The Mac Weekly class of 2021’s final zoom

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Class of 2021 during their final Mac Weekly meeting. Photo courtesy of Lily Denehy ’22.

We sat down with The Mac Weekly’s graduating seniors to talk about their time working for the paper, their favorite memories and each other.

The Mac Weekly (TMW): What made you want to join The Mac Weekly and what made you stay?

Rebecca Edwards (RE): Hannah Catlin. And Hannah Catlin.

Malcolm Cooke (MC): This is making me remember a Hannah Catlin-specific story that happened very early on in my experience. I went to a Mac Weekly party in my sophomore year. Hannah — I did not know her at the time — pulled me outside with other people, and we had a foot race. I lost horribly. That felt like a sort of initiation into The Mac Weekly; I felt like I needed to stay after that point.

Hannah Catlin (HC): Guys, all I’m getting is I’ve just initiated combat with half of you. I also joined for Rebecca, and I stayed because of Rebecca. When she left, I missed her terribly.

TMW: What’s your favorite Mac Weekly memory?

HC: The spring of my sophomore year, Alta [Connors ’19] and I used to go sit outside and burn those tiny Firestarter cubes on the sidewalk. There’s something very centering about that. So that’s one of my favorite memories.

MC: One that jumps out for me is staying up until 5:00 a.m. for “Colonial Macalester.” That was just something we all put so much work into, and we were all so proud of. It just felt good to stay there till the very end and get that thing out.

Morgan Doherty (MD): My favorite one might be the last one that we all got to be together which was hanging out before Founders Day [in March 2020] and everybody being here. There’s so many new staff members, everybody looked so sharp. We didn’t know that was us going out with a bang, but it was really great. And that’s one of our best staff pictures.

Finn Odum (FO): I think the most time I spent in The Mac Weekly office was for the Mock. I wrote content for the opinion section that was better than anything I’ve ever written for The Hege[monocle].

Amy Vandervelde (AV): My favorite memory is being in the office and the fact that I just overtook one computer. It became my computer for three years — well, two years since we haven’t been on campus this year.

MD: No, that’s your corner Amy.

MC: I’m really gonna miss asking Amy for AP style corrections. I feel like that’s one of the recurring memories of my time in The Mac Weekly.

TMW: If you hadn’t joined The Mac Weekly, what campus org do you think you would have poured your heart and soul and tears and exhaustion into over your four years at Macalester?

Margaret Moran (MM): I think that The Mac Weekly is so unique in that it really feeds into your desire for information about the college and your desire to give to the college by reporting on what’s going on. That felt like such a service to me over my years The Mac Weekly — just reporting on things that I knew were important to some people and that needed to be spread out to the wider audience… I don’t know if there’s another org on campus that does that sort of thing. But, I hear Mock Trial is really fun!

MD: I agree with Margaret, I can’t imagine having given this much time to anything else. The amount of time that we have all spent together, either making amazing memories working really hard on stuff or just spending time together, that for me is what makes it so unique. And is why I can’t imagine doing that in any other org.

Betsy Barthelemy (BB): I will say that The Mac Weekly is the only org I did not quit after one year, besides choir.

TMW: We were thinking about how weird this last year has been, so we wanted to ask: what’s it been like to spend your last year on The Mac Weekly in this COVID context and to be leaving, kind of at the tail end of this pandemic?

MC: I genuinely am disappointed, in my soul, that I didn’t get a chance to — not only be EIC in the actual office, but be there with everybody else and spend this last year in the office. I felt like I was really hitting my stride in that junior fall semester… And then I went off to Germany. When I came back, it was gone. That really, really sucks. But I’m glad that I was at least able to have some form of it.

MD: I can’t think of a space on campus, other than rooms that I’ve slept in, that I spent more time in than I did in the office. So it’s just really weird to close out college really not spending any time there at all.

