For Elizabeth Sanchez, the decision to be Editor-in-chief of the Daily Lobo goes hand-in-hand with her love for writing and her pursuit of journalism.
“Journalism is important. It’s all about advocating for people who don’t have a voice all the time,” she said. “Being in that position, I hope to continue to fulfill that role.”
As Editor-in-chief, Sanchez said she will add to the Daily Lobo’s online diversity in the form of podcasts, documentary videos and building a stronger social media presence.
Sanchez also wants to bring outside expertise into the workplace, implementing workshops to help new reporters and photographers hone their skills, she said.
She hopes to bring an emphasis on beat reporting to the culture (with food and movie reviews) and news desks.
“That way, everyone gets more integrated with the community, and they always know exactly who to contact for certain things,” she said.
While there are always areas for improvement, Sanchez said the Lobo already shines in many ways, including being producers of diverse content.
“There’s something always going on on campus and we’re pretty much always there to catch it,” she said.
Through observing the hard work of her predecessor, David Lynch, as well as all the desk editors, Sanchez said she has learned a lot about collaboration and running a successful paper.
“The collaboration here is phenomenal,” Sanchez said. “Everyone works very well together — we’re functioning as a true newsroom.”
Lynch is very confident in Sanchez as his replacement.
“She has an understanding of the Daily Lobo’s role in serving a campus community the size of UNM, the rigors that come along with that and what it takes to be successful in a position that’s basically 24/7/365,” he said.
As editor-in-chief, Lynch said one of the hardest lessons he had to learn was that “you can’t make everyone happy — and you shouldn’t.”
“If a leader in any newsroom is managing it the right way with the right goals, you’re going to piss some people that you write about off,” he said. “And that’s perfectly fine, as long as it is the result of a story that is substantial, important and fair. The important stories are never going to make everyone happy.”
Lynch was the one who interviewed Sanchez for the staff reporter position when she applied as a freshman just under two years ago.
“I immediately applied for the Daily Lobo when I found out there was a newspaper on campus,” Sanchez said.
Since that time, Sanchez has been able to make valuable community connections and gain more knowledge on the functions of different groups and organizations, she said, skills she will use as the new editor-in-chief.
“Elizabeth’s biggest challenge will probably just be a continuation of the biggest challenge that I faced when I started,” Lynch said, “continuing the necessary steps to make the Daily Lobo a digital-first publication without sacrificing key journalistic tenets of being objective, being fair and providing relevant news that students may not know affects them until they read about it.”
Sanchez, a sophomore double majoring in Spanish and multimedia journalism, primarily did creative writing at Santa Fe High School, switching focus to journalism once she started at UNM.
Working at the Lobo has made Sanchez feel accomplished as a writer.
“It’s polished my skills,” she said, adding that the job has made her see the many ways to help the community and make the student voice heard.
“Being here is extremely valuable to me,” Sanchez said. “I feel that I’m doing something meaningful, and I’m doing something that is an accomplishment.”
Lynch said since Sanchez started at the Lobo, she has demonstrated “news instincts that can’t really be taught,” but which are necessary for the job.
His biggest advice to Sanchez would be “not to get complacent.”
“It’s extremely easy to do that, as editor-in-chief, when you’re also juggling school and everything else that college students are dealing with,” Lynch said. “But she has a service now to perform to the UNM and local community, and it’s her job to come up with a way to make sure she is on top of her game as constantly as she can be in the next 12 months.”
Sanchez, who has worked for Bella Media Publishing Company and the Santa Fe New Mexican, said journalism is a very valuable “exchange of information.”
“It allows people to express themselves, to have a voice, to learn about one another,” she said. “When you learn about one another, you grow to understand what it’s like to be human, and you have more empathy and compassion for people.”
Matthew Reisen is news editor the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MReisen88.