The Weekly: Campus Editor Pavan Acharya and Editor-in-chief Alex Perry talk Week 3

Erica Schmitt, Audio Editor

This week’s episode of The Weekly highlights the top headlines of the quarter so far with Campus Editor Pavan Acharya and Editor-in-chief Alex Perry.



ERICA SCHMITT: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Erica Schmitt, the Daily’s audio editor. This is The Weekly: a podcast that breaks down our top headlines each week. Welcome to the first recap of the quarter.

ERICA SCHMITT: Today I’m with Campus Editor Pavan Acharya and Editor-in-Chief Alex Perry. How are you guys doing?

PAVAN ACHARYA: I’m doing fantastic. Thank you, Erica.

ERICA SCHMITT: So Pavan, how have you been adjusting to being this quarter’s campus editor?

PAVAN ACHARYA: I think the adjustment’s gone very smoothly. I wrote for campus my Winter, then Spring Quarter of my freshman year, and then I was assistant campus editor with Davis Giangiulio, Charlotte Ehrlich, working with Russell Leung, who was the campus editor last quarter. I feel like the transition’s been pretty smooth. It’s been great reaching out to a bunch of different organizations on campus and speaking with them to learn about the goings-on on campus.

ERICA SCHMITT: What are some of the top stories at the campus desk?

PAVAN ACHARYA: We’ve had so many fantastic stories at the campus desk these past few weeks. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about every single one, but there are a couple I really want to highlight. We had a story published recently on stolen bikes written by Lexi Goldstein, one of my assistants. The story really delves into the experience that many students have on campus regarding their bikes being stolen and looking into how this problem is in Evanston as well. There are many different shop owners and people who work at bike shops in Evanston, were spoken with for the story, who talked about experiences they’ve heard about people’s bikes being stolen these past few weeks, especially now after break.

PAVAN ACHARYA: Also on campus this past week or so, Northwestern University Graduate Workers, their union with United Electric workers was finalized after a vote in which the yes count was above 90%. So we were able to cover that event and that election, Fiona Roach, also one of my assistants, in addition to Kaavya and Lexi, was able to cover that election, kind of give a background on the moments leading up to it.

PAVAN ACHARYA: Also Josh McKenzie, assistant dean of students, he announced about two weeks ago that he’s leaving Northwestern. And this past Wednesday was his last day at Northwestern. We covered the news that he was leaving, and we also wrote a brief profile on him as well with Josh McKenzie saying that his time at Northwestern has been a ‘unicorn of an experience.’

PAVAN ACHARYA: We also have a story on the protest in China as a result of the Zero-Covid policy. It is written by Katie Jahns, senior staffer. Much of that story really focused on the experience of international students who have had a hard time going back and forth between China these past few years because of the strict COVID policies, and that story had a very cool national lens.

PAVAN ACHARYA: We’ve also had a couple of stories focused on science and technology as well. Northwestern researchers and professors and faculty have such a wide array of skills. We also had a story on labs by Samantha Powers really highlighting the longer labs and some courses such as chemistry, or biological courses at Northwestern, labs that lasts four to eight hours, how students kind of are able to persist through those and how they use time management skills to arrange their schedules in a succinct way.

PAVAN ACHARYA: Also kind of looking around at sports as well, the Welsh-Ryan Arena is now allowing and selling alcohol. So Maia Pandey, also senior staffer and former print managing editor, covered that story, spoke with people at Northwestern — Northwestern students, but also spoke with some residents who were at the Welsh-Ryan arena buying alcohol, to gather their thoughts so you can check out that story as well.

PAVAN ACHARYA: Last but not least, Buen Día and 847 Burger are two new restaurants in the Norris (University) Center. 847 Burger is in the Best of Local section of the Norris University Center. So that Best of Local is basically a section of Norris University Center where a restaurant comes in and it stays there for about a quarter. And also Buen Día is replacing Patty Squared, which was also a burger shop. And Buen Día has a very interesting layout in that people can have their food made while they’re in line, which many students and some students in the article said, cited as a reason for why they love the new location.

ERICA SCHMITT: Any final remarks from the campus desk, Pavan?

PAVAN ACHARYA: I couldn’t shout out every single article, but I just want to say great job to everyone who’s been reporting for the desk. It’s been a really solid few weeks of reporting, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the quarter.

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ERICA SCHMITT: Alex, you are our new editor in chief. How has the experience been so far?

