Olivia Poolos and Clara Richards named 2023-2024 Student Life co-editors-in-chief
The Washington University Student Media Inc. (WUSMI) board of directors named juniors Olivia (Via) Poolos and Clara Richards as next year’s Student Life co-editors-in-chief (EIC). Poolos and Richards will assume the position in April, replacing the current editor-in-chief Julia Robbins.
Laura Meckler, the Vice President of WUSMI, made the announcement at the annual Student Life Gala on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Holmes Lounge.
Poolos and Richards are set to be the first pair of Student Life co-editors-in-chief in over 20 years. Prior to them, Taylor Upchurch and William Bulman were the publication’s last co-EICs in 2001.
Currently, Poolos is the managing scene editor, and Richards is the managing sports editor. Poolos said that running with Richards as a co-editor made her feel more assured about taking on the EIC position.
“[The editor-in-chief position] is a lot of work and pressure, as you need to be the face of Student Life,” Poolos said. “Having two people [to manage tasks and deal with criticism] is going to be really helpful.”
Richards said that a strength of her partnership with Poolos is that they have each worked in different sectors of Student Life.
“Between the two of us, we cover a lot of bases,” Richards said.
Robbins said that she is happy for Poolos and Richards to lead Student Life.
“I’m really excited to see what Via and Clara will bring to the paper for next year, and I’m confident that they have the skills and experience to keep taking this paper to new places,” Robbins said.
Poolos is studying philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology, and she is considering a career in journalism. Last summer, she worked as an editorial intern for the Riverfront Times and wrote pieces that spanned from homelessness in St. Louis to profiles of local restaurants.
During her first year at the University, Poolos joined Student Life as a contributing writer for the news, scene, and forum sections. She became a junior scene editor at the end of her first year and became the senior scene editor as a sophomore.
Senior scene editor Alice Gottesman said that Poolos taught her everything she needed to know about journalism when she joined Student Life.
“I had no newspaper experience [before Student Life],” Gottesman said. “Via regularly ran editing workshops and guided me on how to interact with the team, as well as write and edit articles.”
Gottesman added that Via is collaborative and “gives feedback in an encouraging way.”
Poolos said that she hopes to continue the “team building” efforts that Robbins brought to the EIC position.
“[Julia cared about] people having fun in the office,” she said. “We have a lot of people who are really excited about StudLife this year, and that’s half the battle.”
Richards is a political science and English double-major, with a minor in writing. She joined Student Life as a first year and wrote for the sports, forum, and news sections. Richards has also worked as a beat writer for the Cotuit Kettleers, a Cape Cod-based collegiate baseball team.
Richards said that former editor-in-chief Matthew Friedman told her to apply to be an editor for the sports section, believing the role to be a good fit for her. She added that a former editor of the section, Dorian DeBose, made a lasting impact on her by motivating her to attend sports section meetings.
“The reason I [went to] the sports meetings was because of Dorian,” she said. “He is the funniest person alive.”
Richards was selected for the senior sports editor position as a sophomore and has since stayed an editor for the section. During her second year, Richards became the managing sports editor.
Senior sports editor Hussein Amuri wrote in a statement to Student Life that working with Richards has been an honor and described her as a “mentor” to him.
“She’s been a great friend to me and so many other people in the sports section,” Amuri wrote. “I think Clara will bring [a needed amount] of human interaction to the EIC role.”
Student Life’s Future
Richards is proud of the work that Student Life has put out this year and the community that has been built around the publication.
“I feel like we have produced really good work,” she said. “[Also,] we have received good feedback community-wise…it was really fun to see everyone together at the gala.”
Poolos added that Student Life’s strength comes from its staff members and said that she hopes they will stick around next year.
Despite any challenges that might lie ahead, the duo said they are thrilled to become co-editors-in-chief.
“Via and I know how big of a role [the editor-in-chief position] is from Julia and Matthew,” Richards said. “However, we are so excited [to be co-EICs].”
Editor’s Note: This article was revised after its original publication to correct the name and title of the WUSMI board director who made the EIC announcement.