As is customary, the graduating seniors of TMW’s editorial staff are the focus of the year’s final Spotlight. They discuss the paper’s family environment, late-night stories and their lasting memories of TMW.
TMW: How did you get involved with the paper, and when did you realize the Weekly was home?
Kacie Reilly: I got involved my second semester first year because my mom told me if I wanted to do anything in English I should probably have some background in it. I showed up to the info session, and everyone seemed way too cool, but I talked to Richard Raya ’15 because he seemed the most approachable.
Lindsey Smith: Are you here because of your mom?
KR: [Laughs] Yes, I definitely am.
Heather Johansen: I really sought out the newspaper because I’d done it in high school. I knew I loved journalism, so I approached [former Editor-In-Chief] Anna Pickrell ’14 at the booth and told her I was an award-winning journalist [laughs]. And then she went behind the scenes and brought back Emma Westrasmus ’13 who was Editor-In-Chief at the time and apparently whispered to her “I found her.” [Laughs] They were just trying to find one person who would write stories. I had so many people I was trying to beat out. Lindsey was so intimidating to me.
LS: We had a huge rivalry.
HJ: I was so mad because I wanted to be the golden goose, and Anna Pickrell was asking Lindsey to do everything. And I was like, “No, no. Lindsey cannot steal the spotlight. I need to rise.” But Lindsey and I are now best buds, little did I know then.
LS: I read The Mac Weekly, and I thought it was good! Then I started writing stories for news. I wrote a front-page story about the ice rink—RIP—which was a big deal to me at the time. It’s always kind of been home because I started my first semester. It’s the only thing that I’ve done constantly over my time here. I love it.
TMW: What was your perspective on your rivalry with Heather? Did you think you were winning?
LS: I had no clue she hated me. I was just really trying to have a friend. It came to a head because I accidentally wrote the exact same article a semester after you because I hadn’t read your piece, and mine was about the same thing.
HJ: Yeah the editors assigned it to you, and I was thinking, “Mine wasn’t good enough?!”
LS: You told me later that you were mad about it. But then we became friends.
Joe Klein: I was too scared to go to the office for many months. The first couple of weeks I kept getting very lost going to the office to the point where I would email excuses for why I didn’t come. So I didn’t stay for layout until the beginning of sophomore year, at which point I felt like, “I got this.”
Max Guttman: My first year I was the only one who consistently took photos every week, and at the end of the semester the Photo Editor asked if I wanted to be Associate Photo Editor. It wasn’t until first semester sophomore year when I was suddenly Photo Editor and taking most of the photos that it started to feel like home. I remember thinking that this felt a lot like high school drama club.
Em Gustafson: I got involved the fall of my semester year, and I came to the office and was afraid because everyone was super cool, and they knew each other already. But then I sat down next to Kacie at the meeting, and she told me a joke about haggis.
Sophie Keane: I did newspaper in high school, so I just assumed I would do it in college. I chose the Arts section because I thought it was less scary than News. Anna Van Voorhis ’14 and Sophie Nikitas ’14 were the editors, and they were so welcoming and warm.
What’s a favorite story you’ve worked on here?
KR: The most passionate op-ed I ever wrote was about how I really hate pennies, because they’re stupid. They cost more to make than they’re worth, and we lose money every time we make a penny. People just throw them away because you don’t use pennies for anything! I’m really bitter about pennies.
LS: Was that a fluff piece you wrote at midnight?
KR: No, I seriously care about pennies!
MG: I got to photograph when Sherman Alexie came. I was planning to go to the event anyway, but being there as press gave me a little bit more official status. He’s been one of my favorite authors since I was 12, and I basically got to hang out with Sherman Alexie for a day, and that was a childhood dream coming true.
JK: When we went to see Obama at the Union Depot that was very cool. But my favorite thing I’ve done was becoming Food & Drink Editor. I thought, “This will be fun! I’ll be able to enjoy writing about sandwiches.” Then I realized I had no idea how to write about food. So I was writing things like, “This sandwich is adequate. It made me full.” It was so much more difficult than it seemed.
EG: I was doing a lot of reporting the second semester after I joined. I was working with Joe a lot, and we did an extended piece on the CSRL due to some staffing changes. That was really fun because it was an investigative piece.
SK: I’ve had a lot of fun going to different events and connecting with artists. I’ve been able to interview a lot of people who are really passionate about what they’re doing.
