Sahil Patel named 2013-2014 editor-in-chief
His appointment was formally announced by Washington University Student Media Inc., whose board of directors oversees the newspaper. Although in past years the board’s selection for the role of editor-in-chief has been revealed at an annual banquet, last week’s snowstorm delayed the event and necessitated the announcement via email Wednesday morning.
Patel, 21, hails from Houston, Texas and is a Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology major planning to minor in biomedical physics. As editor-in-chief, he will be in charge of hiring next year’s staff, supervising StudLife’s production and making executive decisions for the paper.
A writer since he worked with his neighborhood newsletter as an elementary-schooler, Patel said he has always had a passion for journalism, which is what inspired him to apply for the position.
“I think that we have some great writers, some great editors, and I know that we can do better,” he said. “Regardless of how high our standards are right now, I think we can do a lot better, and I’m really looking forward to helping Student Life take that next step.”
Patel has been involved with StudLife since he partook in the Freshmen Press pre-orientation program in August 2010. He started his tenure writing for the sports section and designing before advancing to sports editor in the second semester of his freshman year. The last two years, he has progressed from co-senior sports editor to managing editor of multimedia.
“I applied for this position because I think that I can really help Student Life grow into the new digital age of journalism,” Patel said. “My ideas for moving us forward online have more to do with coming up with interesting features and recurring features that we could update on the website daily so we have people returning to our website more often.”
For the past two years, he has produced the Bear Basics video series highlighting key players on Washington University’s athletic teams. He cited a photograph of the day and caption contests as examples of potential online-only content.
Ultimately, he hopes to use the position to make the print and online versions of Student Life more cohesive.
“We need to emphasize different points of entry for each piece and develop an overall package…distinct from our print edition,” he said. “My experience with managing multimedia this year will be really useful in terms of coming up with new content to package together with existing stories.”
Current editor-in-chief Michael Tabb has worked closely with Patel over the past year and is confident that his successor will flourish in his role.
“Sahil has been an extremely valuable part of our staff this past year and during his entire tenure at the paper,” he said. “Seeing him rise to the role of editor-in-chief is a natural step and one that I am confident will be beneficial in leading Student Life forward, both in terms of multimedia and connecting with students.”