Columns / Discourse / May 25, 2017

Recommitting to TKS and representing Knox

When I was hired by The Knox Student during Fall Term freshman year to layout two pages every week, I was overwhelmed by the collaborative, hard-working team I was being invited to join. Every publication night was a new exciting experience for me; I was happy to be working with seniors who seemed to know what they were doing and handled their important job with confidence and ease.

I knew that journalism was something I was interested in, but I would have never been so inspired if it had not been for amazing women such as Kate Mishkin ‘16, Casey Mendoza ‘16, Kiannah Sepeda-Miller ‘16, Rachel Landman, Nadia Spock and Callie Rouse. Seeing the incredible work that these women were doing week after week to keep the campus informed and uncover larger stories was unparalleled by anything I had seen before. I was motivated to write bigger and better stories because of them and learned so much in my freshman year alone.

This year, TKS has become an integral part of my day-to-day life at Knox. I’ve made some of the strongest friendships I have at Knox through this paper, and have grown to call these women I admired so much my friends.

In addition to these benefits, TKS has given me a sense of purpose on this campus. I have a responsibility to report on what’s happening at Knox and do it well. I’ve made some mistakes along the way, have asked a whole lot of questions of my wonderful mentors and know that I still have a lot to learn. I hope to continue the tradition of important, fair journalism that TKS has sustained over the years.

I know that we’ve made mistakes and not reported on everything that needs to be or should be reported on. From little to large events, we need to ensure that we are covering everything that people need to or should know about. I want to be positive that the stories that need to be told are told. If you have any story tips, ideas or concerns, please let me know at or I’d love to hear from you.

The way in which I became editor-in-chief as an incoming junior is uncommon. Next year will surely be an interesting year for TKS as I switch off with my managing editor, Jonathan Schrag and our previous discourse editor, Lillie Chamberlin when I go abroad in the winter and spring.

Despite the format being unusual, I’m excited to see what we do this next year. We have so many dedicated, enthusiastic editors on board and now that I am in my position, I’m optimistic that this staff will continue to provide you with the news Knox needs. I genuinely care about this paper and know that the rest of the staff does as well.

I hope to be someone the Knox community can approach with their stories and hope to tell all of them respectfully.

I also hope you all continue to read TKS and give us your feedback. While we work to keep Knox in check, it’s important that Knox keeps us in check as well. I’d love to hear anything you have to say about the paper as I look to improve it in any way possible.

I am honored to be in the role that some of the women who I admire most have worked in. I hope that I can fill their shoes and handle this job with the grace, responsibility, passion and kindness that they did.

Erika Riley, Editor-in-Chief
Erika Riley is a junior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism. During her sophomore year, she worked as a news editor, and during her freshman year, she worked as a layout editor. She is the winner of the 2017 Ida M. Tarbell Prize for Investigative Reporting and the recipient of First Place Front Page Layout from the Illinois Press Association in 2016. Twitter: @ej_riley

Tags:  editor-in-chief journalism The Knox Student tks

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