Co-Editor-in-chief Casey Mendoza welcomes Class of 2019

This column was posted in the Freshman Issue of The Knox Student, published Sept. 5.

Hello new faces, and welcome to Knox.

You hold in your hands the first paper of the year, which we hope will help you learn more about the Knox community and also illustrate the collaborative efforts of our talented and dedicated newsroom.

For the next couple of days, you’ll be inundated with stacks of orientation materials to guide you through your first weeks at Knox. Throughout the year, you’ll receive even more information and news about the college through their official website and communications from the administration.

What makes The Knox Student different is its dedication to being student written, student run and student read.

Our newsroom prides itself on being independent from the administration, as press should be, but we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the curiosity, creativity and activism of our student body.

This issue of The Knox Student isn’t just another orientation guide or map to keep you from getting lost, it’s also your invitation to join our staff as writers, photographers, graphic designers, video producers, bloggers and editors.

This year, our staff is focused on producing a wider array of content for our weekly print publication and daily updated website. Take part in our tradition of printing hard-hitting, investigative news pieces, creative feature stories and thoughtful discourse or help us usher The Knox Student into the era of new media.

Beyond our weekly print issue, we also plan on producing online videos and short-form documentary films with the help of our experienced videographers, filmmakers and editors.

Help us cover protests, fires or the rising cost of tuition; review studio theatre plays or the newest Netflix Original Series; photograph football games from the sidelines. There are endless possibilities and opportunities for you no matter what you’re interested in.

No experience? No problem.

Our newsroom not only has the resources to produce great content, but to teach content creation as well. Keep you eye out for upcoming workshops and classes to help improve your writing and reporting skills, learn how to use a DSLR or advanced media tools from Adobe Photoshop to Premiere Pro. Our staff is trained and experienced to help you learn the basics of journalism and new media.

For more information, head to or follow @theknoxstudent on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. There you’ll find our stories, galleries, blogs, videos and updates.

Feel free to use those mediums to contact us with questions, ideas or concerns.

We look forward to working with and learning more about you, and most importantly, we can’t wait to see what you have to offer our community.


TKS named best non-daily student paper in region


The Knox Student has been named the best all-around non daily student newspaper in Region 5 (including Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky) by the Society of Professional Journalists.

The award was announced Saturday during the SPJ Region 5 conference in Chicago. TKS was judged regionally against other non-daily student newspapers — regardless of school size — with three random issues from the 2013 calendar year.

This is huge news for TKS, especially coming off a strong showing at the Illinois College Press Association conference in February. And while these recognitions are always welcome, we still want to know how we can serve our readers better. Story suggestions can be submitted here, emailed to, or sent directly to me at

Other recent awards include 4th place for News Story of the Year from Associated Collegiate Press, along with 18 awards from the Illinois College Press Association.

The Society of Professional Journalists is one of the nation’s leading journalism organizations, and it sets the journalistic ethics code generally used as an industry standard.

TKS, Film Club hosting Chicago Tribune Film Critic Michael Phillips

Chicago Tribune Film Critic Michael Phillips will be speaking at Knox Thursday and Friday.

Chicago Tribune Film Critic Michael Phillips will be speaking at Knox Thursday and Friday.

The Knox Student and Knox College Film Club are hosting Chicago Tribune Film Critic Michael Phillips at Knox Thursday and Friday.

Before he worked at the Tribune, Phillips was a drama critic for the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. He was the co-host of the TV show “At the Movies” for its final season, after several years filling in for Roger Ebert while Ebert was on medical leave. Phillips was also a three-time Pulitzer drama juror.

Phillips will have two public events during his stay at Knox, including a Q&A session with students interested in journalism. This will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Publications Office, Seymour Union.

On Friday, Phillips will have an open lecture titled “Why Go to the Movies?” — during which he will examine the question: Why go out to the movies when your smartphone and your laptop are singing a duet called “Let’s Stay In Again”?

This visit is sponsored by TKS, Film Club, the Cultural Events Committee and the Knox College Journalism Program, along with additional funding from Student Senate.

The constant conundrum of a photojournalist.