Lindsay Weber (LW): Props to us for continuing our output even among circumstances that make it a lot more challenging. It’s just the honest truth that the output has been harder. It’s been harder to rise to the quality that we have when we’re all actually able to get together and talk through ideas, talk through edits and even do our reporting in-person. Obviously, we’re missing that community aspect. That’s made it particularly hard for recruiting but I’m really impressed with some of the newer sophomores and first years… I wanted to give a shout out to the people that have joined us more recently and have beared with us as we’ve adjusted to doing things online. I can’t wait to see you guys back in the office and reporting in-person.

TMW: If you were to come back to Macalester and pick up a copy of The Mac Weekly in 10 years, what would you hope to see?

BB: A physical copy to pick up.

RE: I want to see 48 pages, 36 of which are news, and I want to see salaries. Salaries for all the editors — full salaries, I’m talking 60k — I’m done asking for minimum wage.

LW: A crossword.

MD: I hope to see any number of graphics that were clearly done after midnight in the need to fill space. I want to make sure that that legacy lives on.

George Clare Kennedy (GCK): An app.

MM: I hope to see a Mock Weekly. I really hope that continues because I think that one of my most stark memories is [Vice President for Administration and Finance] David Wheaton getting so excited about the fact that he was on the front page of the Mock 201[8].

TMW: If you had to get a wall quote tattooed on your body, which one would you choose and why?

MD: I gotta go with Jen Katz’s [’19] “I know how they work,” regarding automatic toilets.

AV: I was thinking about Evan Meerscheidt’s [’19] “Diddalous” quote, but I don’t know if I can do that as a classics Ph.D. student — have an incorrectly spelt Greek mythology figure tattooed. I’ll think about it.

MD: I will definitely get a “Diddalous” tattoo for you, Amy.

HC: Kori, I’m just dying to know what yours would be.

Kori Suzuki (KS): I’m just thinking about that. It’s not a wall quote, but it’s on the wall. That meme of Abe [Asher ’20] and italicization. I would go for that.

MD: I believe that was from a college student newspaper on Staten Island or something?

HC: Yeah, it was an April Fool’s article about the deer and the geese on Staten Island at war with each other. One of my favorite pieces of literature.

TMW: If you had another week or another month, what is one article, photo, layout or design that you would make for The Mac Weekly if you had more time?

LW: Our coverage this year has been very student-focused. That makes a lot of sense because as students we’re more tuned into what the general moods of students are, seeing people on Twitter and things, expressing their feelings and opinions. It’s harder to be in touch with the faculty and staff… Generally doing more stories that are faculty-focused and even — I think we’ve done some coverage of the admin obviously, but more of that and more staff-focused stories. For example, [President Suzanne] Rivera announced in her community conversation the other day that the salary freeze for faculty is going to end and faculty are going to start getting raises again. And if we had had the capacity this week, it would have been great to write a story about that. 

MM: I’d like to write a story about student journalism, and then do more research into why student journalists aren’t paid at Macalester and understanding that a little bit better and what makes us different from the [University of Minnesota Twin Cities] or [Metropolitan State University] or so many of the other organizations nearby that do pay their journalists. Because I do think it does impact our ability to cover stories and be the organization that we want to be… So if I had another month, I would continue digging into that and understanding exactly where Macalester differs between those other universities and colleges, just to understand because I believe it is an equity issue and is something I’d like to see change.

RE: I wanted to take a nap on the couch, man; I really did. I was so inspired by Carrigan [Miller ’19] my first two years, and his frequent napping, his giant headphones — I really saw myself as taking on that role my senior year. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, so that’s what I would have loved for one more week.

FO: I want to write a real article. I love opinion, but I feel like I’ve almost exclusively written opinion articles, and I feel like I missed out on The Mac Weekly experience. 

MD: If I could do one more thing on The Mac Weekly, I would make one more office playlist.

KS: I’m going to throw one more article in there and I really hope somebody writes this… Somebody needs to do a piece on the rise of podcasts as class assignments, because I really want to know what students think about it. I feel like there are a lot of people that I’ve heard who were upset because it takes so much work, but it’s so much easier for the professors to grade so there’s obvious motive there. I want to know what the consensus is.

TMW: We were wondering if you had to produce a special issue for next week, what would you do your special issue on?

