Inside the Mind of a College Newspaper Editor By Nolan Cleary

Written by on November 8, 2021

Nolan Cleary is the Editor-in-Chief for The Hudsonian at Hudson Valley Community College. He is interning at The Xperience.

There’s a decent amount of pressure when it comes to running a newspaper. That pressure is extremely high when that newspaper has existed for 60 years.

Part of the responsibility for me as an Editor-in-Chief is to expand upon what made The Hudsonian work to begin with, while introducing new things to expand the legacy of the paper beyond the next 60 years.

One of the biggest challenges we face as an organization is change to status. Before COVID-19, The Hudsonian ran on campus. Our staff worked in our office, and everyone showed up to our meetings in person.

That all changed after the COVID-19 pandemic began. New challenges to how we work meant we were blindsided. Our meetings turned into Zoom calls. Interest in our club dropped. For the beginning of the pandemic, we were severely understaffed.

Just because the world stops however, doesn’t mean the news does, so we were forced to resort to new ways of working. Articles became available only on our website for a time. For over a year, print copies of our paper were completely suspended.

As a vaccine for the virus became available, and as life started to go back to normal, print papers returned, and production started to return to normal. We’re working in person again. Our staff is almost completely full, and there’s now more interest in our paper once again.

For many however, the experience of being in person still isn’t as it used to be before the pandemic. Many students are still working remotely. Mask requirements remain in place for our college even despite a requirement that all students get vaccinated to be on campus for classes.

The newsroom is not as busy as it once was. The implication is clear; while this pandemic may be going away, it won’t erase many of the changes to our everyday lives that it brought.

To counter this, we still must adapt to a more digital environment which seems to have become more popular since COVID-19 began. One popular outlet among listeners and readers of all ages is the podcast.

It seems today like everyone has one. For The Hudsonian, the idea of the podcast always seemed like a no brainer. For years, previous students and staff developed the idea of a podcast, an outlet inspired by popular hosts like Joe Rogan. The question was never if, but when. For years, the idea was continually kicked to the curb. Always entertained, but never brought to fruition.

In the Summer of 2020, when the pandemic continued to keep our everyday readers indoors, the time seemed right for a podcast to finally lift off the ground.

Finally, the decision was made, and a podcast was green lit. The Hud. is the official podcast for The Hudsonian. The podcast’s goal is to more intimately capture the news and ideas of students on and off campus.

I started The Hud. last year, finally pulling the long drawn out idea off the ground. Since then, more students have handled the series, like Samantha Simmons, a student whose interest in podcasts sparked from her hosting The Hud. for a semester.

Sean Tedeschi, a marine who returned for college, also co-hosted the podcast for a time. Throughout that time, a number of prominent guests, like former HUD Secretary Mike Espy, have guest starred on the podcast. Today, Lomie Blum hosts the podcast. Lomie came to Hudson Valley Community College through a special program that allowed students

“I definitely really enjoy working for the podcast. It kind of gives me some more freedom in some ways to talk to who I want to because, and I’m coming up with ideas for interviews and stuff like that. It’s also a really cool way to explore different staff and students, and stuff going on on-campus,” Lomie said.

For many students, their experience at the paper varies. Lomie told me her experience at The Hudsonian has been a positive one. “It’s definitely given me the road map on how to write articles and interview people and format. Especially being the News Editor last semester. I felt really immersed in the process. It was very educational,” Lomie said.

Lomie previously went to school in New York City but moved to the Capital Region after COVID began. Lomie long had an interest in journalism. In high school she took a magazine class. When she was in high school, her great-grandmother was a reporter for the Indianapolis Star.

“I was definitely exposed to journalism growing up and being a punk kid growing up writing articles about the music scene growing for myself, but I only started working for an organized, traditional newspaper when I joined The Hudsonian,” Lomie said.

Lomie said she joined The Hudsonian to gain more experiences and connections at Hudson Valley Community College.

“I joined The Hudsonian really to meet people and because I wanted to become a better writer, and I think it’s definitely done both of those things. I’ve met some great people on the team, and my writing skills have definitely sharpened, my interviewing skills have definitely sharpened,”

Samee Mahmud copy edits every article for The Hudsonian. Her job involves proofreading grammar and spelling for the paper. Samee told me this is one of the first employment opportunities she had.

“It’s been really good, really eye opening. I think this was my first job experience before working retail. It’s been really good because it’s given me some experience on how to talk to strangers, and it’s good. When you apply for a position you can tell people ‘oh, I know how to interview people’,” Samee said.

Samee said that The Hudsonian requires a system of students working together in order for the paper to be successful. “For school projects, like projects you have in class, you might have a partner, but it might be like one person does one thing. There might be some imbalance there whereas there’s a whole system. So, there are the Editors, and then there’s the Copy Editor, then Layout, then Web. We really have to work with each other, and it’s a lot easier, because there’s a big staff,” Samee said.

Our staff includes members of all ages, from younger students in high school, to older students who are returning from past semesters. Rachel Bornn, the advisor from The Hudsonian, has served in the position for well over 15 years.

The Hudsonian has also received a number of awards, placing third in a category of two-year college papers as recently as 2020. Hundreds of papers competed in the contest.

Throughout our many years of publication, many different guests have been featured in our paper. Congressman Lee Zeldin and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard were interviewed for our paper, as was President Barack Obama, future First Lady Jill Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer among others.

Our paper also has a prominent list of alumnus. ABC news reporter John Gray is one of them, having previously served as Editor-in-Chief in the 1980s. Randy Hammond was another. Having handled the sports section during his time as a college student, Hammond now works as a correspondent for Spectrum News.

As The Hudsonian now celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2021, not only do I look back upon the accomplishments the paper previously added, but I look to the future as well, pondering the next ways to expand the publication past print.

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