Saying goodbye to the The Mac Weekly’s class of 2022


Photo by Kamini Ramakrishna ’24.

We sat down with The Mac Weekly’s graduating seniors to hear what they had to say about their time working for the paper, their experiences at Macalester and each other. The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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

Bergen Schmidt (BS): I’ve told this story to everyone but I want to be on the record. What made me stay was the mock our freshman year. I opened it up on the night of Midnight Breakfast, and my name was listed along with Gracie’s under Features Editor. And I was like ‘Okay, looks like I’m sticking around’.

Lily Denehy (LD): I was in class with Barbara Kuzma class of ’19, Jen Katz class of ’19 and Abe Asher class of ’20 in my first year. I was in class with them and I was the only first year in the class with Susanna Drake’s Veil and Barbara and Jen sat next to me and they were like, ‘You really need to join The Mac Weekly, we think you would make friends there’. They really pressured me into this. And I stayed I think because also the Mock [Weekly] first year I got to edit a little Gritty head on a hockey body along with Morgan Doherty class of  ’21. 

Matt Glover (MG): The Trader Joe’s snacks, right? 

Audrey Wuench (AW): I have a similar story because journalism was something that I wanted to do in high school. So then I co-wrote one article my first year with Lily and then I didn’t write again until my junior year because The Mac Weekly intimidated the hell out of me, but then I stayed because it was a way to sort of be connected to people especially like during COVID-19 junior year and then this year I kind of just stayed to hang out in a similar way.

Estelle Timar-Wilcox (ETW): Yeah, I did journalism in high school and I came here and my first semester I did two or three articles that were like event coverage and then second semester Hannah Catlin [’21], she took me aside. She’s like, ‘You’re a really good writer, like I see a lot of potential in you, like we really need to bring you into the paper and like, get you writing more serious stories. How would you feel about writing like a bigger reported article?’ and I was like, ‘Yes, of course Hannah Catlin, whatever you say, like tell me what this big break story that you have in mind for me is.’ ‘Estelle, the parking situation; nobody understands how snow emergencies work. So you can really write an article about people working on the wrong side of the street.’ And the most boring 500-word article about people parking on the wrong side of the street was Hannah Catlin having faith in me and even though that first story she gave me was absolute shit, the worst reporting experience ever, it got better from there.

Izzy Gravano (IG): I remember going to the s’mores night and talking to Rebecca Edwards [’21]. And feeling really excited. This is such a dumb thing. But this is something that has stuck with me because I didn’t really have this community in high school. I remember she had the most beautiful curly hair. That’s something that I’ve always treasured about the Mac Weekly. There’s always been plenty of curly-haired people around. 

TMW: What’s your favorite Mac Weekly memory?

BS: Spring of junior year, we were online that whole year. They let like a group of us in the office at the very end of the year and it was like, the outgoing, it was like Morgan [Doherty ’21] and Hannah Catlin and all of them. Then it was like Estelle, me, Bergen and Lily, and just like being back in the office after like a year and a half and just feeling so excited to be back.

ETW: I have really fond memories of sophomore year, learning the night before that there was going to be a vote on divestment. It just got so chaotic. It was like everybody was yelling. It was a mess. And Hannah Catlin just wanted to figure out how we were gonna cover it. She would start to say something that every two seconds somebody was like, “Oh, wait, what about this” and like everyone was yelling and it was just a very quintessential news experience. We were all just way too into it and off the walls.

MG: It was a privilege to go to the Final Four media days my first year. I went with George [Steinke] and Carrigan Miller ’19 and Liv Gigliotti ’21. It was just awesome. Just to see, go and be around real professional journalists that you see on TV, he’s walking by you. He’s that tall, right? I’m really just very lucky to get my foot in the door.

George Steinke (GS): Yeah, we were treated like real journalists. You know, the opportunity presented itself and we took it and people treated us respectfully. It was a great experience that they could walk down that had been a different part of my life because I definitely made some connections there. 

IG: I got retweeted by the Dance Theatre of Harlem which made 13-year-old Izzy very excited!

Gracie Ellsworth (GE): When COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, getting to interview some of the students from China and writing a Features piece. The privilege to hear about their stories was deeply impactful and just being a part of history in that way.

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?

ETW: Beautiful page design, excellent colors on every single page, and also a physical copy still.

ETW: This has always been my Mac Weekly pipe dream, but I think it would be so cool if news was split into “campus” and “city” where one would only write campus news and one would only write local news. That’s something that bigger student newspapers — The Minnesota Daily at the U of M has a “city” section and a “campus” section, but that’s the dream.

IG: Everyone should definitely be paid. 

BS: Trader Joe’s snacks, a robust ad budget, an alum to give us like $20,000.

ETW: One of us is gonna have to get rich!

LD: I hope that there’s more students taking a copy of The Mac Weekly, I hope they’re not just sitting in the CC; they gotta be out in the world.

TMW: What is your hottest Macalester take?

IG: We know what Yigit’s is!

