Díaz: After one of the largest Paloozas in the event’s 15-year history, current staffers are left with a newfound motivation and appreciation for The DO

Ally Moreo | Photo Editor

Kathleen Ronayne ('12), left, Michael Kranish ('79), Dave Levinthal ('02) and Brett LoGiurato ('11) react to a question during the keynote political panel during D.O. Palooza on March 4. Dozens of alumni returned to Syracuse University for The D.O.'s annual alumni event, which was held March 3-5.

For Daily Orange staffers, seeing just how many alumni were invested enough in the paper to travel several hundred miles to spend a weekend in freezing Syracuse was absolutely inspiring.

D.O. Palooza 2017 brought 51 alumni spanning several generations back to 744 Ostrom Ave. in early March to meet the current staff, serve on insightful panels and hold a critical discussion about the paper’s initiatives, both current and future.

The weekend started with a meet-and-greet at The D.O. house. After discussions about the relics hanging on the walls and hiding in the corners of 744, some alumni took to Chuck’s given its pending demolition. Others spent time with the students running the sections they spent their time developing at the paper.

On Saturday, a keynote political panel featuring The Washington Post’s Michael Kranish (‘79), The Center for Public Integrity’s Dave Levinthal (‘02) and the Associated Press’ Kathleen Ronayne (‘12) moderated by Business Insider’s Brett LoGiurato (‘11) shared tales from the campaign trail, insights into day-to-day political reporting and tips on how to make stories stand out. A string of panels, which were held at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, followed and emphasized sports reporting, design and feature writing, among other topics.

For some staffers, Palooza 2017 was the first time they had a sense of the extent of the paper’s alumni network and the diverse expertise it boasts, an understanding that motivates The D.O.’s staff on a day-to-day basis.

“Palooza has made me appreciate The D.O.’s legacy and the house more. Every time I walk in now, I look at the names, all over the walls, and think: ‘I just met some of these people — they did it, they managed to put this paper together and so can I,’” said Sam Ogozalek, an assistant news editor. “It puts it all in perspective, how much history there is here and how important it is to keep working hard.”

The inaugural “State of The Daily Orange” address wrapped up the Newhouse events and updated alumni on current happenings at the paper, in regards to both editorial and business. After, a group of 35 alumni attended an SU men’s basketball game while others opted for a dinner downtown. A cocktail hour at Dolce Vita capped off a fun-filled day.

The next and final morning of Palooza weekend, 15 attendees ate brunch and were briefed on the revamp of The Daily Orange Alumni Association. Once everyone said their goodbyes and Palooza weekend officially came to a close, it was clear how much alumni investment means to The D.O., its staff and the future of the organization.

“So much has been done over the past year that’s required alumni engagement. From the revamp of the alumni association to the potential demolition of 744 Ostrom Ave., there have been many opportunities for alumni to stay involved with The D.O,” Editor in Chief Justin Mattingly said. “To see 51 alumni come back and interact with each other and current staff was reassuring for us on the frontlines of the revamp and long-term planning.”

Staffers like copy chief Clare Ramirez, who has worked at The D.O. since her freshman year, saw Palooza as an opportunity to reflect and a reminder to make the most of their time at the paper heading into May.

“I was able to not only meet more alumni, but also catch up with alumni who I had met at Palooza in previous years,” Ramirez said. “But the best part about this year was it made me realize how valuable The D.O. is in developing journalistic skills and reminded me to take advantage of the little time I have left to take on big projects and stories before graduating.”

For graduating seniors like Ramirez, the future of The D.O.A.A. and its continued alumni engagement is crucial, whether it is through mentorship, networking events or having an accessible outlet to share input on the paper and its leadership. In this way, with The D.O.A.A. leading the charge, we are excited to continue to strengthen the bond between the current staff and those who came before us.

Alexa Díaz is the managing editor of The Daily Orange. Previously she was the editorial editor. She can always be reached at


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