A goodbye to The Cauldron’s departing editors

By: Beth Casteel

With highlighted notes scattered around tables, textbooks upon textbooks laid open to whatever page is needed and the ever present aroma of coffee lingering in the most random spots on campus, it’s clear that finals week is quickly approaching.

As crazy as it may seem, the 2019 Spring semester is officially coming to a close. With yet another term going down in the history books, that also means that a whole slew of students are going to be moving onto bigger and better things in a post-Cleveland State University world. In fact, some of those students include a few editors on this very staff.

For those who have kept up with the ever-changing names appearing on the second page of The Cauldron’s staff directory, you may have noticed a few consistent names since the Fall of 2017.

That semester marked the start to five members’ of this staff’s journey, and we couldn’t have imagined the roller coaster being on this paper would bring.

The start of the Fall 2017 term of the newspaper saw KC Longley, The Cauldron’s current Editor-In-Chief take on the role of Managing editor. It saw Adam Schabel, our current Managing editor take on Cleveland State’s sports team with his role of Sports editor. That year also saw Beth Casteel, the paper’s current Feature editor, make her mark by writing student spotlights as the Arts and Entertainment editor. And lastly, it also had Ashley Mott, our current Arts and Entertainment editor, take on the role of creating cool graphics in her position as the graphic designer.

It’s crazy how many things can change in a single school year, huh?

That initial paper term held a lot of obstacles. Not only we were trying to learn our new positions, we also had to deal with the hurdles of learning how to work around each other. Layouts can be long, tiring and pretty frustrating, but it quickly became apparent that even with all of that, this staff would be able to pull through.

And pull through we have. Whether it’s editing battles amongst the staff to fallout from articles we’ve published, we’ve been able to handle any obstacles that come along the way because of the connection that’s been established. If anything, the past two years on this staff has taught so many valuable lessons on journalism, but what it’s done above all is that it established our small newspaper family, and we’re forever thankful.

Because of that, The Cauldron wanted to take the time to talk the members of the staff that won’t be returning to the newspaper next semester. In addition to saying goodbye, we’ll also be saying hello to The Cauldron’s new Editor-In-Chief, Kourtney Husnick, who also started her journey with this newspaper in the Fall of 2017.

So, without further ado, we’d like to say goodbye, and we hope you enjoy this last feature of the semester.

A special thanks to Richard Perloff

With this issue marking the final for most of the people on the staff, we wanted to take a moment and thank our faculty advisor, Richard Perloff, for everything that he has done for us and this paper.

During all of the highs and the lows this paper has seen in the past couple of  years, Perloff has been the one person we as a staff could turn to for guidance on story ideas, words of encouragement, helpful criticism and, of course, all of the support  we needed in order to put anyone’s “feet to the fire.”

Without all of his work and wisdom, the content of this newspaper would have turned out very differently. He’s the person who pushed us to be the best we could be, and for that, we’re thankful.

So from the staff of The Cauldron, thank you for teaching and advising us Perloff, we couldn’t have done this without you.

KC Longley – Editor-In-Chief 

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Leaving the paper, is there a story you felt the proudest to have published? 

This is a hard question because I like to be proud of what I publish no matter what. However, there were a couple during my time as Editor that I am very proud of. The first one that comes to mind is the one on sexual assault awareness, which was published in the 13th issue of the year. It was something I took on because I was passionate. It wasn’t any hard hitting investigative piece, but what makes me think of it first is the passion and honesty I put behind all of it. I also think of “A Family Divided,” which was published in the last issue of October in 2017. It wasn’t fully written by me, but I made contributions and helped in the process. The story was one that shook the campus and the LGBT community and brought the nations attention to Cleveland State.

What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve experienced on this staff? On that same note, what has been the most difficult thing you’ve experienced? 

The most rewarding would be watching staff grow in time. A lot of staff members, including myself, have been on this paper since last year. We’ve all grown in the way we write, edit, lead and work together as a team. It’s been amazing seeing some of our staff, even just from this year, grow in their writing and reporting skills. From opinion pieces, creative ledes, investigative reporting. You name it, some of our staff have done it and it’s been amazing to see my friends and coworkers grow the way they have.

