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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Chalstrom: From one home to another
Eleanor Chalstrom is the managing editor at the Iowa State Daily. She interned publications like and She was also the managing editorial director of TREND Magazine for three years.

I needed some time out of my dorm room.

Iowa State plucked me from my hometown and randomly assigned me to live in the multi-level, brutalist, scorching-hot Wilson Hall in 2020. After a week of classes and peeling COVID-19 masks off my sweaty face, I needed a new outlet.

After a short application process, the Iowa State Daily academics desk became my second home. Year one was full of mistakes, and I am confident someone took down my first articles from the website. Respectfully so—they were pretty awful.

I returned my sophomore year as the editor of the niche section, now the arts and culture desk. It was an uphill climb, and I had no clue what I was doing. The newsroom became even more of a second home as I spent more time there. I moved in a mini fridge, a lamp and a box of snacks that lived permanently in my creaky desk drawers.

I settled in and quickly learned that this second home came with the package deal of a second family. I found comfort in knowing that each day I showed up for work, my fellow editors would be there to coach me through growing as a journalist and person.

My former managing editor would listen to me complain about school and my anxieties about, well, everything. The former sports editor probably spent more time hearing about my love life that year than accomplishing anything else in the newsroom. That year’s diversity editor became my quick confidant and partner in crime. My reporters and coeditor created an outrageously fun atmosphere that made me count down the days until our next desk meeting.

Those folks graduated or moved on for the most part. I did, too.

For a year I worked an internship I adored. Each day looked the same for the most part. I’d go to class, log into work, go to the gym, make dinner and end my day quietly. It was a peaceful and necessary departure from the Daily newsroom.

Toward the end of that year I got itchy for the late nights at the Daily and the consistency of having people, my friends, around. I missed the feeling of security of seeing my friends in the office each day and the feeling of excitement that only local news can give us bonkers news junkies.

So I returned, and our editor-in-chief, Andrew, asked me to be one of the year’s managing editors.

I settled back into the newsroom by stocking my desk and making it home again. But this time, it was even better.

My senior year at the Daily was unlike the other years I worked there. It was full of belly laughs, high-pressure news coverage and nights where I felt like my eyes would fall out if I read another word.

My Daily family looked a little different but in all the best ways. The 2023-24 staffers’ talent is unfathomable for many other college publications.

And because I love the Daily family, I’m going to take some time to brag about them if that’s OK.

Andrew, our editor-in-chief, is hands down the best leader I’ve ever had. His ability to stay calm under pressure should be studied. He is fiercely loyal and protective of his staff but sets a high standard for us. Elizabeth, my co-managing editor, is intelligent beyond explanation, and her quiet confidence is something I look up to each day.

Ella, Jay, Cleo and Ben are our trusty news editors who somehow know everything that occurs on this campus. They possess a level of attention to detail and dedication to a difficult task that shocks me daily.

Isabel, our engagement editor, is a fierce and vivacious leader. She single-handedly transformed our social media platforms into a vibrant, modern news source.

Our sports editors, Logan and Christian, and our arts and culture editor, Sarah, surprise me with their ability to always keep their specific interests. The passion they display for their work is inspiring and pushes me to love my interests as much as they do.

Jacob and Joe remind me that talent comes in a billion different formats. As our visuals editors, they must always be creative and aware of their surroundings. Their work is jaw-dropping, and I find myself bragging about their talents all the time.

Our reporters, photojournalists, copy editors and senior reporters are passionate about learning. Student journalism is a thankless place, often. The nights get long, and the criticisms can be hurtful. These folks have a beautiful trait. They persist through the hard days and celebrate the good. They give voice to people in our community who do not get the microphone enough. They inform an audience of thousands about the campus they operate in. And despite being so early in their careers, they hold bodies of power accountable according to the tenets of journalism.

This handful of students is my favorite group on campus. I’ve spent so many hours with these people that I’ve adopted their vocabulary and miss them on weekends we don’t run into each other on Welch. The student journalists at the Daily teach me to grow and have my back while I figure it all out independently. The newsroom, with its decaying AC units and clunky roller chairs, will always be my second home.

Now, as I leave this home for a new one, I want to give the Daily staff a parting gift in the form of a handy checklist that will put you in the good graces of all your editors to come.

  • Check your sources’ names.
  • Write your cutlines.
  • Keep your AP book open. Always.
  • Meet your deadlines.
  • Thank your editors, they need it.
  • Eat dinner and do it again tomorrow.
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