Lydia Karlson: I liked that one time I got to photoshop fake Snapchats of Prince; that was fun.
One of our favorite things about TMW culture is we write our favorite quotes that have been said in the office on the wall completely devoid of context. Do you all have favorite wall quotes?
HJ: “Statistically speaking, most men are criminals.” It’s the best.
KR: I wasn’t present for this one, but I’ve always loved: “This whole week has been all-nighters, and this is going to be the one that breaks the camel.” I’ve felt that so many times when I’ve been in this room till 5:00 a.m.
HJ: I love McJunkin’s line, “One of my friends… oh wait, someone on the internet.” It really captures him.
EG: A lot of the things Heather has said have been so quotable, like: “Instead of a pumpkin, he’s been a grumpkin.” I think that’s the most adorable, goofy wall quote.
LS: I’d like to shout out one of Heather’s: “We’re doing a fcking crossword, btches!” Which is how the Diversions section was born.
MG: I like Allie’s quote over there, “Where are all the losers who work on this paper?” That was one of the first moments I felt I belonged here.
SK: A McJunkin one is my favorite. In response to “who died” he responded, “Who? Tupac or DeWitt Wallace?”
LK: I like “we sucked in 1923.” And I also like “I need to go down more,” signed by Clara, the girl next door.
What’s your funniest late-night story?
LS: One night we were here really late when Heather was Editor-In-Chief. We finished, and usually everyone is groggy and ready to go to sleep, but for some reason Heather, Lydia and I decided to go drive to Joe, bring him cake, play Taylor Swift and bring him to the airport at 5:00 a.m.
To be clear, you needed to go to the airport?
JK: Yes, this was a voluntary trip. It was a great trip. I was not expecting all of these delirious sleep-deprived people to come rescue me.
MG: I remember Danny Surman ’14 being asleep under the table, and then at 1:30 in the morning, he woke up and said, “I should probably work on my story.”
EG: There was a time when we were up really late talking about naked mole rats. This was last spring when things were almost falling apart. Maybe it was naked mole kangaroos. Anyway, we ended up talking about pocket placentas.
What are some great memories of parties or TMW’s rivalry with The Hegemonocle?
JK: When we almost won a couple of times that was great.
EG: Last year at the drink-off we had a really great run of flip-cup where every single person on our team got it on their first try. It was incredible.
KR: We keep getting closer.
LK: My favorite memory was Hege winning all the time.
JK: I remember the Garden Party our sophomore year was so much fun because there was a cardboard cut-out of Joe Biden. Plus Sophie left her Facebook open, and I posted about her selling all her kitchen appliances. She got a lot of messages about her microwave. Also someone hacked me a different time and posted about my love of dumpster diving and Freegonism, and I got asked out on a date because of that status.
HJ: Joe changed my employment to working for Gap corporate, and my mom ended up getting in touch asking about it.
MG: Once someone photoshopped my head onto Carrot Top’s body, and my grandfather got really concerned about my health because apparently it looked real to him. Facebook hacks taught me how to use Photoshop.
LS: Speaking of Photoshop, Lydia is the goddess of The Mac Weekly.
KR: We would not run without Lydia.
Does anyone have any last words about the newspaper?
MG: Sophie and I met on the airplane here because our moms were being suburban moms and found each other. So my mom would always ask if I was friends with that girl, and I’d say no. But thanks to TMW, now I am. I think it’s funny that this random person I met on the plane here has become a really significant staple of my time at Macalester.
KR: The Mac Weekly is just so wonderfully familial to me, and supportive. It means a lot to me when people who were on the paper years ago come back for layout, or want to go out for dinner with us or get drinks. These are connections that you keep forever. It’s a wonderful network of people and support.
EG: I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss all of these people. This has been one of the most positive experiences of my college career. I’m just excited to see what you all keep on doing.
SK: I’m glad with where we’re going. Thanks for a great four years, Mac Weekly!
JK: It’s a really neat way to leave your imprint on the school. I remember our sophomore year, we celebrated TMW’s 100th anniversary. The Mac Weekly has been around for so long and probably will be for many years. For this very brief moment in time, this place is yours, and you can leave your mark here. It’s been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done at Mac.
HJ: I just want to say I’m so grateful to Lydia; she has done everything for me. I love her, and am in debt many children to her.
KR: I promised her my kidneys.
HJ: I don’t know what Wednesdays will be like if I’m not staying up until 3:00 a.m. here.
LK: It’s been a good run.