Newspaper strengthens staff with new hires

Recently, The Western Carolinian experienced several changes in staff, including seeing the return of the News Editor position, acquiring an intern and hiring a new distributor. It has also seen the loss of two beloved writers.

In order to maintain stability with the newspaper with the approaching graduation of Editor-in-Chief Lex Menz, the new staff acquirements are mostly younger students.

Maegan Hoth was hired as the News Editor in October.

When former Managing Editor Tyler Auffhamer stepped down in September, Laura Odom took over as his replacement. In order to lessen her work load, Menz brought a News Editor on board. Previously, the News Editor position was temporarily removed since Auffhammer was promoted in August. The News Editor was to stay vacant at least for the rest of the semester, if not the rest of the school year, according to Menz.

“Tyler had been News Editor for quite some time, and I felt he was capable of handling the News section as well as Features on his own,” said Menz. “I would take care of the other sections. When Laura stepped up, I wanted to make sure she didn’t become overwhelmed, especially because she’s never held a section editor position. Hiring Maegan does not mean I feel that Laura cannot handle her job or becoming Editor-in-Chief in any manner. But, I didn’t want to also step down because it was too much at one time.”

Hoth was born in Long Island, N.Y. and moved to Statesville after eight years. She studies biology with a psychology minor. She plans to graduate in 2017. After graduating from Western Carolina University, Hoth aspires to apply to medical school and pursue a career in pathology. Her hobbies include writing, drawing, gaming and being outdoors.

“I had experience with journalism and the newspaper in my high school before coming to college,” said Hoth. “I didn’t expect to get involved in the newspaper in college, but when the opportunity came up, I couldn’t resist trying to get involved again. Plus, like every college student, I needed a job.”

Hoth was involved with the fall Issue 3 designing, participated in office hours and experienced her first assignment meeting on Oct. 14.

“The job has been a fun experience,” said Hoth. “I’ve enjoyed the different interviews I’ve conducted with people, and The Western Carolinian staff is great and fun to be around.”

Menz and Odom believe her personality and attitude fit with the rest of the staff’s teamwork and goals.

Odom stated, “Working with Maegan is great. She is bright and brings an enthusiasm that is catching.”

“She’s already made a connection with staff members, including myself,” said Menz. “Many of our staff members are English majors because of our faculty adviser Dr. Brent Kinser. Previously, Tyler and I went to his intro class for English to recruit the students for the paper. This year, Laura and I did the same thing. Maegan came to the newspaper on her own because she enjoys the work and wanted to be a part of the team.”

Menz added that the English majors gain vital related experience to put on their resumes, but other majors can benefit from it as well.

“Maegan can add to her resume that she worked in a different field not quite related to her career, but it makes her stand out. It shows that she’s managed a small staff of the News writers underneath her and that she’s gained valuable writing skills, which are important in any field these days,” said Menz. “I’m excited to have different majors on board. We have English, communications, entrepreneurship, computer science, political science, art and environmental science majors with minors in religion, photography, creative writing, mathematics and psychology.”

The Western Carolinian brought a non-academic intern on board, also in October.

Jovahnna “Jojo” Graves is a junior studying as an English- professional writing major. She has been a part of Boys Scouts since she was eight-years-old. In her time there, Graves won the top three highest awards of Quartermaster, Ringmaster and Silver. She also possesses a boating license, which she acquired before she could drive a car.

“The first time I officially met Jojo, she bounced into my office with incredible enthusiasm and spunk,” said Menz. “I instantly knew that she’d be a perfect addition to the newspaper, someone who would bring incredible energy to the staff and the paper itself. I haven’t been disappointed.”

Graves asked to begin an internship without academic credit or pay.

“I pulled up an internship contract, and she was ready to go,” said Menz. “Since then, she’s become a popular addition by quickly making friends with other staff members and finding common interests with many of them.”

Menz added that she took Graves with her to an interview with Dr. Sam Miller, vice chancellor of student affairs. Graves not only took copious notes during the interview but asked important questions related to the article. She has also participated in what the staff calls “Design Weekend,” a long couple of days of using InDesign CS6 to put the newspaper together.

