patient and eager to work — and that’s all I can ask for in a team. I already know I’ll get a few gray hairs along the way, but I can’t wait to grow with everyone this fall.

Featured ImageEditor-in-Chief Rebecca Najera stands in the North Texas Daily office Aug. 28. Her office hours are noon – 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Image by Will Baldwin

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Rebecca Najera

Rebecca Najera

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