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Editor’s Letter: Goodnight n’ Go

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This time roughly two years ago, I was called into the editor’s office to discuss the future of The Daily’s arts and entertainment section. Admittedly, the paper had never been known for its artsy tone or first-person narratives. Next to the hot takes of the Opinion desk and the investigations that staffers across the newsroom ran on Northwestern and Evanston, there was no space for writers seeking to hone their feature writing skills. The editor and I brainstormed for hours, and after several revisions and a couple venti drinks, the first rough draft of The Monthly came into being.

Some quarters later, it’s a little hard to let go. Reporters have come and gone, many rising in The Daily to become my own editors, (mostly) thankful for the skills and musical theater knowledge they picked up during their time here. Some still return to contribute a feature or two, but, usually, it’s their work that I see splashed across spreads of national publications with their bylines underneath that makes me the most proud.

So, as a farewell to the team that’s taught me the most, I want to thank everyone who made The Monthly what it is today. To Jane, Madeleine and Ruiqi, my beloved work wives, thank you for embarking on this journey with me. To every contributor and reader, thank you for your time and love. For all the late nights and 11th-hour edits, for all the music sessions and impromptu dance parties, for all the quotable moments over at the Norris couches, thank you.

— Stavros Agorakis

There’s no denying The Monthly has undergone changes since it first published in Spring 2017. As a then-assistant A&E editor, I had little idea where the magazine would go — if there would be enough content, if people would read it or if it would simply fade out of existence like many ambitious Daily projects often do.

But in just two years, I’ve watched The Monthly transform from its humble beginnings as an eight-page insert into a full-fledged entertainment supplement recently crowned Illinois’ best. We’ve covered Broadway stars like Jessie Mueller and famed Hollywood insiders like Meryl Streep and Zach Braff; Northwestern alumni rising to new heights and current student musicians forging their own paths at NU. With every bold redesign, new reporter and ambitious digital project, The Monthly has spread its wings and found its voice on campus.

And while I’ve been at The Daily ever since Fall Quarter of my freshman year, The Monthly is where I’ve found my home. You might call us crazy for spending hours editing one story or poring over a single page for the third time when it’s already 3 a.m. — but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a group of people more hard-working, creative and caring. I learned how to be a better journalist not just in Medill classes, but from working alongside my peers on Norris’ third-floor couches as Stavros taught me what makes a compelling story, and Jane showed me what an attention-grabbing lede really looks like.

So thank you to every reporter, designer, photographer, collaborator and supporter that has made our humble magazine what it is today; and thank you to every reader who has joined us on this journey.

— Madeleine Fernando

I inherited The Monthly from its original designer, Jerry Lee, in the fall of 2017. I had created a few spreads with him before, but taking over as The Monthly’s sole designer was a daunting task nonetheless. Jerry had always made designing the magazine look so easy, but the 16 blank pages of my first issue without him felt like an impossible task for one night.

But with the ridiculously enthusiastic and never-ending support of Stavros, Madeleine and Jane, I finished that first issue. And somehow, nearly two years later, I’ve designed 14 issues of The Monthly and received a glowing review from the Illinois College Press Association: “clean, simple design.” Be still, my heart.

That might sound like a joke, but I have never witnessed more solidarity, love and laughter than at The Monthly, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen sunlight (the record? 11 hours). Whether it’s giggling mindlessly over 3 a.m. final edits, or Stavros and Madeleine nearly losing their minds with excitement when I change literally one photo on a spread, The Monthly never fails to make me smile. This makes me even more excited and happy to welcome two new designers to the family: Roxanne and Caty.

Thank you to my editors Stavros, Madeleine and Jane for always cheering me on. Thank you to Jerry for starting it all. Thank you to Roxanne and Caty for continuing to love this magazine, and thank you to all the readers who keep us going.

— Ruiqi Chen

Email: agorakis@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @stavrosagorakis

Email: madeleinefernando2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @mbfmelody

Email: ruiqichen2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ruiqi_ch

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