Yesterday afternoon, the newly elected 121st Editorial Board of The Cornell Daily Sun huddled together between the inner and outer doors of Olin Library, waiting to inaugurate its reign with a group photo. The new editors and managers, after surviving a grueling four-hour election in Warren Hall on Saturday, were eager to embrace a new day at The Sun.
Unfortunately, that day was wet and cold, conditions that might be described as “Dreary” or “Boreal” in one of The Sun’s front-page weather summaries. Yet those words could describe the obstacles the new board will face in the upcoming year. An upcoming move to the Elks building at 139 W. State St. — which itself will be boreal if the fireplaces aren’t fixed — in-the-works design and content changes and the ongoing economic downturn are among the most pressing concerns. But at the same time, it is a time of exciting change for the country’s second-oldest independent college daily newspaper. At the vanguard of these changes will be an intrepid group of students who somehow manage to juggle classes, insane working hours and a vast amount of pressure with the help of late-night beef jerky binges and Mr. Gnu.
First in line is Editor in Chief Nate Brown ’04, who hails from the metropolis of Visalia, Calif. The Sun’s former Red Letter Daze editor in chief had to be informed lightly that “Pimpin’ Out Your Pad” is not a proper story for the front page. His transition from reviewing bands with names like Cat Power to running the paper went smoothly during his six-week compet training period. Further adjustments were needed, however; Brown had to learn how to use a telephone, since everyone in Visalia is just a hoot and a holler away. His future vision for The Sun includes completing the move to fully electronic pagination (don’t ask him what that is; Visalia is slated to get power in 2005), keeping the Elks in the basement and cultivating a lice farm on his chin.
On the money side, Business Manager Lindsay A. Jacobson ’04 of Novi, Mich., promises to bring a smile to the financial affairs of The Sun. After surviving the dictatorship of the 120th’s business manager, Gideon Simpson ’03 (who only smiles when making people throw up), Jacobson plans to teach the editors that money can be fun!
Someone with whom all the news writers will become familiar soon is Managing Editor Marc Zawel ’04, whose plans for The Sun include boosting local coverage, adding a throne to the newsroom and raising funds for a bowling alley in the new building. Zawel has a superiority complex which began shortly after he entered the compet process. By the second week he had reorganized the writers; in week three he started insisting that people address him as “Sir” (including Brown). By the time he was elected, he had wasted most of The Sun’s budget on French wine, angering the College Republicans. Part of his Guevara-esque platform for “radical and violent change” is a nine-week carwash fundraiser.
Matt Chock ’04 is The Sun’s new associate editor, a misnomer if there ever was one. Traditionally, the associate editor, who is responsible for all columns and letters to the editor, has gone outside his or her office only to get food and let in fresh oxygen. Fortunately, Chock continues this hailed tradition. Known affectionately as “The Hermit,” he often barricades the door and yells in a crotchety voice at columnists or intruders who disturb his work. He also rarely attends class, preferring his cozy room and comic books to group learning. True to form, Chock didn’t show up to the 121st’s photo shoot yesterday, insisting that Goldwin Smith Hall was “too public” and that he did not wish to associate with others. (He also claimed to have a 102-degree temperature. Sorry, Matt.) Readers might know him for his column, “On the Chockboard,” which he used last semester to further his isolationist cause.
The Sun’s new advertising manager, Shalini Saxena ’05, has one major goal for the upcoming year — to get ads. Whether that means finding every horny college male looking for egg donors, seeking ads for calf scholarships or selling her soul, Saxena promises to boot the newspaper out of the economic downturn and into advertising heaven. We’re talking Internet pop-up ads, 30-second spots for vegetarian restaurants and cell-phone telemarketing here. In print. Coming from Belmont, Calif., she represents a growing and disturbing trend of West Coasters infiltrating the offices. Reporters are investigating.
Alex Ip ’05, the new sports editor, has a singular goal this semester: to painstakingly memorize, letter for letter, the spelling of each and every one of the Ivy League schools. Beyond this ambitious promise, Ip hopes to accurately publicize Cornell sports teams (whenever they’re winning). He’s also from San Mateo, Calif. What the Ip is going on here?
