Alumni Newsletter

Meet Alexa Díaz, the next editor in chief of The Daily Orange

The Daily Orange Photo Staff

Justin Mattingly (left) and Alexa Díaz (right) sit with D.O. staff members in fall 2016.

The next round of ducks will soon go up in the management office. In about a week, our Daily Orange seniors will take a sweet group photo in front of the red door at 744 Ostrom Ave., each decorated with a cap and gown for commencement weekend.

As the people I look up to most on this campus prepare for life post-graduation, another group of incredibly talented staff members is just settling into their new roles. I’ll be transitioning alongside them as the first staffer to have worked as managing editor for a full year before transitioning into the editor in chief role in 10 years. I’m grateful for that insight and the chance to grow with the next generation of staffers to push The D.O. forward.

When I came from Southern California to study magazine journalism at Syracuse University, writing at least one story for The D.O. was a top goal. That first semester, I started by reporting on feature stories, then wrote on a weekly basis as an opinion columnist. Soon, I was working in-house as a young, but enthusiastic, sophomore head editor.

I spent the 2015-16 academic year working editorial editor and this past year in management. Along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from two editors in chief: Mara Corbett and Justin Mattingly. Mara and Justin’s tenures included revamping The Daily Orange Alumni Association, creating a strategic plan to guide The D.O. through the next 10 years and establishing a preliminary course-of-action after SU’s Campus Framework plan threatened The D.O.’s home. On the editorial side, the paper earned its eighth Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in six years, was ranked as the No. 5 student newspaper in the United States by The Princeton Review and collected a number of awards for its journalism.

Moving ahead, I hope to build on Justin and Mara’s successes. I want to ensure we stick to the strategic plan (which will be released to alumni); ensure future staffs have the resources they need to secure the next home for the paper; and ensure alumni relations grow stronger as The D.O.A.A. establishes itself as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit. On the editorial side, my primary goal is to refine the ways in which The D.O. editorial and advertising staffs approach our print and digital products.

As managing editor, I oversaw The D.O.’s editorial operation, an opportunity that offered a unique window into our organization’s’ greatest strengths and weaknesses as a community news source. Moving ahead, we’ll work to maintain a more distinct city-focus in print to best cater to our print readership, which includes SU faculty members and Syracuse residents, and highlight our coverage of the SU campus and student life online, where students are engaging with The D.O.

Helping me execute these ideas will be Alexa Torrens, a rising senior newspaper and online journalism major from Long Island. Alexa, who has led the news, staff development and opinion sections in the past, will focus her tenure as managing editor on ensuring there is a heightened emphasis on The D.O.’s digital product and cementing the role of the organization’s digital team without weakening the quality of our print paper.

When the first night of production hits in late August, there will be only one staff member who has known the paper without its digital team. Now that the drive, passion and skill is there, a greater investment in the digital product is essential to set a standard for The D.O.’s future.

Under Justin’s leadership, The D.O. welcomed two assistant video editors, forming a team that could tell stories in a new way on a regular basis. In the fall, The D.O. will also be equipped with a new assistant IT manager to help the paper navigate the inevitable glitches, roadblocks and server issues that come with maintaining a website.

In-between panels at this year’s D.O. Palooza, former D.O. editor and current Upstatement partner Jared Novack explained to me that figuring out how to produce a strong newspaper on a daily basis was the footprint of past D.O. staffs. Ours is establishing The D.O. online for the long run.

Everything we do in the next year — beginning now — will help craft the paper’s digital footprint, allowing future staffs to learn, reflect on and improve. Paired with continued emphasis on The D.O.’s alumni base and strategic plan, I’m excited for that future and doing everything it will take to get there. I hope you are, too.

Alexa Díaz is the current managing editor and rising editor in chief of The Daily Orange. Previously she was the editorial editor. She can be reached at editor@dailyorange.com.

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