You’ve done various roles for the paper, what has each role taught you? And do you plan on incorporating those new skills in your future endeavors?

As Managing Editor, I learned that organization and patience is something I needed to succeed in this role. From handling my own work and sometimes handling others, I was taught the art of balance and how to make the most out of what I’ve been given. It’s not easy taking on your job as well as someone else’s but when it is necessary, you find a way. As Editor-in-Chief, the art of patience stayed true, but I also learned how to be an effective leader. Ways to suggest and say yes or no to things, or help when it comes to creativity and ideas for issues. I learned how to be an organized and thoughtful leader who always has a sympathetic nature to her. I learned that even though I lead by emotion, it works in my favour and I find a way to balance it with honesty and integrity. I plan on incorporating these skills in my future as I embark on getting my Master in Legal Studies through the Cleveland Marshall College of Law.

Is there any message you’d like to leave for future editors?

Never doubt yourself. If you are worried, just talk to a fellow editor, professor or advisor. It’s okay to wonder but as long as you trust your gut and know that you have the best intentions, it’s okay if mistakes happen. Be passionate because nothing beats a reporter who is passionate about what they’re doing. Take the plunge and go for the things that scare you because you never know what you’ll get out of it. When you take a chance on a dream, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

During your time with here, was there a moment that impacted you the most? 

I think embarking on my time as Editor was what impacted me the most. I knew what I was getting myself into and never regretted it, but I learned more than I ever thought I would. You never expect certain things to pop up and becomes hurdles you need to overcome. But when they do, they eventually show themselves to be a blessing in disguise. I also am grateful for my time as Editor because of the relationship I have built with our advisor, Richard Perloff, who is an esteemed professor and writer in his own right. His guidance and personal opinions helped me through some difficult times and his words, while sometimes unexpected, proved to be true and necessary for me to hear and learn from.

Adam Schabel – Managing editor

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Leaving the paper, was there a story you felt the proudest of publishing? 

I was pretty proud of my story from 2017 on the Cleveland Browns going 0-16. That was the lowest point in franchise history and there was a lot of raw emotion coming out of it. I was able to talk to several people for the story to gather their opinions and emotions. The team has come a long way since that time as they are projected to make the playoffs this upcoming season. I think it’s cool that I was able to cover them at their low point and I hope to cover them at one of their many high points this season.

What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve experienced on this staff? On that same note, what has been the most difficult thing you’ve experienced? 

I think the most rewarding and difficult time came for me on staff came at the same time. Last semester, my first as managing editor, we didn’t have a sports editor so I took the reins and ran the sports section. We also didn’t have an opinion editor or news editor for a time last semester as the paper went through some staff changes. The staff changes were completely unexpected but I was happy with the way KC, our editor-in-chief, myself and the rest of the staff handled the situation. We didn’t panic or become overwhelmed. We went to work and continued to produce the paper because the news never stops. I feel that this situation helped me and the rest of our staff grow because we had to handle some adversity and I think we all handled it very professionally.

You’ve done various roles for the paper, what has each role taught you? And do you plan on incorporating those new skills in your future endeavors?

As sports editor, I met a lot of athletes, coaches and media personnel at CSU. I was able to make connections which helped me gather information for stories. I also learned the daily responsibilities that go into being a section editor and I gained a lot of valuable experience this way. I was able to vastly improve my writing and editing skills as sports editor. As managing editor, I learned how to take on a managing role and problem solve on a larger scale than when I was a section editor. As managing editor, I worked with the staff as a whole and on an individual basis. I enjoyed helping staff members problem solve and I enjoyed taking a larger role in producing the paper as a whole. I will definitely take what I learned as sports editor and managing editor and apply it.

Is there any message you’d like to leave for future editors?

My message to future editors is to take advantage of having a quality school newspaper like The Cauldron on campus. Use it to grow your skills as a writer and editor. Being on the staff for two years helped me learn so much and I don’t regret a second of it. I gained as close to real-world writing and editing experience as possible and I don’t doubt that I will use what I learned and apply it in my career. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to work on staff and represent The Cauldron.

During your time with here, was there a moment that impacted you the most? 

