By Shaun Chornobroff
UPON my first day as managing editor of The Rider News, I remember walking past the painted bricks of the newspaper alums before me with a tinge of fear and an unspoken nervousness. In my office I found a Post-it note from my predecessor telling me it was my game time and immediately, I felt at home.
When I sat down on my stained couch to scribble my thoughts for this piece, I found myself clueless and decided to search my name on The Rider News website, scrolling through old articles in an effort for inspiration. What I found myself captivated by wasn’t the stories I remembered writing and the memories that accompanied. Instead, it was how many articles and stories I’d forgotten along the way, and the note, which gave me ease during a nerve-wracking day.
My four years at The Rider News and the school have been a slip and slide full of new experiences, great memories, lessons learned, an unexpected amount of stress and pleasant surprises in every facet of my personal and professional life.
When I first arrived at Rider in fall 2019, I stepped into the newsroom on the first Wednesday hoping to make myself an immediate contributer to the newspaper. I waited a month for my first assignment: covering a women’s soccer game during an unseasonably hot afternoon in the first week of October.
Since that first story, The Rider News has been one of my greatest passions, teaching me to trust in myself and serving as a driving vehicle in helping me find myself.
I started as an average sports writer before being elevated to sports editor for my sophomore year. That year, covering collegiate sports at its most unique point, when there was no competition in the fall and an abundance of it in the spring, was my first true journalistic challenge.
My junior year I served as managing editor, covering the everchanging COVID-19 pandemic and integrating myself as a leader at the newspaper.
This past year as executive editor has been the most gratifying experience of my life. Seeing the passion of the staff over the past year, the growth in my co-workers as they take their next leap always caused a subtle smile to break through. The position tested me and I am forever indebted to every editor, writer, graphic designer and photographer for being irreplaceable parts of putting out an amazing paper week after week.
Transitioning from a sports nut, scribing stats and scores to a news writer, covering pressing topics such as the pandemic, the Westminster Choir College (WCC) transition and labor negotiations was not something I ever anticipated myself doing. Yet, here we are. As I reflect, writing the article I think most who come through the newspaper never expect to see published, it amazes me how fast the time has passed, but more so how many people had an influence on me along the way.
My first semester as sports editor was spent with my co-editor Dylan Manfre ’22 digging into Rider athletics, telling unique stories that I still hold dear to this day. As a freshman, before we were co-editors, Dylan served as a mentor and used to meet me before our weekly meeting and privately give me critiques of my story for that week. Dylan believed in me before I believed in myself and without our work together, I don’t know what journalist I would be.
To Stephen Neukam and Austin Ferguson, the executive and managing editor during my sophomore year, our continued friendship and my underwhelming fantasy football performance is evidence of the bonds this newspaper creates. Taking over for Austin as managing editor my junior year was a pleasure in itself and Stephen, you were my first executive editor and a great example.
To Sarah Siock, thank you for being a fantastic executive editor, not only preparing me for the role, but tolerating me as I learned the ropes of leadership, especially in moments when I may seemed amateur.
This past year, the newspaper’s storytelling and visual appeal was the most diverse it’s been in my time here, although I am biased. All my expectations for the newspaper were surpassed and none of that is possible without Amethyst Martinez being the ideal partner as managing editor.
To Amethyst and Jake Tiger, the executive and managing editor of The Rider News next year, as well as the rest of the staff, you all have the potential to be a special group and tell amazing stories. I can’t wait to read this fall as your biggest supporter.
Lastly, to the Rider community, thank you for letting me tell your stories, it’s been nothing short of an honor.