As a photo-editor for a publication, I often assign and take photos of events on campus. ranging from baseball games to drama plays. Shooting a photography assignment always involves triggering the camera’s shutter, often producing a decent photo, occasionally capturing a meaningful action, and if you’re good, an emotion.

Sometimes however, our job is much more important, and our task involves capturing the emotions of a tragic event, or the pain that comes from remembering it. All this in the name of remembrance, for those who did not witness the pain and allow them to know what happened; And for us to remember and make sure it does not happen again.

I faced such an event last Monday, as I was taking photos of Tundun Lawani’s death anniversary.

In a conversation with a professional photographer to whom I had shared my discomfort with photographers acting as predators on that event, I was told an anecdote; “People are not happy when we are there, and angry when we are not”. This clearly reflects how sensitive our job is, the conundrum of being respectful yet getting the job done, however uncomfortable it may be.

There is a fine line between capturing people’s emotions, and respecting the space, privacy, and time every everyone needs when dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Personally, I feel like that line was crossed when I stepped into CFA with a camera in hand. Who am I, after all, to invade your space, shove a camera in your face and in the name of “remembrance” mechanically trigger my shutter until I am satisfied with my photos?  The overbearing presence and inconsiderate attitudes shown Monday is what made me stop taking photos and go in line, because that is where I belonged.  By my friends, those who needed a friend more than a photographer.

While taking photos is the job of a photographer, I remain a human and a friend, one who respects and gives space, especially on such occasions. Failing to do so is to fail each and every person present Monday night and most importantly, the memory of Tundun. It is as a photographer but also as a friend that I write today, one who understands that even though the job must be done, respect should remain our main priority.

I sincerely hope that anyone we (I or a fellow photographer) may have have disrespected will accept our earnest apologies.

Jason Deschamps, TKS Photo Editor.


TKS gets 4th place for ACP News Story of the Year

I’ve gotten word that a TKS story has been awarded fourth place in the Associated Collegiate Press News Story of the Year contest — a national competition that pitted us against student publications at institutions like Syracuse, UCLA and the University of Illinois.

This calls for congratulations to the story’s co-authors: Matt McKinney, former enterprise editor who is now pursuing his master’s degree in at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and Kate Mishkin, a current co-mosaic editor. Their reporting on Galesburg residents who had been banned from campus deserves the high praise.

TKS also garnered an honorable mention in the editorial category for our Thoughts from the Embers titled “Don’t let tuition hit $50,000,” which questioned whether Knox’s facilities and services warranted such a high price tag.

What’s a Megenity? (A note on names)

9924649685_38797605c6_oYou’ve probably noticed by now that my byline has changed in TKS. Well, there’s a simple explanation.

Here’s the note I ran in the Discourse section this week explaining the change:

Most of you probably know me as Charlie Gorney. Don’t worry, it’s still me.

No, the supposed editor-in-chief was not replaced by someone else named Charlie. And no, I did not wake up one morning and realize that I had been living my life with the wrong name.

When my wife (who you may know as Erin Besaw) and I got married over the summer, we decided to take on a new last name. While we have yet to go through the legal name change process, I decided to change my byline in TKS to avoid any mid-year confusion.

I hope everyone is getting a good start to the term. I know TKS certainly is.

For those of you who are wondering about the new name, it’s Erin’s grandmother’s maiden name.

TKS named finalist in two national competitions

Syracuse, UCLA, Daily Illini, meet The Knox Student.

That’s just a sampler of the schools and student publications that TKS is going up against in the Associated Collegiate Press Story of the Year competition, a national contest in which all publications are judged together, regardless of size and frequency of publication.

TKS is a finalist in two categories for articles published during the 2012-2013 academic year. The finalists were announced by ACP Thursday.

In news story of the year, former Enterprise Editor Matt McKinney ’13 and current Co-Mosaic Editor Kate Mishkin are finalists for their piece on Knox’s list of persons who have been banned from campus. (You might remember it as “The unseen ‘faces’ of campus” from the print edition.)

TKS is also a finalist in the editorial category for our Thoughts from the Embers titled “Don’t let tuition hit $50,000,” which questioned whether Knox’s facilities and services warranted such a high price tag.

Needless to say, it’s been a big day for TKS. I can’t express how proud I am of all the staffers involved in making TKS an exceptional publication.