I don’t believe there was one particular moment that impacted me. I believe that it was a combination of many moments that impacted me. Interacting with the staff for the last two years has impacted me in a positive way. I learned a lot from all of them and I also learned a lot having to problem solve and come up with ideas for the paper. Being the sports editor my first year on the paper and then managing editor my second year, helped me gain valuable experience and knowledge.

Ashley Mott – Arts & Entertainment editor

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Leaving the paper, is there a story you felt the proudest to have published? 

I feel proud of almost every issue I put out, there really isn’t just one that stands out, however, my music articles are ones that hold special places in my heart. Their songs lifted me up when I was down and getting to interview the Plain White T’s and put out an article about them with my best friend was an experience of its own. [I also wrote about] Newsboys United. Getting to interview them and experience what it was like to meet them was on a whole other level. Lastly, there was Ledger, the drummer for Skillet. Talking to her was a dream, and she was so genuine I couldn’t stop writing about her.

What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve experienced on this staff? On that same note, what has been the most difficult thing you’ve experienced? 

I think the most rewarding thing is the friendships I’ve made. The people that I spend 14 hours with at layout, starving till chilis open, growling through spelling and punctuation errors and laughing when the exhaustion hits. I wouldn’t change my friendships from the paper for a million dollars. We have made it through so many hard times, and if it was the same people, I’d go through it all again. The most difficult thing I’ve experienced is the balancing act between life, school and the paper. There are so many times where I would rather be curled up in my bed rather than in a newsroom, but at the end of the day, I love the paper, so I suck it up.

You’ve done various roles for the paper, what has each role taught you? And do you plan on incorporating those new skills in your future endeavors?

I started off as the Graphic Designer, and I learned a lot. First and foremost, I learned that no matter what you plan, graphics can fall through just as easily as articles. I always thought it was “when it’s done, it’s done” but I quickly found out it really is “when the editors stop changing their minds, it’s done.” I also learned patience, because when I did alignment of the layout, I had to stay until the end to line it all up before going home. Sometimes that meant starting at 10 am on Sunday and leaving at 1 am on Monday. I had to learn to be patient, otherwise, I’d get cranky. After that, I became the Arts and Entertainment Editor. Taking on this role, I learned a lot about working with others, double checking my mistakes and going with the flow when stories get ruined. This has definitely given me adaptation skills.

Is there any message you’d like to leave for future editors?

I think that there was a series of impactful moments that occurred in my time on staff, but I think the most impactful moments happened while I was writing another person’s story. The student spotlights let me into another person’s life and hearing their stories were really impactful. One of the biggest spotlights was for Nick Walker, someone who was a stranger and I would now consider a friend. When I met him, he was selling printers and playing music as a side gig after a really bad breakup. Now, he’s down in Key West, playing music daily for his living and was on American Idol. He’s going places and I got to tell his origin story, [so] that has definitely been the biggest impact.

During your time with here, was there a moment that impacted you the most? 

Writing for the paper is an experience that everyone should try. A lot of anxiety and tension I’ve had in the past came from not feeling heard. However, by writing for the paper, I made sure my voice was heard. I also think that it is important to note that by writing about big topics, especially hard ones, you become a beacon for those struggling in those areas. So many people think journalism is just about getting the hard-hitting news, but it’s also about guiding the people to a better light, a newer light for the world to see.

Beth Casteel – Feature editor

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Leaving the paper, is there a story you felt the proudest to have published? 

For me, it’s kind of difficult to pin down an article that I felt the proudest to have published because so many of them came with their own set of ups and downs. I guess my favorite story I’ve ever done was a feature I did on concert safety. I wrote it right around the time that the Route 91 Harvest festival massacre happened, and I felt like it was a story that hit really close to home for me. After it happened,  I spent a lot of time researching and reaching out to various people on their take of concert safety, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s also the first feature I ever did, so that may also have something to do with it.

What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve experienced on this staff? On that same note, what has been the most difficult thing you’ve experienced? 

I think the most rewarding thing about being on this paper goes hand in hand with the most difficult. Being an editor for any section comes with a lot of successes and a lot of hardships, all of which seemingly happen at the same time. When you’re dealing with this type of roller coaster while also trying to navigate your responsibilities with school, work and whatever else is going on, it can feel so overwhelming and defeating. Not to sound dark, but when you have something that’s so draining and you finally finish it, that then becomes one of the most fulfilling things you can do. That’s been especially true for me, and I’m so thankful every time this goes to print and I see my name on an article because it shows that all of the headaches were worth it. It’s just really cool.