Jason Lee, The Sun’s web manager for life, was denied bail in the latest editorial proceedings. He is currently sentenced to solitary confinement; his only allowed contact with civilization is through e-mail in the programming language Perl. For this reason, no one at the office understands his wild ravings. We gather, however, that it has something to do with a crash/#%&~~
Peter Norlander ’05 is the first in a hopefully long line of sleep-deprived staffers in The Sun’s brand-new position of design editor. Over the past six weeks of training, Norlander has singlehandedly taken over the design and graphics of The Sun’s pages, learned every facet of layout and even recruited a staff of dedicated design debutantes (a.k.a. Pete’s Angels). Starting with no experience whatsoever, Norlander has already amassed enough knowledge to fire paid layout artist John Nigro. (Nigro, we just couldn’t tell you face-to-face.) In an interesting twist, Petey also works best after downing a 40 and a half.
The photo department is looking to get a shakedown as soon as Photography Editor Christine Papio ’05 learns how to open a camera shutter. With that out of the way, Papio’s immediate goals are to recruit people (“You take picture”) and to increase interdepartmental communication (“You take picture”). She also plans to make everyone her bitch as soon as possible.
Brown should be happy that his beloved section, Daze, is in good hands. Erica Stein ’05 takes over as the arts and entertainment editor. Stein has repeatedly promised to improve her memory, but consuming large amounts of coffee have failed to alleviate her problem. A side effect of her current treatment is producing entire issues devoted to her favorite Colombian brew. She lives in the lively town of Montclair, N.J., where the best thing to do is go to New York. Upcoming issues planned include interviews with unknown actors and profiles of every Center for Theatre Arts production ever conceived.
Circulation Manager David Sun ’06 has a pretty clear job description and the right name for the job. The Sun’s circulation system is due for a heart transplant.
One of the three incoming news editors, Mackenzie Damon ’05 is currently suffering a conflict of interest. She’s in charge of news, but when no one’s looking, she longingly glances at the sports desk. She works for Cornell’s intramural sports organization, but she’ll thrive just fine in the news department.
Andy Guess ’05 just won’t go away, so The Sun decided to stash him in news. During his speech at elections, he promised that as news editor he would start a fund to replace the current speakers, which he described as “a fuckin’ piece of shit.” Purchasing a new stereo for louder music, Guess surmises, will magically improve morale and therefore the overall quality of the paper. Whatever works, Andy. He does have a sensible side, however: His #1 goal is to put Mr. Gnu online, or he’ll buy beef-‘n’-bean burritos for the entire staff. He also mourns the loss of his only friend, Mr. Rogers.
The third news editor is Freda Ready ’05, who wants to kill the weatherman. A native Manhattanite — although you w
ouldn’t know it — Ready is poised to have an emotional breakdown each and every night until a “Happy News” section is added. The other editors haven’t told her about Mr. Rogers yet. Keep it a secret.
Assistant Sports Editor Owen Bochner ’05 has been waiting for this day for the past six and a half years. An athlete in high school, Bochner suffered a career-ending turf-toe injury during his ultimate frisbee days. While recuperating on heavy medication, he made the decision to someday work for The Sun and its amazing sports section, so that he could write about Cornell’s ninth-ranked ultimate frisbee team every week. Since then, there’s been no looking back.
Despite the fact that he was conspicuously absent from Saturday’s elections, Matthew Janiga ’05, the other assistant sports editor, is excited to be an omnipresent member of the Sun staff, rivaling only Nigro. Janiga comes to The Sun from the Cornell Glee Club, which correctly fired him after he left the club’s president at a hotel in Minnesota. His hobbies include making speeches about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and holding strategic meetings with members of the Cornell athletic training staff.
Andrew Gilman ’04 will happily serve as Stein’s secretary as associate arts and entertainment editor. As the man in charge of music reviews, Gilman has an excellent taste in the finer art. He loves nothing more than to hear his own voice in the shower.
And finally, The Sun’s new assistant advertising manager, Jean-Paul LaClair ’06, is the youngest member of the 121st. LaClair will soon notice changes in his body and hair where he didn’t have hair before. He will soon have his first “big boy drink” and he might start noticing girls. He will also notice that The Sun needs more ads. Good luck, Jean-Paul!
Mr. Gnu contributed to this report.
Archived article by Andy Guess