Journalist of the Year Portfolio


Leadership and Team Building

leadership and team building

For all the indescribable experiences and opportunities journalism has given me, perhaps one of its most meaningful gifts has been the chance to be a leader. Everyday during my freshman year, when I walked into my favorite class of the day — beginning journalism — I’d pass all the names etched in black ink on the “ReMarker Editors” hardwood plaque by the suite’s door as if each were too colossal, too exalted and too beyond-reach for the then 14-year-old. And even though I've been at St. Mark's since I was six, my freshman self never really saw his role on campus as a leader or the “editor-type." But somewhere along the line it all changed, and I'm grateful the change happened in journalism. Because the things I’ve learned in the publication suite have completely shaped me into the person I am today — and that's why I always feel a need to pass that along to our next generation of leaders.

In my application for editor last year, I said my leadership style is built on cultivating the staff through an environment of positivity and passion for what we do every day: "Even though it may not always be this clear-cut on weeks where nothing seems to be going our way, weeks where we all have more work than ever, I can guarantee my leadership style will always center around being relentlessly encouraging and open to any ideas. I’ll always be putting the staff first, because the publication can’t succeed without them at their best."

Values like looking beyond your own work and addressing the needs of other staff members are essential for any member of The ReMarker. And it's learning to delegate effectively, making tough decisions when slotting stories and ensuring we include all perspectives as journalists that put leadership and team building at the core of our mission.

My Job

Here is an official job description for the editor-in-chief:

  • Responsible for the overall integrity of the newspaper (editorial content, appearance, coverage, production, scheduling, staff/personnel issues and advertising). 
  • Coordinate intensive training for editors through summer retreat and workshops.
  • Chair the Editorial Board: write editorials, as directed.
  • Working with managing editors, ensure that all articles are submitted in a timely manner.
  • Working with managing editors, ensure that layout/production efforts are completed on time.
  • Assure that all photographic and visual needs are submitted in a timely manner.
  • Coordinate printing needs and production schedule with our printer, Greater Dallas Press.

After collecting applications and determining our staff for this 2017-2018 school year, I released an organizational chart to help members interpret how several new positions — such as communications editor, senior writer, executive page editor and assignments editor — interact with each other.

the day-to-day: Communication

I believe even the subtleties of how I conduct myself around staff members can have the largest effects. Whether using a staff-wide Facebook group to send motivational and informative posts, informally checking in on "rookies" or engaging in constant conversations with our adviser, communication is a fundamental aspect of leadership. In the gallery below you'll see a small look at how I communicate in our staff Facebook group.

Click images to enlarge.

Outside the publications suite: community outreach

In many ways, I've learned my job is also to tell people outside of the publications suite about The ReMarker. By doing this, the community gains insight into the work we do and strengthens our relationship with the community. When The Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson visited St. Mark's, I was able to meet with him over dinner and engage in conversations about our staff's work. Similarly, I recently hosted The New Yorker writer Dana Goodyear during our school's annual Literary Festival and spoke on behalf of The ReMarker's work and role on campus. This sort of outreach, however, also takes simpler forms. As shown in this section's cover photo, I also was able to visit a sixth grade humanities class earlier this year to discuss a personal column I wrote on meeting Dallas's oldest living Holocaust survivor (click here to read column). In addition, I shared with students why my time on the newspaper has been so meaningful.

Diversity and representation

While working on our cover story on Richard Spencer '97, the leader of the "alt-right" movement, we were careful to consider the implications of every detail in the story. Looking back our writing process, the story shows an example of how journalists on The ReMarker can represent the diverse makeup of our community. In fact, while the school advertises a student body with 48 percent of students identifying as "students of color," The ReMarker's leadership in the last five years has been comprised of 54.4 percent students of color.

Because of Spencer's vulgar language and views based in hate, the story's coverage warranted perspectives from many different community members denouncing his views. At the heart of it, this story was a platform for our diverse community of students, faculty and alumni to denounce Spencer's hate that tainted the reputation of our school. Through our overall coverage, my staff members and I were able to encapsulate the diverse makeup of the people around us while repudiating the hate espoused by one alumni.

Click here to view story.

Click story outline image to enlarge.