When I first started writing for the Envoy, we got our assignments at random via email and didn’t have regular staff meetings. When I first started editing my freshman year, we used QuarkXPress and red pen on printouts of the spreads. Until my junior year, the Envoy was only in print. In the roughly four years I have worked on the Envoy, so much has changed.
Next year, the Envoy will have been part of the School of Diplomacy for ten years. In that time, the Envoy has served as a way for students to develop their writing and gain experience analyzing news. The most rewarding part of being editor-in-chief has been working with writers and watching their writing improve every issue. Curating the Focus section has given me the opportunity to shed light on ongoing problems that either ceased being covered in the news or were being underreported.
The overarching theme of the Envoy is momentum: Just as the world moves forward, so do our writers, and so does the paper. As we pass the Envoy on to the next generation of editors, I want them to fearlessly take the Envoy in new directions. We have shifted our content to be more analytical, moved our publication online, created a stronger sense of connection between the editorial board and writers, and published our first editorial. So much can be accomplished and improved in a short period of time and I am excited to see the direction our future editors will take the paper, bringing it to new heights.
Through the last four years, I have had the incredible opportunity to work with my wonderful fellow editors. Their unique perspectives and creative ideas have fueled the Envoy onward and working with them has been a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to see the magnificent things they do with the rest of their lives.
I would also like to thank Dean Smith for looking over every issue to ensure that all facts are properly cited and the grammar and headlines are impeccable. His patience and eye for detail have helped us improve as editors and writers. I am also grateful for the Constance J. Millstein Endowed Fund, which has financed the Envoy for ten years. And finally, thank you to our writers for their hard work and dedication.
As a recent arrival from the Philippines, I was worried about fitting in and finding my niche. I knew my heart was set on studying international relations, but I had no next step planned, or any idea of what kind of career I wanted to pursue. When Dean Sanjamino gave me my first copy of the Envoy, I must have turned my nose up at it – on the front page, the lead story carried a headline with a typo: Musim, instead of Muslim.
I’ve been with this paper for four years, so I’ve heard my share of criticism: Your news is always late. Your layout looks bad. Your writers aren’t good. The Envoy isn’t real journalism.
So when I saw that first subpar copy, I could’ve said, “No, thank you.” But if I have one piece of advice to impart to my successors, as cliché as it is, it’s this: Be the change you wish to see.
Your news is always late. So we built a website from scratch and revised our processes to publish new content every week. Your layout looks bad. So we appointed a layout editor and negotiated with the School to buy InDesign licenses. Your writers aren’t good. So we established a system of communication and feedback between editors and writers that wasn’t previously there. The Envoy isn’t real journalism. So we invested in our Diplomacy News section and assigned our best writers to cover events on campus – including, most recently, the Diplomacy senator elections.
And what do we get in return? The satisfaction that the School is proud enough of our newspaper to send it to all prospective students. The fulfillment that comes from a freshman approaching our table at the Involvement Fair and telling us, “I came to Seton Hall because of the Envoy.”
I have been fortunate not only to have worked with the best of Diplomacy as my fellow editors, but also to have gained them as my best friends. Most important, our little family couldn’t have asked for a better Diplo Dad than Dean Smith. He is everything we could ask for in an adviser: one who plays devil’s advocate to challenge and improve our ideas, while still letting us learn from making our own decisions.
The past four years have not been easy, but if I ever get anywhere in life (ideally, dodging bullets as a war correspondent – sorry, Mom), it’s because Dean Sanjamino told an insecure freshman to join The Diplomatic Envoy. And the lesson here is this: Love what you do, and the résumé line will come easily.
As the Opinion editor for The Diplomatic Envoy, I’ve had many opportunities to express myself on paper and in person. Normally, the task of expressing my feelings about the Envoy would be easy. But the time has come to pass the torch, and I feel a whirlwind of emotions.
I’ve been a writer since my freshman year and an editor since my second semester. Everything since then is a blur, though my experiences have been nothing if not memorable. I’ve met incredible people, made lifelong friends, and learned more pages of the AP Stylebook than I ever thought possible – or necessary (kidding, Cheska!). There’s so much to say about what the Envoy brought into my life and what I’m grateful for. Too much, actually.
I have to acknowledge my incredible Opinion writers for always giving me 100 percent and accepting my critiques, my arguments, and my skepticism of all Trump-related topics. In addition, I’d like to thank Dean Smith for making the administrative side of the paper a non-issue so the writers could write and the editors could edit.
