After saying goodbye to nine graduating seniors The Rocket Staff will look for continued improvement next year despite massive turnover and an unfilled position.
Graduating this year are three-year staff members Eric Davies, editor-in-chief and Megan Bush, campus life editor. They are joined by two-year staffers Paris Malone, photo editor; Heather Donat, copy/web editor; Lauren Ault, advertising manager; and first-year staffers Tom Fabian, multimedia editor; Oscar Matous, sports editor; Sarah Allen, assistant copy/web editor; and Jack Hopey, assistant photo editor.
Despite the high number of graduating seniors, editor-in-chief Adam Zook sees opportunity in the situation.
“As much as you can be concerned about replacing people, I am much more excited and optimistic about the people who are filling these shoes and the legacy they are going to leave through their position,” Zook said.
In addition to Zook who previously served as News Editor, several other staff members will be returning. Hannah Shumsky, Karl Ludwig, Hope Hoehler and Nicole Tolliver will be returning and advancing from assistants to head their sections, in News, Sports, Campus Life, and Advertising respectively. Also excited return to the staff after a one-year hiatus, sophomore integrated marketing communication major Hunter Casilio will rejoin his former section as photo editor.
“[Joining The Rocket staff] changed my entire life. It made my future better going forward,” Casilio said.
After returning to campus for the fall semester, Zook plans to reopen the hiring process as soon as possible.
“The first thing is going to be filling the position of assistant news, it has to be first priority,” Zook said. “I think I am probably a little biased since I have sat in that chair but I think it’s one of the most important positions.”
Shumsky will be looking for an assistant who will continue the section’s multimedia growth.
“This year I have been doing more digital media and a lot more writing that I am used to, so I’ll be looking for somebody who’s willing to do something that they may not be sure they would enjoy at first but willing to do more and come into their own, especially with SGA,” Shumsky said.
Zook already has plans for continued improvement for next year, including optimizing sports coverage and continuing convergence with WSRU-TV.
Before leaving in 2020, Zook wants to ensure that the culture of the staff is one he would have enjoyed joining as a new member.
“I want The Rocket to look like an environment that is approachable for the average student,” Zook said.
Next year The Rocket will continue to print ten times a year and will be available in newsstands across campus.