Gaertner named editor in chief for ’10-’11 year

| Senior News Editor

Junior Kate Gaertner was named the 2010-2011 editor in chief of Student Life on Saturday Feb. 20. (Courtesy of Kate Gaertner)

Junior Kate Gaertner was named editor in chief of Student Life for the 2010-2011 school year. The announcement was made Saturday at the annual banquet held by Washington University Student Media Inc. (WUSMI), whose board oversees Student Life.

Gaertner is currently studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, and was notified of her selection in a Skype conversation held from the Moonrise Hotel on the Delmar Loop. Gaertner’s tenure as editor will begin April 1.

As editor in chief, Gaertner will bear the responsibility of hiring Student Life staff, supervisiing newspaper production and making all executive decisions.

Gaertner has been involved with Student Life since her freshman year in 2007. Prior to being named editor in chief, Gaertner served as senior Forum editor and a staff columnist for the Forum section.

Gaertner is majoring in both English and American culture studies, with a minor in economics, and is a National Merit Scholar. She is one of the founding members of Drop Knowledge, a cultural magazine staffed by students at the University. During her semester abroad in Dublin, Gaertner is writing for the news section of Trinity College’s campus newspaper.

Gaertner was happy to have received the position. She said she is looking forward to next year.

“I was really thrilled. I’m just really excited,” she said. “I realized all of the things I feel like Student Life can do, and the entire application process makes me more and more excited.”

Gaertner sees journalism as a key component of the University community.

“I think that journalism at its core is about connecting people,” she said. “I want Student Life to have a central role in the University community. Next year, I want to become closer to students and student groups. I want the paper to be something that people can rally around.”

One of Gaertner’s main goals is to create positions within each of the sections charged with pushing online and multimedia content.

“I would like to see every section have an editor working with online and multimedia content exclusively,” she said. “We’re moving into a new era of journalism. We have the opportunity to do some cool things with new journalism.”

Additionally, Gaertner wants the newspaper to be a forum for students.

“Student journalism can be a good testing ground for new ideas,” she said. “I’m looking forward to everyone’s unique perspectives to come through.”

WUSMI’s board of directors selected Gaertner on Saturday based on her application, an interview with student members of the staff, and an interview with the board.

Junior Perry Stein, the current editor in chief, is enthusiastic about Gaertner’s selection.

“Kate did great things to help the forum section grow, and I know she will do the same for the paper as a whole as editor in chief,” Stein said. “I am very excited that she will be leading the staff next year, and I’m glad to that I will have the opportunity to work with her again next year.”

In addition to announcing the editor in chief, the board also awarded the Gregory M. Freeman Award for Outstanding Achievement in Journalism to senior Sam Guzik, current director of new media and former editor in chief. This award recognizes an individual’s significant contributions to the quality of Student Life and its service to the University community. Those reading the applications for the award considered promoting journalistic values as among the most important traits of an award winner.

The Board also awarded the Gregory M. Freeman award for Excellence in Journalism to both senior Dennis Sweeney, a current managing editor, and junior Brittany Meyer, the current design chief. This award recognizes outstanding contributions that appeared in the paper. Judges looked for applicants to demonstrate witty writing, strong reporting and effective visual storytelling.

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.