ALEX PERRY: It has been amazing. I love love love being in the newsroom not just for the space but also the people in it. I think that going into this quarter over Winter Break, I was doing interviews for Edit Board, and I was just getting really excited because everyone had really great ideas for the positions that they wanted to hold Winter Quarter. Like we have Notes from the Newsroom now from Elena Hubert, our audience engagement editor. And just I guess the sheer passion of people, and them wanting to come back to the newsroom made me really excited for Winter Quarter.

ALEX PERRY: Even though I was a print managing editor last winter, I had management experience, but this experience has really taught me the difference between leadership and support.

ERICA SCHMITT: What are some of your favorite stories and projects going on at The Daily?

ALEX PERRY: I’m really excited just generally about new launches. A lot of people have been talking about series that they want to start, so, like the podcast desk starting the City Council recaps, and I think that’s a lovely collab with our city desk.

ALEX PERRY: Something else that I’m excited about, just as a former opinion editor, I have to like show bias to my desk, because it’s the best desk, but Yiming, who is actually a former print managing editor, former staff editor, he has this biweekly column called ‘Rice Purity,’ and the first installation of it was such a hit. I think that our opinion desk, it has a lot of range and some of the pieces that I really appreciate are when people are personal. Anyone can really have an opinion on national politics or state-level politics, but when someone really puts themselves out there, and you see the reaction of readers like ‘I’ve experienced this too,’ or ‘This is like something I went through and I also grew in the same way that you did,’ that’s just really heartwarming to see because I feel like opinion as a desk is really stepping outside of the hot take area and going into more reflective stuff.

ALEX PERRY: Ryan Field has been quite controversial. I think Northwestern has a very interesting relationship with Evanston. And the relationship that Northwestern has with Evanston’s government versus its residents, is very different. I think the city desk is really trying to center the resident experience and the story on Ryan Field and how this renovation is going to affect residents there, or how they’re concerned about the impacts of like intoxicated students, late games, traffic in the area, loud noises, like those are all very valid concerns. And I think that even though our paper is like The Daily Northwestern, we technically serve Evanston and the Northwestern communities, which means that we do have an obligation to represent those perspectives in our paper.

ALEX PERRY: Selena Kuznikov, our arts and entertainment editor, had this idea of bringing in a theatre critic, Nixie Strazza, a junior here — a junior senior staffer, basically came onto the desk. Her job is just to write these reviews, these pieces. And I think it’s really cool.

ALEX PERRY: This is from our sports desk. It wasn’t our traditional sports coverage, I will say that, but it was the news that had an immediate impact on the community. So I was really proud of this article. It’s titled ‘Northwestern students denied at Welsh-Ryan Arena on night of Jan. 4 win over in-state rival Illinois.’ Olatunji Osho-Williams, one of our digital managing editors, wrote this piece, and it was basically about how students were being denied entry to this basketball game at Welsh-Ryan Arena. A lot of the students see sports and attending sports sporting events as a way to just de-stress from academics. And it was quite big news on this campus that there were students literally being denied entry for that student seating. The fact that they waited like half an hour in line to get onto a bus, they took that 10, 15-minute bus ride, they got there, they waited in line and then told at the door that they couldn’t go in. Like it was just it was kind of big news on campus, because to our knowledge this hasn’t happened before.

ALEX PERRY: Within a week, the athletics department came out with a new method of reserving student seating at these games and then they increased the seating. When you have a story like this that people read, that people respond to, that the University reacts to, it just reminds us how powerful this platform is and how important the work we do here is.

ERICA SCHMITT: Thank you for taking me through this week’s stories. Any final thoughts Alex?

ALEX PERRY: I think that, you know, people traditionally see this role as leadership, like introducing new initiatives to the newsroom, but I just want to support other people’s ideas because my job is really to just shift resources around the newsroom to bring life to other people’s ideas. It’s probably one of the positions that I, like, never think about myself, because the editor in chief just makes decisions that affect everyone else in the newsroom. Therefore, I have to consider everybody else’s needs above my own. And I think it’s interesting holding this position junior year, because that’s when a lot of juniors start thinking about post-grad. That’s when a lot of upperclassmen write clips that helped them get full-time jobs, but I’m just taking the time to give back to this paper. Because it gave a lot to me the first two years I was at the school, and I want to create that environment for people so that they feel like staying here.


ERICA SCHMITT: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Erica Schmitt. Thanks for listening to the first Weekly episode of the quarter. This episode was reported and produced by me. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is myself, the digital managing editors are Joanne Haner and Olatunji Osho-Williams and the editor in chief is Alex Perry. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @eschmitt318

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