Alumni Newsletter

Meet The DOAA Board: President Tiffany Lankes (’03)

Courtesy of Tiffany Lankes

D.O.A.A. Board President Tiffany Lankes poses with the Shoe, out of which an incoming EIC drinks to kick off their tenure, in the management office of The Daily Orange in the early 2000s.

When Tiffany Lankes arrived at Syracuse University, there were two things she knew she had to do: study abroad and serve as editor of The Daily Orange.

Lankes (’03) managed to do both, and in a rather unconventional way at that. After a semester full of in-house turnover, she found herself in the coveted EIC position just halfway through her sophomore year.

“It was something I wanted to do, and it may have been a little sooner than I expected, but I felt that I was in the position to step up and lead the paper essentially,” Lankes said.

And she certainly signed up for a tumultuous term. Not only was Lankes was editor during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she also had to fire the general manager and scramble to find his replacement (the person she found would be in the position for the next 15 years). She was forced to navigate decisions that only a D.O. editor-in-chief might find herself in as a 20-year-old, like whether or not to run a racially charged advertisement.

“You’re kind of put in this intense, pressure-cooker situation with a lot at stake and you have to figure out how to navigate all of these things from scratch,” Lankes said.

The most important thing she learned at The D.O., she said, was the ability to work with people and not just alongside them. Colleagues should be treated as people, and be respected for the passion and talent they bring to an organization, Lankes said.

“You got to know your colleagues very much on a professional basis but a personal basis,” she said. “I think that helps cultivate a deeper understanding of what everyone does and how the different functions at the paper all work together and how they’re all important.”

Lankes moved from Buffalo to Syracuse for college, then to Florida after graduation for a job at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. She worked as an education reporter until she moved back to New York in 2010 and works as an education reporter at The Buffalo News.

Now, after serving for three years on The D.O. Board of Directors from 2011 to 2014, Lankes is the president of The Daily Orange Alumni Association, the newly reformed cooperative of graduated D.O. staffers both young and old.

“(The D.O.) was a big piece of who I was in college and it was a big piece in setting the track for who I would become as an adult and a professional,” Lankes said. “I think that that’s awesome to be able to have an opportunity to give back somehow and ensure that those opportunities exist for other people.”

So far, alumni have impressed Lankes with their enthusiasm surrounding the organization.

“All around the sense that people gave to me was ‘What can we do if you need help with anything? Let me know,’ and I think that’s really encouraging,” Lankes said. “Being able to harness that and really use it to build stronger support systems for the paper going forward, it’s only going to be a huge benefit for students in the future.”

Right now, every alum is a member of the association. But in the future, Lankes said she wants a more formal structure with required dues and an accessible rolodex of contacts, one that will ensure the endurance of both the association and The D.O. itself.

None of that will be possible, though, without securing 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit organization, something she’s already put in motion. Lankes said she wants to finalize the nonprofit status soon in order to begin proper fundraising.

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