AV: Mental health, again. I wasn’t there for the first one, I was not on the staff and also at home with a broken ankle. I almost wrote an opinion article this week on mental health, but I was too stressed out to write it because mental health at Mac right now kind of sucks all around.

HC: Easy money, I would write a special issue on guys, my chorus, say it with me, student spaces Macalester has gotten rid of over the years, arguably intentionally and unintentionally, and the impact that’s had on communities that Macalester marginalized, [the] civic community, the broader student community in general. How it’s impacted the way we think of, speak to and interact with each other more generally, and the catastrophic impact that not being with each other physically has on our ability to relate as people. That’s my “next week special issue.” Call me up if you want to do it.

MD: I would write about the power of student movements and our potential to collectively unionize with one another, to have actual leverage with the school and with the administration. There’s so much potential for Macalester students to work together, and we’ve seen that over the past year, especially. There’s a lot of opportunity there for us to explore both within the context of The Mac Weekly and within the wider context of the campus as a whole.

TMW: We’ve made it the final question, the end. Do you all have any advice or warnings for future Mac Weekly staffers?

BB: I’d say this is advice, not a warning, that when I was a first-year and even a sophomore — before I started as an editor — I went to the office a total of three times, because I was so scared of y’all, no offense. I was just such — and still am— a shy little kid. I was like, “I’m not cool enough; I’m not loud.” Everyone’s so cool, and they have all these snacks, and there’s funny things on the wall, and I’m not there for that; I just write things. But no, you are there for that. It might take a second, and it might be a lot at first, but totally make the commitment to keep going because it’s going to be such a great space for you. Just go to the office, go to the office. Even if you don’t know where it is. Someone will show you where it is.

MD: I’ll say it on the record: sleep where you can, when you can.

RE: Clean the mini fridge regularly. Don’t allow horrifying things to happen inside the mini fridge.

MM: Before buying grapefruit juice, make sure you have a detailed discussion and debate about grapefruit juice, just to make sure that everyone’s into it. Because I know that Abe was a humongous stan. But I don’t think that you should just buy it automatically.

AV: I’m going to rebuttal this. I’m going to say the two things you have to buy at Trader Joe’s: grapefruit juice and chocolate covered marshmallows. If you only get those everyone should still be happy.

RE: Amy, that is slander. Buy chocolate covered marshmallows and grapefruit juice and everyone will be happy? Everyone? No. Not even close. The only essential snack is the chocolate covered espresso beans. They serve a dual purpose. They are delicious, and they keep you awake.

MD: That would be my advice to any and all future editors-in-chief is get the right things on the snack list. Get everything on the snack list or the staff will eat you instead.

HC: My advice for students who think they might be interested in The Mac Weekly is if you’re someone who gets very nosy and loves gossip, or you’re someone who likes to write and express yourself, if you’re someone who’s looking for an outlet — you walk around school and you think there is more than just class for me — then you’re the type of person who should join The Mac Weekly and make your voice heard and put your nosiness and your creativity and all of your beautiful various skills to use. Doing something that will bring you so much joy with people who you will certainly come to love.

TMW: I think to wrap up the senior spotlight we have to ask you guys the classic last question — is there anything else that we didn’t ask you or anything that you think is important to know?

MD: Don’t try too hard to get a wall quote, it’ll come to you naturally.

FO: If you want a true Mac Weekly experience, live with two [editors-in-chief] during a very news-heavy time.

MM: This work builds confidence. If you report on stories you will build confidence in your ability to relay information and to do hard work. I think that is something that The Mac Weekly has gifted me.

HC: If you’re sock wrestling a tall person, go for the knees.

MD: And watch out for concrete support beams.

RE: It might be worthwhile to form an opinion about em dashes and en dashes prior to joining The Mac Weekly — it’s a quick way to join any conversation or to start a riot in the newsroom.

BB: Keep up the fight for the Oxford comma, we’ll get it one day.

MC: Not to be too sappy, but I think it’s important to note that I am very very sad this is coming to a close and I will miss you all very dearly.

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