You’ve done various roles for the paper, what has each role taught you? And do you plan on incorporating those new skills in your future endeavors?

When I originally joined the staff, I was the Arts and Entertainment editor, and that role really taught me to take chances. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I spent a lot of time that year trying to push myself out of my “story comfort zone,” which has come in handy outside of the paper. As the Feature editor, I really learned how to handle things not panning out. I’ve had many stories just not work out, and while it sucks, it taught me to adapt and problem solve in a fast manner. These obstacles, while tough, has shaped me into the journalist I am today, and I do think I’ll apply it to my future career.

Is there any message you’d like to leave for future editors?

I want to take a moment to tell future editors of The Cauldron thank you for keeping this publication alive with your stories and the late nights spent at your layouts; I promise you that it will all be worth it. Being on the staff has meant so much to me in the couple of years that I have worked here, and I hope you don’t take for granted your time because it’s going to flash before your eyes. I hope you keep Stoking the Fire, Stirring the Pot, Serving the Truth.

During your time with here, was there a moment that impacted you the most? 

That’s a difficult one because I feel like working on this paper has brought with it a series of impactful moments for me. But, I think the biggest, is seeing all of the progress my friends and I have made along the way. We’ve spent many long Sundays together, just trying to get a newspaper out for people to read, and that’s something so special to me. I always feel such an immense pride seeing all of our bylines decorating the pages of the finished and printed off paper, and that’s a feeling hard to be replicated anywhere else.

A fresh start: The Cauldron names new EIC

Kourtney Husnick – Fall 2019, Editor-In-Chief: 

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Being someone that has been on this paper for as long as you have, how has The Cauldron impacted you in all of the roles that you’ve been in?

Being the opinion editor last year was a wake up call for me. I started at Cleveland State with a plan to teach high school English. The Cauldron completely changed my mind, and it was exactly what I needed. This year, the news editor position demanded a lot more from me. I’ve participated in a press conference with Ohio’s gubernatorial candidates, and I’ve spent hours pouring over the state’s sunshine laws manual. It’s been a learning experience. On a more personal level, the positions I’ve held have shown me how important and how noticeable our level of journalism really is. People I’ve never met have come up to me commenting on my articles. I’ve seen people talk about them on social media, and some people have sent me messages about them. I’m thrilled to be pegged “the newspaper girl” the way that I have been.

What are your hopes going into next year? 

That’s a long list. I want to see The Cauldron become more interactive for students outside our editorial staff. Contributors will have more opportunities, and students will see us more active on our social media pages and around campus. My biggest hope is that students begin to see us as an approachable publication that works hard to consistently provide information they wouldn’t have otherwise. To me, that’s our purpose. Everything I want to accomplish as EIC surrounds itself around accountability and transparency. I’ve already started walking down that path as the news editor, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me and the publication as a whole.

Is there anything you hope as EIC you can accomplish?

I’ve managed to finish a lot of projects I’ve started this year, but a lot of that was pure luck. Running a whole section while trying to investigate for a story that takes months to complete is difficult when every other article has to be done in two weeks. So I’m looking forward to restructuring the way we see things as a staff and focusing more on long-term projects. That said, I still have several ideas in the works that need more time and more sources. That’s where my personal priorities are at right now. I easily spent over 50 hours this year just on the SGA piece from two issues ago, and with the leads I’m chasing, that’s looking like it will be my new normal as EIC.

For those interested in applying, what are you looking for in a new staff? 

I only have one expectation. Be committed to this. It can be a lot of work, but it’s rewarding. The staff this year saw several people come and go very quickly. That worked out well for me, considering I was able to step in as the news editor, but it hurt a few of our first issues. If you’re willing to do the work, I’m happy to find a way for you to be a part of this. Even if our editorial positions fill, involvement only begins there. I never want us to come off as highly exclusive, so I want to refrain from limiting applicants to anything specific. I’m excited to see who will apply, and I’m keeping an open mind.

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