“I wanted experience in something different,” said Graves about coming to The Western Carolinian. “How can I possibly know what I love if I never try anything?”

Originally from Fresno, Calif., Graves enjoys Cullowhee somewhat. She wishes the little town were closer to a city but enjoys walking around the hilly campus.

Graves added about her experience so far, “I find it most interesting when I meet new people, and I love how diverse the staff is.”

“Jojo has an enthusiasm,” said Odom, “and passion for learning that seeps into the lives of those around her. She creates a bubbling atmosphere that makes work easier.”

According to Menz, Graves will succeed not only at the newspaper but in several other areas.

“With that level of enthusiasm,” said Menz, “how could she not grow and develop into a wonderful student and wonderful employee at whatever future job she pursues.”

Joseph “Joe” Cobb came on board as distributor later than other hires. He interviewed along with another candidate, and he was hired after the distribution of Issue 3.

“I haven’t had the chance to work with him yet,” said Menz, at the time of this interview. “However, I could tell he possesses a strong work ethic based on the interview me and Laura conducted.”

Cobb is a junior political science major from Henderson. He enjoys the atmosphere of Cullowhee with its “mountain air” and its “small town” characteristics.

“I wanted to work on campus, and I want to support journalism on campus,” said Cobb about his new job.

Menz said, “The distributor position is a fun job, I believe. I’ve done it several times, particularly this year. It’s fun when you have someone with you. Other staff members will volunteer along with me, and we have a fun time running around, seeing campus and cracking jokes all the way through. Joe will learn a lot about campus, and he’ll meet sweet community members as he makes his rounds.

“I hope to continue to distribute with him on certain weekends,” said Menz, “so he’s not experiencing what I did over the 2012 summer of parking, getting out, grabbing newspapers, walking to the distribution locations, coming back, turning on the car, and so on and so forth. It gets a bit tedious. I will certainly join him on his first distribution to show him the locations and how many bundles go where.”

Cobb is excited to begin working on Nov. 1.

“I hope to gain even more interaction skills. I believe one could always use more experience dealing with the public,” said Cobb.

Unfortunately, The Western Carolinian has also lost additional writers and gained another empty position.

Sports Editor Ryan Michaud stepped down from his position to become a sports writer. He won a shared award with fellow sports writer Allison Adkins for Best Sports Article – “2013 SoCon Tournament.” So far, the position is empty with no plans to fill it until January.

“I’m relieved that Ryan didn’t leave the paper completely,” said Menz. “He’s full of new ideas, and he adds depth to our weak Sports section. I’ll admit that, if I’m going to be completely honest. But, we’re fixing it with more game coverage.”

Odom said, “Although Ryan stepped down from the Sports Editor position, we are looking forward to keeping him on the staff as a writer.”

Staff writer Katie Marshall and contributing writer Haley Smith decided to leave the paper entirely.

Marshall worked on large features articles and in the News section. At the end of the 2012-2013 school year, she won Best Newcomer, Best Features Article for “Before They Were Educators: Robert Conley” and Best Campus Life Article for “December Graduation.”

“It is sad to see Katie go,” said Odom. “She was a wonderful writer who always had a smile for her coworkers. We will miss her, and we know that she will excel in anything she chooses to do.”

“I will certainly miss Katie,” Menz added. “From her first article, I knew she’d be an excellent writer. I wish she could stay, but as always, education comes first. As our staff begins their upper level classes, homework is more stressful and takes up more time. It’s hard to balance. I’ll never be disappointed or angry at a staff member who leaves because they want to put more time into their schoolwork, or even their social lives. It’s student employment. It shouldn’t take up all their time during their college career.”

Smith worked at The Western Carolinian for a short time, but she also wrote large articles like “‘I need what? A look at Liberal Studies.”

“Hayley also experienced difficulty in balancing schoolwork,” said Menz. “I hope she succeeds at every aspect of her college career. She was a wonderful writer, and I hope she continues to pursue that in one way or another.”