In the fall of 2018 I moved to Plattsburgh from Anchorage, Alaska to attend SUNY Plattsburgh. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know the area, I just knew I wanted to study journalism. At the beginning of the semester, I sent out emails to all the campus publications, asking how to get involved. Ben Watson, the editor in chief of Cardinal Points at the time, was the only one to respond. That Monday, he and the rest of the editorial board enthusiastically welcomed me to my first meeting. Emma Vallelunga, who was the news editor at the time, immediately drew me in and gave me my first story assignment, covering the study abroad fair. I had no idea what I was doing, but I know Vallelunga could tell based on the email she sent me later that outlined every single step of writing an article. A year later I moved on to be FUSE editor, then FUSE and managing, then EIC.
Before I came to CP, I knew I wanted to be a journalist, but I didn’t really know why. CP has helped me figure that out. Being a journalist is about constantly learning new things. Every day you have the opportunity to hear someone’s story, go to events you would have never thought to, look into what your administration and government are doing and bring that information to your community. Journalism is about making information accessible to everyone, so they can build their own thoughts and opinions on the world around them. That is what we do at CP every day, and that is why I am a journalist.
I learned the majority of my most important journalist lessons so far at Cardinal Points. Getting over interviewing anxiety, learning what questions to ask, learning how to tell what information needs to be high up in stories, taking and giving criticism. But aside from the practical skills Cardinal Points has given me, it has also given me some of my closest friends. I will always cherish my memories of late nights in the office, going on trips for conferences and Shawn Murphy’s critiques. Finding a group of people you can get huge amounts of work done with, and done well, throughout the week and then still wanting to spend your free time together is rare and I feel extremely lucky to have found it with the CP e-board.
I am grateful to have had mentors like Fernando Alba, Windsor Burkland, Mataeo Smith and Emma Vallelunga. They were all older and more experienced than me when I first became an editor but made me feel welcome and capable the entire time. Seeing their incredibly different leadership and writing styles helped me find my own.
Our adviser Murphy has also been a great inspiration to me. He is one of the most consistent and reliable people I have ever met. He has given more to this paper than most understand. He works incredibly hard to make sure the students who run CP have the freedom and independence they need to do so. CP is truly student-run and Murphy helps make that possible by being our greatest critic and our greatest advocate.
Every EIC hopes they leave the paper in a good place and in capable hands that will keep the paper moving in the right direction. There is no doubt in my mind next semester’s e-board will be able to do this. The editors who will be sticking around, Olivia Bousquet, Sydney Hakes and Jessica Johnson, are some of the most hardworking, dedicated and passionate people I have met in the journalism department, and I know they will do amazing entering their CPO era.