Alumni Newsletter

Mattingly: From the editor’s desk

Like so many of you, I remember my first time entering The Daily Orange. I was a first-semester freshman attending an open house in a shirt and tie. Unaware of the legacy, I became enthralled — fascinated by how one house could pack so much history into a small space.

Now I’m a senior and every day I’m reminded of the rich tradition The D.O. carries as I look at the walls, correspond with alumni and dig through the archives.

Hanging on above the EIC desk is the message D.O. alumna Heather Irvine (‘09) shared on social media soon after the news came out this summer that Syracuse University plans to demolish 744 Ostrom Ave. as part of a major infrastructure initiative.

I’ve named the message “The Reason” because it is alumni like Heather, and like you, who inspire us to keep the legacy alive. Whether The D.O. remains at 744 Ostrom — our home since 1983 — or is forced to move elsewhere, I promise you: we will continue the mission of producing the same vital, independent journalism we’ve been doing for the past 113 years.

The housing situation has been my main focus since taking the helm in May. It’s been priority No. 1 during what has been five action-packed months of big news stories, a new general manager and the launch of the latest fundraising campaign.

The D.O. Board of Directors is currently addressing the situation at an administrative level. A task force assessing The D.O.’s housing future is in the works; we’ve met with key university officials, including Chancellor Kent Syverud; and we’ve started a project to retrace the many locations The D.O. has been housed in since the paper’s inception in 1903.

When we first learned of the university’s intentions in June, we put out a call for comments on the plan. The overwhelming support from alumni and staff pushed the issue onto the university’s radar and it has been brought up at numerous Campus Framework forums. SU still plans to demolish 744 Ostrom in the name of student housing, but an updated draft of the Framework will be disclosed in January. More information on The D.O.’s efforts and the plan can be found here.

Because the university’s plan is years away from completion, we decided to launch another wish list campaign to raise funds needed to help cover the cost of financial independence while investing in larger projects, like the development of an app and the digitization of The D.O. archives.

The D.O. is in a good spot financially compared to other college newspapers, with much of it due to the foresight of former general manager Pete Waack in the late 2000s. Our new general manager, Mike Dooling, has been a great addition to the paper and has provided stability in the aftermath of Waack’s departure. With that said, we still need outside support to help fund the basics and to move forward with strategic projects.

On the editorial side of the paper, it’s already been busy. We started the 2016-17 academic year with an extensive look at new Syracuse football coach Dino Babers and the offense he brought with him to the Hill. The D.O. broke news of a federal investigation into the university for its handling of a sexual assault case and has covered the firing of the management school dean following an arrest on prostitution charges, the murder of an SU student and an officer-involved shooting near campus.

We continue to be doing more on the web and pushing ourselves to better serve the growing number of online readers. Readership at dailyorange.com is up 25 percent since this time last year.

Alumni will be able to meet the staff behind these stories and get even more connected with the latest happenings at D.O. Palooza in March. The weekend of March 3-5 will feature panels, networking and a men’s basketball game in the Carrier Dome. I’ll deliver a State of The Daily Orange address and we’ll give campus tours so you’ll be able to better understand how the campus landscape is changing.

So save the date. We want to see you in March and have you experience that feeling of walking through the red door at 744 yet again.

Justin Mattingly (’17) is the editor in chief and former managing editor and news editor of The Daily Orange. He serves as president of the Board of Directors. Please feel free to contact him at editor@dailyorange.com and on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

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