Alumni Newsletter

Mattingly: From the editor’s desk

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Mike Hopkins was expected to take over as head coach for Jim Boeheim at the end of next season. But Hopkins accepted a head coaching job at Washington in March.

We were in the middle of a Board of Directors meeting when the notification flashed across the top of my phone screen: A tweet from men’s basketball beat writer Paul Schwedelson that read “Washington is expected to hire Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins, according to multiple reports.”

When the board meeting ended a few minutes later, we got to work.

In my three years working in-house at The D.O., I’ve found nothing brings every section of the paper together more than breaking news. From the wide array of campus protests in fall 2014 to the NCAA investigations in spring 2015, to a campus lockdown last fall, all the staffs I’ve worked with have an understanding: It’s about contribution, not credit.

Washington scheduled Hopkins’ introductory press conference for Wednesday, a mere three days from the initial announcement. We knew one of our beat writers would be making the 2,741-mile trek to Seattle, but weren’t sure how we’d afford it.

Within two days, the $700 bill for the trip was fully funded by alumni of The D.O. sports department. Seeing The D.O. network in full force that way, similar to last year’s alumni fundraising effort to send reporters and photographers to the men’s and women’s Final Fours, provided a sense of validation for those of us working on the revamp of The Daily Orange Alumni Association.

Over the past year we’ve been rebuilding The D.O.A.A. to better the relationships between alumni and The D.O. itself with an eye toward mentorship, advancement and events. Greg Bishop, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated and an alumni representative to The D.O.A.A. Board of Directors, stepped up to the plate and solicited donations for the trip.

With a plane ticket and lodging arranged (a spare room in Bishop’s house), second-year beat writer and SU senior Matt Schneidman took off for Seattle. Meanwhile, the sports staff banded together to work on outside sourcing. The web team was planning a strong digital presentation. The design department coordinated the print display.

When Wednesday came, everyone knew something special was happening. The final story, a 2,154-word narrative describing in detail how the move played out, is one of our most-read stories of the year and is the kind of work The D.O. has, does and will continue to cherish. None of it would have been possible without alumni support.

It’s already early April, though, and the year is coming to a close. Still, we’re moving full steam ahead on a number of important initiatives, some of which are described below.

Palooza

We had a record-setting turnout for D.O. Palooza this year with 51 alumni making the trip to Syracuse. It was a fun weekend for all involved with quality fellowship, teaching and nostalgia.

Many people have asked what my favorite part of the weekend was and it’s hard to pinpoint just one. But like the feeling of alumni funding the trip to Seattle, the weekend provided reassurance that we’re fighting the good fight in relation to our efforts to save 744 after seeing and hearing about just how much the house truly does matter to generations of D.O. staffers.

If you weren’t able to make it back for this year’s Palooza, I encourage you to come next year. The event’s only going to get bigger as the alumni association grows.

744 Ostrom Ave.

We’ve had the university’s ear over the past nine months in responding to our questions and concerns about the future of our home. SU’s plan is still to demolish the house. We’re in the middle of negotiating a new lease. It will be another three-year lease and then go year-by-year from there.

The three-year lease isn’t a long-term answer, though. A task force, comprised of management, General Manager Mike Dooling, student board member Michael Burke and D.O.A.A. President Tiffany Lankes, along with three local alumni, is exploring alternative options. We’re doing this with the assistance of a local real estate developer who has extensive knowledge of Hill property. The group is exploring four options: buying a house, leasing a house, leasing office space and moving into a renovated Schine Student Center.

The good thing is, time is on our side. We knew this was a possibility going into this year and will be sure to keep everyone updated.

Strategic Plan

The future of the house isn’t the only long-term plan being worked on. The D.O. doesn’t have a strategic plan — something that clearly outlines what we’re doing and where we’re trying to go. A committee, comprised of D.O. management, Mike Dooling, two members of The D.O. board and Greg Bishop from The D.O.A.A. Board are working on the plan.

We’re looking at having the plan formalized for the start of the next editor in chief’s tenure — that person will be announced next week.

Fundraising

To be blunt: I’m tired of asking alumni and other people for money and I know you all are probably sick of getting emails asking for money. It’s a necessary evil, though, so we need to do it. With that said, through the work of The Daily Orange Alumni Association, we’re creating a fundraising plan for the future. We plan to rely less on annual fundraising campaigns and more on annual membership fees, among other initiatives we plan to explore. If you’d like to get involved, please email alumni@dailyorange.com.

We saw the power of alumni coming together to fund the Seattle trip and with 30 percent of our fundraising goal left to go for this year, I’m confident we can all secure a prosperous Daily Orange.

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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