Catherine Santangelo was the Editor-in-Chief of The Fairfield Mirror from 2020 to 2021. Upon her last issue she wished to share some thoughts with The Mirror’s readers and her staff:
“Let’s just say that my time as Editor-in-Chief of The Mirror has been anything but conventional. After officially taking over the position about a year ago, me and my new staff were able to put out our first print issue together. It was one of the best feelings in the world to hold that physical copy of our newspaper in my hands and know all of the hard work that went into creating it. An even greater feeling was the anticipation of doing it all again the next week, spending hours with my amazing staff in our cozy fishbowl office, sharing plenty of laughs and the latest ‘hot tea’ with each other and overall producing an awesome newspaper…except that second issue never came in the Spring 2020 semester, all thanks to Miss Rona.
We were sent home from school, and I was left to move our little newspaper into a completely online format. I was glad to still be able to publish content during this time, and I was proud of myself and my staff for what we were able to accomplish amidst the circumstances, especially so early into our new positions. However, it was obviously not what I had expected my time as EIC to be like, nor was it what I wanted the experience to be like. I was really looking forward to being with my staff, on campus, and working together to produce each issue of the newspaper that we are all so passionate about.
I could keep talking about how the coronavirus impacted our newspaper and my experience as EIC, and how it made things a lot crazier than I was anticipating. But, despite all of it, I don’t want the pandemic to be what defines my time as EIC. I want the lessons I have learned, the ways I have grown and the people I have gotten to know to define my time in this position. I’ve learned so much about how to be an effective leader in the past year and how important it is to be a source of support for others, while also making sure to surround yourself with your own support system. I’ve grown in my communication skills through the insane amount of emails and text messages that I have sent, the various meetings I have hosted and attended and the many important conversations I have had with my staff members about how we can improve every week and help this paper evolve. I have also grown in my writing and editing skills through the many articles I have written and the hundreds of articles crossing my desk that I have edited and signed off on to be published. I have also met and gotten to know people who I hope to know for years to come. These are the things that I want to take away from this experience. Although the pressures of the pandemic were immense at times, I really wouldn’t want to change a thing, because those pressures, pandemic-related or not, are what pushed me to do my best for myself, my staff and this newspaper.
After becoming EIC, my workload increased immensely because suddenly I had all of the work that comes along with running a newspaper on top of my regular homework. When it came to deciding what to work on, either my homework or my Mirror work, I was always more drawn to work on The Mirror-related tasks. This is how I knew that I loved what I was doing. More importantly, I loved the people I was working with and I always strove to be the best leader and EIC for them that I could possibly be; one who they could come to for support and one who they could trust to find solutions and get them through the tougher weeks. I hope that I at least achieved that during this crazy year that we have had!
This past year with The Mirror has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences I have had, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have done something that I never really pictured myself doing in college or even expected would happen when I first joined The Mirror as a contributing writer in my sophomore year. I am also so incredibly thankful for that time that I got to spend with those who care as much for this newspaper as I do. To them, I want to say a few things:
To Tristan…thank you for taking on the Coffee Break position, even though it wasn’t what you had initially planned on doing. I’m so excited that you’ll be able to take on the CFO position next year and gain some experience that will hopefully help you in your future endeavors!
To Maria…thank you for taking over the Opinion section after me and remaining true to the importance of allowing people to express themselves. Also, we are graduating!!! As the only other senior on staff, I’m so excited for us to be moving on to new things! I am wishing you all the best in law school, if that’s still the path you decide to take, but I know you will do great in whatever you decide to do post-grad.
To Danielle…I know the News section was a headache a ton of the time, but you always persevered and still managed to put together a great section each week. I give you a ton of credit for taking on the monster that is News, so thank you for that.
To Colleen…our Copy Editor and Crime Beat queen! I know your time at The Mirror was probably even more unconventional than mine, but you saved our butts when we really needed it, so thank you immensely! You always had such a bright presence in the office, but I’m looking forward to you coming back as a writer to contribute some amazing pieces next year!
To my Ed Board team…I don’t think I can put into words how thankful I am to the three of you for supporting me throughout my time as EIC. You were with me at my highest and you were there to pick me up at my lowest, and we always got through things together. It makes my heart so happy to think about what you’ll all do together and where you will take The Mirror next in the coming year.
Lanz…you were always my go-to when making the tough decisions. You are so strong in your beliefs, and your passion is made so clear in everything that you do, which is something that I truly admire about you. I still will never understand why you have such a strong connection to the Sports section, but what I do understand about it is that it stems from your loyalty. I know your extreme passion and loyalty will take you far Lanz, so don’t ever lose it.
Sheila…one of the warmest, most kind-hearted people I know. You may not even know it, but your positive spirit is what kept me going, and you always kept me grounded. The number of times you have said to me, “Catherine, it’s okay,” are countless, and on top of that, you were always right. I know that your positive spirit will continue, and I’m so excited for you to take on your new role on Ed Board, keeping the staff motivated and helping to lead The Mirror to new places that I know you’re excited to explore. Honestly, just thank you for being you, Sheils.
Miss Molly…I don’t think anyone loves this paper or wants to see it succeed as much as you do, and you have proven that over and over again, which is exactly why you are the person who should lead this staff in achieving the goals that I know you have. I honestly did not expect to become as close to you as we have gotten in the past year, but now you’re in the top three of my “most texted” list, and I really just couldn’t be more thankful for our friendship. You’re going to absolutely rock it as the new EIC! I don’t think I left shoes too big to fill, so I know you and your staff will achieve new heights, and I can’t wait to see what you do.”
Molly Lamendola ‘22 is the new Editor-in-Chief of The Fairfield Mirror for 2021 to 2022. “I am just so excited to hop in and take The Mirror to a new place,” said Lamendola. “All the Editor-in-Chiefs that have come before me have left some pretty big shoes to fill. But, I know my lovely new staff and all my friends on the Editorial Board will help me make The Mirror the best it can be! So happy to start!”