As of May 13, Alexa “Lex” Menz became Editor-in-Chief of The Western Carolinian campus newspaper.
Previously, Menz was Co-Editor alongside English – professional writing major Ryan Alexander. Alexander stepped down from his position as Co-Editor to take an internship with the Special Olympics as part of his degree requirements. When discussing the future of leadership, Alexander and Menz put forth to The Western Carolinian’s Editorial Board the motion to switch back to one Editor-in-Chief, which was voted into effect, 7-0.
“Having Co-Editors had its good side and bad side,” said Menz. “Collaboration was the key, and Ryan and I had a strong working relationship that provided a good leadership for our staff. However, with such busy lives and having to plan around at least two, usually three or more schedules, moving things forward was challenging.
“I think going back to one Editor-in-Chief will be less confusing and more efficient,” continued Menz, “but the collaboration won’t stop.”
The Editorial Board also voted in the new position of Managing Editor in April, according to Menz. The Managing Editor will act as a liaison between the staff writers and become a section editor of multiple sections, which includes the duties of assigning articles and editing them for mistakes.
The Managing Editor position will officially begin at the start of fall semester in August. Tyler Auffhammer, the current News Editor of The Western Carolinian, was hired in late April for the position.
“After listening to the faculty’s praise for Tyler and working with him side-by-side for over a year, I felt he was the best choice,” said Menz. “He also got several recommendations from other members of the staff. He has a strong work ethic, gets along well with the staff and doesn’t make up excuses if he happens to make a mistake. I’m looking forward to seeing his accomplishments as a journalist in this position.”
“I feel honored to be promoted to Managing Editor because I will have an opportunity to work with talented and dedicated staff members,” said Auffhammer. “Obviously, this position will require more responsibility and challenges, but I look forward to rising to the task. Working as Managing Editor will be a great experience, and I look forward to starting this in August.”
Auffhammer will be a junior in the fall, studying secondary English education and creative writing. In August 2012, he was promoted to News Editor from his position as a staff writer. Since arriving at Western Carolina, Auffhammer has presented at WCU’s Undergraduate Expo, the Senior Literary Conference in 2012 and the 27thannual National Conference of Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.
“I greatly enjoyed working under [Auffhammer] when he was still News Editor,” said staff writer Brandy Carl. “I think he’ll do a fantastic job as Managing Editor.”
Menz and Auffhammer hope to create a bigger readership for the newspaper in the coming months.
“As Managing Editor, I hope to first and foremost put out the best newspaper that we can,” said Auffhammer. “In doing so, we will create a reputation for ourselves as a reliable and consistent newspaper that Western Carolina University and the local community can be proud of. I believe that we have the dedicated staff that is willing to go above and beyond to make that happen.”
“I’m looking forward to this summer and fall,” said Menz. “There’s so much I want to accomplish with the paper before I graduate this December. We have a great staff coming back in the fall, and our summer staff is excited and ready to go. I’m not saying it will be easy, but with this staff backing me up, I know we can achieve all of our goals.”
Since becoming a student at Western Carolina, Menz has presented at the 27th annual National Conference of Undergraduate Research and the 2012 WCU Expo. She has received two awards from Student Media: Best Editorial Writing in 2010 and The Western Carolinian MVP award in 2011. Menz is still deciding whether to attend graduate school at Western Carolina or to get a full-time job at a newspaper after graduating. She hopes to remain in the area, as she fell in love with Sylva and the surrounding communities. She volunteers at the Jackson County Animal Shelter and will be part of the Haywood Arts Regional Theater’s production “Brigadoon” in July and early August.
The Western Carolinian publishes once a month in the summer and bi-weekly during the school year. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please contact Menz at email@example.com.