More than anything else, I’ve collaborated with the hardest-working editorial board, made up of ladies (and one gentleman) who put in countless hours and made numerous improvements to the Envoy as an organization. Every paper wants to be recognized as a serious source of information – or, at least, as more than a copy-paste aggregator. We went above and beyond with expectations for writers and editors alike to provide accurate and consistent coverage and to improve each other’s writing through collaborative editing.
To my successor, the new editorial board, and every staff writer, I have this to say: As long as you remain passionate about the success of the Envoy, everything else will fall into place. You may not always agree with one another, but you will strive to see that the final product is a cohesive reflection of your consent and compromise. That’s what diplomacy is all about.
Finally, to my amazing fellow editors: I am so proud of what we’ve built together. I am so proud to be an alumna of the School of Diplomacy and a lifelong supporter of the Envoy. Even though we’re moving forward, I am so proud of what we are leaving behind.
Two years ago, I sat staring at my phone at a lounge in the United Nations, tasked with my very first Envoy assignment: interviewing one of our distinguished alumna about her career path. I had a list of questions in front of me, but I was still quite nervous. Would I really be able to write a piece worthy of print?
Although that first phone interview was a bit shaky, the Alumni Spotlight assignment quickly sparked a passion for journalism. I became enamored with the process of collecting and presenting information to share a story. After honing my craft with a few more articles, I joined the editorial board during the fall of my junior year. Since then, I’ve grown immensely as a writer, an editor, and a young professional.
As International News editor, I have had the pleasure of presiding over a section that encompasses the entire world. Every month, I get to explore every corner of the globe while scouring for interesting stories online.
Most important, the International News section has given me the valuable opportunity to provide a platform for conflicts and issues that receive less attention from mainstream news. By pitching articles about strife in South Sudan or the besieged cities of Syria, our paper increases awareness of atrocities that may elude the average college student.
I cannot, however, claim all the responsibility for my section’s success. One of the greatest pleasures of my tenure has been working with the amazing writers on our team. Seeing our students grow as writers has been incredibly rewarding. Their submissions are the lifeblood of our paper.
The paper would go nowhere, however, without the hard work of my colleagues. Every member of the editorial board has gone above and beyond to make the Envoy a success. From publishing problems to writer crises, we’ve persevered because we’ve worked together.
Throughout my two-year tenure, I’ve seen the Envoy grow and improve immensely. We’ve expanded our writer base, perfected our layout, and continued to produce a quality publication.
As for advice, I’d recommend that my successor keep her eye on the end goal. Your section will come together by the deadline, even if your writers turn in their pieces late, misunderstand the pitch, or fail to meet the word count. Read up and use your section as an opportunity to shed light on issues that are often ignored.
Thank you to our adviser, Dean Smith, and to the editorial team – my counterparts, colleagues, and lifelong friends. You’ve all helped me grow as a person and as a professional, and I will forever be grateful for our time together.
My first semester after transferring to Seton Hall was rough. I would wake up, go to class and go home. While I loved the classes and the professors made the subject of international relations engrossing and relevant, I felt as if I was only there as a silent observer. These feelings were amplified while I read through the LinkedIn pages of my fellow students, persisting until an open advising session with Dean Sanjamino. She suggested that I join the School’s newspaper.
The editors intimidated me at my first meeting. They carried themselves with a sense of confidence and their accomplishments were incredible to me. I had the pleasure of writing all my articles, except one, on African elections for International News. The Envoy honed my writing style, and also made me love hunting for sources.
My ascension to an editorial position still shocks me to this day. Emily Balan, the inaugural layout editor, trusted that I could take over after she graduated. My first challenge as editor was to lay out a magazine, a project that the Envoy had never tackled before. It was a great learning experience. I still remember spending a night on the floor of an airport in Houston, trying to get the summer edition just right. I was always familiar with InDesign and other desktop publishing software, but at the Envoy, I was able to polish my skill.
As the layout editor, I had the privilege of looking over every article in all stages, from first drafts to final edits. I gained the ability to identify a writer by their style. I would find myself reading Mohammed Syed’s articles wonder where he had the time to do such in-depth research, or respectfully disagreeing with Vincent Maresca’s opinions, or admiring Gabi Hunt’s work and wondering whether I could ever be as creative a writer as she is. Most of all, it is a great feeling to see freshmen gaining their first article in print.
The Envoy guarantees professional dividends no matter what position you have within the organization. I no longer feel like a passenger within the University, but an active and contributing member of the School of Diplomacy. Joining the Envoy was the best decision I have ever made and I truly believe that.