Emma Baker named Student Life editor-in-chief for 2020-2021 year

| Senior Editor

Junior Emma Baker was named the Student Life editor-in-chief for the 2020-2021 year by the Washington University Student Media Inc. board of directors at their annual banquet Saturday, Feb. 17. Baker has served as editor-in-chief since November 2019 and will begin her second term on April 2.

Photo by Curran Neenan

“I’ve enjoyed this year so much because I had such a fantastic staff, and I’m going to get to work with them next year,” Baker said. “And we have loads of projects and ideas coming up. I’m very grateful to get to do this again.”

Baker attended high school in Fairfax, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C. and studies English Literature and Computer Science. She joined Student Life as a news reporter in her freshman fall before becoming a news editor in the spring of 2018. She then served as senior news editor and managing editor before beginning her first term as editor-in-chief.

“From the very start of her time on Student Life when I was a news editor and I would work with her as a reporter, what was always really impressive about [Baker] was that she would question the way we did things as a newspaper, the way we reported,” 2018-2019 editor-in-chief Sam Seekings said. “…And I think really that kind of curiosity and questioning and trying to make the processes we follow as good as possible in really every single way has really carried through to her time as editor-in-chief.”

For Baker, that constant questioning has been an important element of her first term, as she expressed that she and the Student Life staff have worked to find novel ways to enhance the paper’s work and practices.

“Something we all kind of took on [was not to] do things mindlessly, we didn’t do things because it’s always been how it’s been done,” Baker said. “And we really asked ourselves these hard questions about, ‘How can we be better?’ And that’s a challenge that I hope we always have. And I hope we always push ourselves to be as good as we can be.”

One of the ways Baker has worked to be better is by collaborating with staff members to redesign studlife.com in order to make it more intuitive and user-friendly, a goal she plans to continue to work toward in her second term.

“I want to learn how to grow the website more, how to make sure our readership can access Student Life, whether it be in print, in their inbox, on our website,” Baker said, “…and make sure [our] journalism reflects our student body and is resonant with the issues on campus that matter.”

In addition to improving outward-facing aspects of Student Life, Managing Editor Danielle Drake-Flam believes that Baker has fostered a positive environment within the staff.

“She’s really good at advocating for other people, which I’ve really, really liked, and I think really good at delegating with the staff and very appreciative, which is something that I think I take for granted,” Drake-Flam said. “I think a lot of people in the office do, because she’s so good at telling everyone how much she appreciates them. And that’s something we all need to hear more in our lives.”

Reflecting on the impact Student Life has had on her undergraduate experience so far, Baker encouraged all students interested in getting involved with the paper to do so, as the staff welcomes all levels of experience.

“I think for a lot of students on campus, my answer when they ask about the paper is our motto is ‘Come as you are,’” she said. “So if you’ve written for your high school paper, a secondary school paper, anything like that, and you know you like it, we have a space for you. If you have no idea what you’re interested in and you just want to try it out, we have a space and time for you.”

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