To The Oracle and Beyond: How the College Newspaper Changed My Entire Experience

“Hi my name is Alicia, and I am a writer for The New Paltz Oracle at SUNY New Paltz.” 

I would say that sentence every time I conducted an interview in person or over the phone. I would say those words at the beginning of emails to inquire more about an event as well. Joining this paper has pushed me to write stories I wasn’t particularly interested in, venture out to new places and finetune my skills. I’ve written pieces I will never lose touch with. Some sources have remained in contact with me and corresponding back to them about events and articles is all part of the fun.

The Oracle was something I always wanted to get involved with, but I was busy with other extracurriculars including: National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), WFNP radio station, community service and being an RA. Until Rob Piersall, a friend I met during my freshman year in Bliss hall, told me I should write for the paper. I was hesitant at first because of all my other activities, but his invitation was something I admired, and I thought more about joining the paper. 

This past Spring was my first semester as a features copy editor. I had the creativity to find stories about new and exciting things happening in New Paltz and then write about it. With my time at the paper, I have written short articles to longer pieces and worked with a great staff of other student journalists.

One of my favorite stories I covered was the New Paltz Zine Challenge. This was my first big feature story, where I met with students who participated in the challenge and they showed me their homemade zines. I took many photographs, and the layout of the story mixed with the photos was something I was proud of. I also enjoyed covering the Hawk the Vote voter education event. This was more of a news article with quotes from Mayor Tim Rogers to speaking to NYPRIG.

This past semester I continued as a features copy editor, working alongside Nicole Bressi and Jake Mauriello. Our section was diverse with new and exciting things and I am proud of how it came together. 

Nicole Bressi: Nicole, thank you for being one of my first friends on the paper. From day one, I admired your cool style and your knowledge of films, arts and everything else. From getting snacks every Wednesday night to having a good time outside of the office, you have impacted my time here at the paper tremendously. I know you’re going to do amazing things in the future. Thanks for being my number one. 

Jake Mauriello: Jake (King Jake), you have grown to become a valuable and determined journalist. You have your priorities straight and I cherish how organized you are. By the way, you are a true InDesign king, for sure. You always bring happiness and pure joy all the time. I am so happy I met you at this fine establishment.

Natalie Aguilar: Natalie, the first time I met you, you helped me adapt quickly to the routines of the paper. I had no idea what a slug was, and you helped me find stories and organize it on the document. Thank you for teaching me most of what I know now! You have killed it as Managing Editor this semester and have been a great leader to everyone. I hope you find many more snakes/ deer/ lizards of New Paltz. 

Rob Piersall: Rob, as I mentioned above, thank you for inviting me to join the paper. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here writing this column. Also, I wouldn’t have half as much the experience and clips in my resume. Thank you for impacting my time here in New Paltz. I hope you’re up to some good journalistic work. Daddy up on that AP style!

Maddy Alfonso: Maddy, you are a boss arts and entertainments page editor. You are seriously like a wizard of some sorts. Thanks for being a lovely friend and listener. It’s always fun joking around in the office, and I am going to miss you a lot. But, we still have Mexican Kitchen. Let’s go. 

Jimmy O’Neill: Jimmy, whenever I hear the 1975 it reminds me of you. I want to thank you for letting me interview you for my literature of journalism assignment. I didn’t know you much then, but now you have become a friendly face. Good luck with the sports section, your sports pages always look perfect. 

Cloey Callahan: Cloey, you have done amazing things with The Teller. It is a beautiful collage of art, poetry, photography and short stories. I remember when you asked me if it was a good idea to make a literary magazine, and I knew you were going to take it to great places. Being a features copy editor with you last semester was so much fun and I won’t forget the Tide doughnut story you did. 

Kelsey Fredericks, Matt Schenfeld, Max Freebern, Emma Hines and Rachael Purtell: You all have given it your all this semester. I appreciate your hard work ethic and innovative stories and cartoons. I have learned so much from all of you, and I will miss all of your positive energies in the newsroom. 

To all the current and new copy editors: Mahnoor Ali, Stephanie Molina, Matt McDonough, Nikki Donohue, Rachel Muller, Shyana Fisher and Nicole Zanchelli, you got this! This semester was a blast. I am so happy to have worked with you all so closely. Correcting AP style tips wouldn’t have been the same without you all. Believe in your reporting and interviewing skills. The paper is now in your hands, and you’re going to do great things!

Adam Bosch, Nancy Heinz, Rachel Somerstein, Lisa Phillips and my other journalism professors: Thank you for teaching me the rules of journalism and how to seek truth and report it. I have learned so much from your lectures, presentations and projects. Thank you for answering all my questions about what is appropriate for a project, and allowing me to come to your office hours. Professor Phillips, your immersive journalism assignment made me accept a lot of things in my life. Professor Somerstein, Picture Culture was the class that opened my eyes up to so many new things. Professor Bosch, thanks for challenging me in J2. I have kept your wordpress in my tabs, and I look back every so often. Your techniques have propelled my experiences at The New Paltz Oracle.

Thank you all for letting me use this paper as a piece of my identity in college and soon to be in the real world. I am excited to move on to new adventures this spring as an intern at the Hudson Valley Magazine. Cheers.