Yigit Kahyaoglu (YK): It’s that the Idea Lab should be anywhere else but the library

IG: I think that the administration needs to be harder on its faculty and intervene more. I think it’s baffling how little professors have adjusted in the past couple of years alone, given everything students are going through. I think the administration knows a lot more than they’re letting on and I don’t think they should be afraid of intervening, because they say that they understand that students’ lives are not all about academics, but when it gets down to it, they prioritize academics over everything else.

BS: This is much less sincere but I think that Mac Twitter should die with the class of 2022, and I think that Elon Musk purchasing Twitter is really a perfect opportunity for us.

MG: I think we need to examine the prioritization of athletics on campus. There’s money being poured into that and it’s coming out of cost and expense and other sorts of things in your experience. That’s something that people don’t really acknowledge. Since COVID-19, we’ve really hit the ground running with athletics and we’re really trying to do that. And that’s a conscious shift from the top down. There’s monetary reasons for that, like donations from alumni. But I think students on campus should think about that and if that’s the kind of school that you want.

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?

LD: I would wanna talk about the new Pride Athletes at Mac, and like, the homophobia and transphobia that exists in the sports department now.

YK: I’d want to do a brewery review, I’ve been wanting to do it since sophomore year.

KI: I would just love to make a really beautiful page four-page spread with some nice designs on them. I don’t know what it would be about. It’s just that the text is always prioritized which is valid because it’s a newspaper but some nice designs would be great.

GE: I would do something with food, but more student-centered, like a column that asks people about food and what it means to them, and focus on people’s favorite dishes and recipes and stuff like that.

TMW: What moment on The Mac Weekly are you most proud of?

BS: Last semester, the day of the sit-in. That was a very defining moment of mine and Maya [Sobchuk ’22]’s editor-in-chief tenure in my eyes. Not just the article but also just the discussions that we were having in the office and as the editorial. Both the editorial and the article that we ended up producing I was really proud of and just the way in which is really like handled that in both trying to balance being journalists and being students and wanting to support our viewers. Being editor-in-chief for that day, it was a big moment.

IG: I think the past three years and how they’ve been the most historic, in the last century in Minnesota, the center of so much of it has been pretty remarkable and The Mac Weekly has played a role in like what how our community has reacted, both within Macalester and in all of our communities like all across the world. So I feel really proud of that. And I think we’ve all been able to do that while at the same time recognizing and addressing and changing some of the environments here within the office or just like relationships with each other that we didn’t necessarily find to be like, healthy when we came our first year. And it definitely has not all been super successful and we still make mistakes and stuff but I think there’s been a definite change. And so I’m really proud to have continued our reporting and making this like more of the kind of community that I want to be a part of.

KI: I think I have two. The first one was doing the entire Colonial Macalester timeline in a singular night, that was really a miracle, and it was completed before 5 am. Also launching the first episode of the podcast in fall 2020, was a really big deal. I was really proud of that. 

GE: When we asked for student input, and sent out a survey, asking if they were willing to share their experience, every time someone reaches out to us and says, “I’m willing”. And thank God, we have some trust in the community. I’m proud that they trust us to report their story accurately. It’s a big responsibility.

TMW: Do you all have any advice or warnings for future (or current) Mac Weekly staffers?

YK: I think as a general note, it is very important that you maintain an independent status within the college.  

KI: I would also say that the office seems scarier than it actually is, don’t be afraid to go in and talk to people.

BS: Just being really conscious that the office is like a weird place, the things that we do are kind of weird, so just make yourselves really accessible so that when new writers do walk in they feel really welcome.

LD: This is half-warning, half-advice, but don’t be afraid to draw some boundaries. You guys have your own lives. You might not wanna be journalists, and that’s okay. You don’t have to wanna be a journalist to be part of The Mac Weekly. An important part of this community is that we want you to take care of yourself and help you take care of yourself. The paper will get published without you even if you feel like it won’t. There are people who will step up if you have to step back and that’s something that’s really beautiful about The Mac Weekly

ETW: I think my advice to people who are not writers but who are thinking about it is don’t be scared, like everybody else said, and also, anybody can write for The Mac Weekly! You can have one story that you wanna write and you can write it. There’s no application, there’s no vigorous training you have to go through. I hope that’s something people know and my advice to people is to take that offer up and do it, because I think there’s a lot of people who have ideas that they wanna share, and we have so many creative people who like working with new ideas and new people.

AW: I would also add that you can join The Mac Weekly at any time, it’s not something that you have to join your first semester of your first year, and if you join later on in your Mac journey you’re not any less part of The Mac Weekly.

IG: I think what I have found is that I’ve gotten out of it what I’ve put into it. It’s been a very rewarding experience. Yes it takes a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears, but I think that’s why it’s been rewarding, because of how hard we work. I think it’s worth it, and I try to remind myself of that even when it gets so hard I think I can’t do it anymore.

MG: That’s the thing I’ve learned the most here: what’s going on and how to make this place better. I guess it’s not advice, but as writers, editors, you have to be plugged in. Journalism doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Maybe that’s weird to say but you can’t be fully objective. You have to know what’s going on to report on it. 

ETW: Yeah, fuck objectivity!

*Maya Sobchuk is a graduating senior staff who is studying away this semester and could not be present for this article.

With knowledge comes bergen – bergen

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