June 9, 2010

Keeping The Sun Rising, Year After Year

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Does it still exist? The Sun Romance Game that got passed from editor in chief to editor in chief. The file filled with the questions based on Sun romances of legend, as well as those only whispered about?I know it survived the move from the Commons to Cayuga Street. Did it make it to State Street?You’re likely wondering which of your Sun romances were documented that you thought no one knew about. To whom does “flash in the pan” refer? I’ll never tell.While I guarded the Romance Game in my desk during my tenure as EIC, Sam Zarifi ’90, our associate editor who’s doing life-saving work at Amnesty International, tended our “Wall of Shame.” It had our favorite Bush and Qualyisms blown up and hung on the wall across from his desk. Sam wasn’t born in the U.S., yet has the greatest appreciation for and understanding of the culture of our times.Ours was the era of Reagon, Noriega and Bush number one. Intellectuals protested in Tienanman Square. The Wall came down.  Students on campus had a few more years of apartheid to protest. And thirtysomething was in its heyday. We had news to cover and stories to tell.I arrived at Cornell thinking I’d join the protestors. But then I met Scott Kronland ’88 as he manned a desk outside The Straight to recruit for The Sun. I went down the hill to learn about compet and, well, let’s say I never marched on campus again.On one of my first nights at The Sun, up the creaky stairs off the Commons, with cobwebs too high in the beams to be cleared and the morgue musty and stacked high with bound volumes in the pre-internet age, I mistakenly erased an editorial Scott was writing. It was on a floppy disk. Scott, who could tell you about any Supreme Court case without skipping a beat, whipped out another one in minutes.Marc Lacey ’87 was another EIC while I was at The Sun. Sure he’s known for his Pulitzer Prize and, most recently, his moving work out of Haiti for The New York Times. But ask me about him and the first thing I’ll tell you is that he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.Jeremy Schaap ’91 was sports editor during my tenure. Even then, he never met a factoid he didn’t like. Dave Folkenflik ’91, now covering the media for NPR, was as smart and eager as they came. Oh, and that boarding school gentility. You’d almost think he was Southern. Ah yes, that was his best buddy, John Hassell ’91 of South Carolina, rubbing off on him. John, another Pulitzer winner in our midst.Sara Ellen Amster ’89, a managing editor then and journalism professor now, was made in the old mold, to her core preaching that journalism is a higher calling.What drew me to the Sun night after night, were the people as much as the stories we covered. There’s a reason there were and are so many romances at the paper, and it’s not just all the hours spent in close quarters. Sunnies are among the best and brightest Cornell has to offer.Ellen Braitman ’90 was Sun editor in chief from 1989-90 and currently works at Bloomberg Television. She may be reached via the associate editor at opinion@cornellsun.com.

Original Author: Ellen Braitman