The winners will be announced at the annual ACP conference in October.

#KnoxObama speech: Who to follow, what to look for

(I realize this is my inaugural blog post as editor-in-chief. So there’s that.)

TKS is gearing up for Obama’s speech at Knox College today, and here’s how you can follow along with the coverage.

I, along with Digital Editor Chelsea Embree and Copy Editor Gabrielle Rajerison, are in town to cover the speech. We’ll all be pretty active on Twitter, so follow our main account @theknoxstudent, I’ll be at @Charlie_Gorney, and you can find Chelsea and Gabby at @chelseeandsay and @likeserendipity, respectively.

You can also like us on Facebook, where we will be posting our coverage throughout the day.

Feel free to tweet us your questions and observations about the speech.

The speech

Though the exact contents of the speech have not been publicized, we do know the general topic: The Economy. President Obama plans to lay out his economic ideas that will invariably influence his economic policy plans for the rest of his presidency.

And we know that the choice of Knox College as the venue was a strategic move, as he may hearken back to his 2005 commencement address — in which he laid out his economic ideas about how the economy grows best “from the middle-out, not the top down.”

The speech will be streaming at White House Live.

Make sure to follow along throughout the day with The Knox Student.

so you want to be an editor?

You wanna know what it’s like to be an editor? Well, the truth is you can’t handle the truth. We live life on the edge. I have less than 10 percent battery remaining and I’m writing a blog post, I’m crazy. No telling what I might do. Come into the pub office on any given night and you could find handfuls of people even crazier than that.


I have a good memory. In high school, we had vocabulary tests every Friday in English, so I would pace around the room for about five minutes before class, memorize the definitions, and ace the test. I still rely on my short-term memory more often than I work to internalize information. For about two weeks after I read a chapter, I can remember whether I saw a certain factoid on a left or right-facing page and if it was at the top or bottom of the page, so I sometimes use this rather than marking passages in a text. My memory is highly place-based; perhaps this is because I believe strongly in the power of place in evoking emotions, triggering images of events that occurred years ago, and instigating entire states of being. (We could go into my obsession with geopolitics, but I’ll spare you. You’re welcome.)

Earlier, while I was addressing graduation envelopes, I noticed the ease with which I wrote my return address on each envelope. Box XXX, 2 E. South St., Galesburg, IL, 61401. My mind wasn’t processing the characters; it was processing the slight movements of the muscles in my thumb and my pointer finger. Writing my address was like swimming in a still lake: smooth, effortless. One fluid motion from beginning to end. And it struck me that, while I’ll forget where certain subjects were mentioned in my books and the definitions of words I learned six years ago, I will never, ever forget that motion.

My admissions essay for Knox was a series of moments in places. I began in the library with the dust motes on the long, wooden tables in the Red Room, then moved outside to the south lawn of Old Main, framed in giant trees and cyclists meandering to class. These were places that, though I had only visited them once at that point, had still stuck with me. I was sick for much of that first visit and became very well-acquainted with the bathroom in the basement of CFA, yet these places had still managed to resonate. That, to me, was telling.

It still is. I like to wake up early; the light is different then, and I like to read on the Gizmo Patio and feel like there is no one else on campus. I like to be in the middle of the club fair at Admitted Students Day, throwing flimsy purple frisbees while doubled over laughing with friends who now work in the admissions office. I like to sit in the Alumni Reading Room in the library when it rains and watch the drops splatter on the windows. I like to walk to Seminary Street in the winter, the cold biting, to watch the Christmas lights twinkle.

I like the Beanhive. I like the poli sci suite and that I can say hello to each professor who walks by. I like the dance floor at Cherry Street during homecoming. I like twirling around the attic of the Ingersoll House. I like this place. I do, I do.

And I’ll remember it when I’m gone. Not the big picture, because that will change: word has it that we’re only $200,000 away from having enough money to complete the Alumni Hall renovation, and we’ll see if the college actually purchases St.  Mary’s. But the details will stay the same. The light will fall. The snow will fall. Smiles, handshakes, waves, the collective groaning in the Honors tower–all of that will stay.

Different people will move through this place, but they’ll still be moving forward.