Alumni Newsletter

Mattingly: From the editor’s desk

Frankie Prijatel | Senior Staff Photographer

The Daily Orange sent three reporters, two photographers and a videographer to Washington D.C., to cover Inauguration Day and the Women’s March on Washington.

One of my favorite aspects of working at The Daily Orange is trying new things and thinking of ways to better serve our readers. So after the election of Donald Trump in November, we knew it was time to step up with a special inauguration edition.

As plans unfolded in the months following the election, we decided to send six people to Washington, D.C., and three to New York City last weekend. An extra edition of the paper would come out on a Saturday to complement continuing coverage online during the weekend, including the Women’s March on Washington.

Even in the midst of planning this off-campus coverage, we still kept our eyes on Syracuse. Ahead of Inauguration Day, we wrote about the urban-rural divide in Syracuse and how the region is a microcosm of the nation as a whole. The story was named one of the best education stories of the week by The Atlantic, news we learned while in the midst of inauguration coverage.

Our D.C. crew — three reporters, two photographers and a videographer —  arrived in the city around 4:30 a.m. on Inauguration Day, prepared for a wild day of celebration and protest. They were certainly met with both. The team wrote stories about the inauguration itself, the Trump supporters who descended on Washington — including a handful from Syracuse — and the protests that accompanied the swearing in.

The paper, produced by about 15 staff members, was sent to the press just after midnight and had an adjusted delivery to put more copies into the city given the lack of students on campus on Saturdays. As I wrote in a note to readers, given the historic nature of the inauguration and the circus of an election that preceded it we felt it necessary to provide as much coverage as possible.

On Saturday both the D.C. and New York City teams reported on the momentous women’s marches. An additional two D.O. staffers were able to take a women’s march bus down thanks to a donation by D.O. alumna Aileen Gallagher.

Both groups of reporters returned to Syracuse on Saturday, finishing the weekend with this story from Chris Libonati as the front page recap from a weekend we won’t soon forget.

Now that the inauguration is behind us, we’re excited for what’s in store this spring. We’re pushing ourselves forward with more city coverage and more video, two areas we feel have been relatively untapped by The D.O. in recent years. On the business and administrative side of The D.O., here’s a brief update on various initiatives.

Palooza

Our annual alumni weekend is March 3-5 here in Syracuse. The event will be headlined by a keynote political reporting panel, something we feel is very timely given the twists and turns in Washington. We will also be presenting a full “State of The Daily Orange” address that will provide a thorough look at everything going on at the paper. And The Daily Orange Alumni Association Board of Directors members in attendance are planning on gathering input from you, the alumni, about the direction of the organization.

We hope you’re able to make it! Please RSVP to editor@dailyorange.com so we can discuss panels, lodging and what you can expect for the weekend. You can also check out the Palooza Facebook page for updates. We’ve reserved a block of rooms at a Marriott in Armory Square. To get the special rate, book by Feb. 3 and follow this link.

Finances

A major goal going into the fall semester was to stabilize The D.O. financially. I’m happy to report, under the leadership of General Manager Mike Dooling, that the business operation of The D.O. is projecting financial growth. Advertising sales are up more than 15 percent and we are continuing to explore alternate revenue streams. As these efforts continue, we’re taking the next step toward financial viability: The D.O. Board of Directors is undertaking a strategic planning initiative this semester to explore the future of the paper and really set goals for what we’re trying to accomplish. Much of this will go hand in hand with our financial state and housing situation.

D.O.A.A.

The D.O.A.A. Board continues to do important work. Along with President Tiffany Lankes, members Katie McInerney and Stephen Cohen are on a joint committee with The D.O. Board to establish nonprofit designation for The D.O.A.A. We hope to have a more concrete timeline for that process in the next month. For now, I invite you to read up on D.O.A.A. vice president Rose Ciotta, who shared a bit of her career and hopes for the D.O. mentoring program.

744 Ostrom Ave.

SU’s revised Campus Framework is due out any day and we’ll know more about the plans for the home of The D.O. once it is released. The D.O. Board has established a task force to look into alternative housing options. Members of the task force include D.O. management, members from The D.O. and D.O.A.A. Boards, local alumni and a Syracuse-based real estate expert. More information on this will be available in the coming weeks and we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Mentoring

The D.O.A.A. mentoring committee worked over the fall semester to revamp alumni mentoring. We hope to have our staff connected and engaged with alumni in a substantive way. We’re always looking for mentors, so if that’s something that you’re interested in, please let us know. Or, if you’d rather help organize the mentoring, the mentoring committee is open to new members. Email alumni@dailyorange.com to find out more.

Fundraising

We’re more than 46 percent of the way to our fundraising goal for this academic year, due in large part to the generosity of alumni. But we still have a ways to go.

With a minimum wage increase in New York, our staff salary expenses will increase (The D.O. editorial staff is not paid hourly, but will have new minimums to meet). The launch of our news app and a more active web presence means the need to cover web development expenses. While the SU basketball teams aren’t having the same successes as last year, our expenses to travel still remain. In order to continue to have the best-designed student newspaper in the United States, we need to have up-to-date software. Anything helps and it’s a direct way to invest in journalism at the college level.

There’s a lot going on at The D.O. to say the least. We have an incredible staff that is prepared to push the paper forward in the coming months.

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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