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.

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.

pub nights

As I was signing up for classes last week, I needed to finish up some requirements for my creative writing major. My advisor asked my why I hadn’t taken workshops yet and I told him it was because they are generally offered on Wednesday evenings, which are pub nights. He got really quiet and at first I didn’t understand the judgmental look that flashed across his face. “Nooooo. No, no, no, no. Publication night. For TKS,” I added quickly realizing my mistake. Be careful where you abbreviate.

Just for the record, this is off the record

This is now my third year with TKS. I started as a reporter, moved up to news editor last year, and this year I’ve stepped into the managing editor position. And each year, as people come to associate me with the newspaper, I’ve heard more often that dreaded cry from a friend or acquaintance – generally someone we can call a ‘public figure’ on campus.

It goes something like this.

‘Oh, I shouldn’t be saying this in front of you. Now it’s going to be in the TKS next week.’

Well, not quite.

Sure, the reporter in me always has what I like to call the ‘story antennas’ up at all times, and Anna and I ask that TKS staffers do the same. We prefer to base our coverage on what students are talking about or what they’d like to learn more about – not just on official proceedings or scheduled events. But don’t take that the wrong way.

The story antennas should not be mistaken for a 24/7 mental voice recorder, always prepped to grab a sound byte. Essentially, my personal and professional policy on the matter states that it’s off the record unless otherwise stated or assumed in an interview setting. While I may want to pursue a story based on some thoughts I’ve gleaned from a casual conversation, by no means was that conversation on the record.

So remember that I, along with other TKS staffers, may be journalists at heart, but we’re Knox students before we’re The Knox Student. Don’t stray away from casual discourse for fear of being quoted, because I’ll make myself damn clear if I’m looking for a quote.

P.S. I can hear Anna’s cry of joy as I post this. I used to be a blogophobe, but I have since come around. Thanks for reading the Editors’ Blog, everyone.

What is the Clinton Global Initiative?

Today I’m in New York covering the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative summit for TKS. You’re probably asking just what CGI is and does.

Since 2005, President Bill Clinton has held a conference attended by some of the most prominent figures in the international community. Their goal? According to the mission statement, CGI aims to “to turn ideas into action.”

In order to achieve this goal, the convention brings together an impressive list of attendees, including “more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media,” according to their website.

This year, the opening plenary session, which I attended earlier today, featured a panel discussion on the theme of the conference, Designing for Impact. The panel included President Bill Clinton, Her Majesty Queen Rania AL Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Michael T. Duke President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

The way it works

CGI achieves progress by gathering people with the means to institute “Commitments to Action,” in other words projects in areas of the globe with glaring needs in the realms of environmental impact, health, gender equality and many other tracks.

A full list of the tracks, along with descriptions, is available at this link, with a list of the 2012 tracks.

Presently more than 2,100 of these commitments have been made, making a difference in the daily realities of more than 400 million people in upwards of 180 countries. When these projects reach their full capacity, their value is estimated to be $69.2 billion.

Ever since volunteering at the press desk in 2010, I’ve looked forward to the day when I would be able to come back and experience the conference from the other side and spread the word of this incredible event to whatever audience would listen.

For live updates on the summit, follow Julian on Twitter @inkpenguin.

Musings of a senior

The hectic pace of senior year makes every activity, however mundane or seemingly conducive to relaxation, a chore. From the moment I wake up, my mind starts to preoccupy itself with what the day has in store, from the pile of clothes I just put into the dryer, to the never ending set of meetings and correspondences that have to be made.

Even daily prayer and the intake of God’s Word have declined in precedence because I am oft-too tired to get up in the early morning; and at night, my mind is dismally out of focus. There just is not enough daylight! I marvel at how quickly the fresh canopy smell of the morning dissipates like a mist, giving way to the moldy scent of evening and night. Still, I do not resent the fullness of my schedule. Better to have the mind and body taxed for purposeful things than to let it waste away thinking of things to do.

So inspired was I by the thought of life as constant activity that this clumsy limerick pushed itself onto a word page I had opened:

The life of a Knox senior sucks,

Some days I just feel out of luck.

Cause my schedule is full,

And my pillow’s got drool,

And I almost get hit by a truck.

(The last line is not true of me, but of someone else I do not know. A friend saw this unknown person get hit – must have been a senior preoccupied with something).

Working for The Knox Student is a new experience. I have enjoyed my tenure so far because the logistics of everything are so expertly handled by the higher-ups. The first official issue of the newspaper is in the works, which means that the following two nights will be spent carefully sifting through piles of articles.

Copy editing is not as easy as it sounds. I like to think that copy editors are the first line of defense. We man the trenches as enemies of poor structure, awful punctuation, biased writing and general BS try to get past. Though the enemy outnumbers us, the intersecting crisscross trajectory of our machine gun fire will be sure to cut many down. If that does not finish the job, our batons – that is, our pens – are filed to a delicate and deadly point.