Courier’s new Editor-in-Chief: New job, now what?

Tessa Morton, Editor-in-Chief

I have big shoes to fill, and challenges ahead I have never faced before and had never anticipated for myself. I neither feel prepared nor knowledgeable enough.

What I do have is determination, a willingness to turn up and put in the necessary hours, and faith in my team. I almost have adequate faith in myself. Being my own toughest critic, adequate faith is an impressive start.

This fall semester, we have more than just a new editor-in-chief. We also have two other new staff members, with more new team members to come. Only two members of the spring Courier team remain in their previous positions. The shake-up means the fall will be a fresh start for most of us and the paper as a whole.

Becoming the editor-in-chief was not something I envisioned in January when I started at the paper and at College of DuPage. I am an adult student, with an undergraduate degree and a resume largely consisting of teaching English as a second language and traveling. I love to write, but journalism was not going to come as easily as I had imagined. The learning curve was steep and humbling. I have so much to learn. The blind leading the blind may be too cliché, but I was just figuring out my job as a reporter. Now I am responsible for guiding those who are slipping their feet into new shoes I myself have not worn in.

Taking advice from coworkers a decade younger than myself was a swift introduction into what the Courier is  all about: Growth. You don’t come here to excel, or to receive praise or to achieve recognition from those you write about or for. You come here to learn… and fast. I now know what it feels like to be thrown into the deep end over and over again, with advisers and team members encouraging you and saving you from drowning. The very next week you start the cycle all over again. By the end of the experience, I felt accomplished, not because I won anything, but because I got better at treading water. I am thrilled to be leading the Courier team this semester, but I am in no way a champion swimmer yet. Just like Courier staff of the past, we will be putting this paper together as a team, or not at all. We all sink, or we all swim, and my objective this semester is to keep us more than just afloat but to create a synchronized team.

My greatest strength is my willingness to admit what I don’t know. My greatest fortune is the paper’s support system and professional advisers. At the end of the day, what makes the difference is the hard work and contributions of those I work with.

Opinion reporter Kimberly Wilson is a writer I know I can rely on to turn chaos into consolidated ideas. Every week she sits back and absorbs the barrage of biased, un-formed or uninformed opinions and constant unrelated segues from the Courier staff.  Somehow, week after week, Wilson produces an opinion piece that communicates our collective view.

Alison Pfaff is moving to a larger role here on staff, by accepting the much-deserved lead photo editor position. Not only is Pfaff an excellent photographer, but she worked alongside our former photo editor, Hannah Davis. Together they have been responsible for curating all the photos, pictures and graphics used by the Courier both in print and online. This semester Alison will be working with our new assistant photo editor, Julie Connelly. Pfaff’s continued presence also ensures the Courier will know all the latest memes, gifs and trending videos. As the dinosaur of the office, I rely on her to keep me abreast of these pertinent developments.

Reanna Comiso and I joined the Courier at the beginning of last semester. I am not too big to admit  she was always much more adept at staying up-to-date on campus events. As the features editor, Comiso writes about music, theater and art, but her ability to think outside of the box has allowed the paper to include far more voices and views. Having Comiso onboard for another semester is fantastic. I am so excited to see what other activities, events, performances and people she will  write about this fall.

Joey Weslo will become the general assignment reporter for the paper, my old role. As our former sports editor, he faced inclement weather, double-bookings and constant cancellations all to bring us stories about the different sporting events taking place on campus. His real passion and strength lie in his in-depth coverage of topics he is passionate about. Seeing stories within stories, he was able to turn a piece about the Olympics into a political expose. A story about soccer became a deep look at the Syrian civil war. An in-memoriam on the passing of a sporting legend prompted an examination of celebrities and loss. In his new role, Weslo will continue finding ways to bring our readers stories about bigger and bolder topics.


Trinity Jefferson was hired over the summer and is the Courier’s social media manager. Jefferson has already started work on a Courier Instagram and is excited to revamp our social media presence with new ideas and more student engagement.


Being appreciative of the support I have and recognizing the structure in place to ease my transition from reporter to EIC is  important to me. My goal is to build not just a great team of reporters, writers, photographers and designers. I hope to build a great team of friends. If I have learned anything from my time on the staff so far, it is how crucial communication and cooperation is amongst coworkers. If I learn nothing else this coming semester, I hope I learn what my coworkers need from me.

To all returning students and new students, on behalf of the staff here at the Courier, I welcome you to the fall semester of 2018 and to a new Courier team. I look forward to hearing from some of our readers this semester, whether it be letters to the editor, ideas for future pieces or just general feedback. Either way, you’ll hear from all of us!