Senior send off: students say goodbye to The Rider News

By Sarah Siock and Dylan Manfre

Between transferring schools, commuting for four years and a pandemic halting in-person classes, I’ve had far from the traditional college experience.

Yet, there has been one constant throughout my college career: my love for the degree I was pursuing.

I chose to be a journalism major on a whim, thinking it seemed like the right choice for someone who liked to write. However, I quickly realized that my major was so much more than that. Working as a student reporter for The Rider News and being at the center of major events on campus showed me how essential journalism is to a community. Journalists work not only to inform but to motivate change, and I feel so lucky to be entering a field that values those ideals.

While I now reflect on my time at The Rider News with great pride, I have to admit I started at Rider with many hesitations. In fall of 2020, I came to the university as a transfer student from a community college in Pennsylvania. I spent my junior year and first year at Rider taking online classes in my bedroom nearly an hour away from campus. I felt detached from the community, with my short time at Rider becoming even more limited by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite feeling out of place, I knew I wanted to write for The Rider News. I spent the summer before transferring worrying if the newspaper would have a role for me to step into. However, my worries were somewhat subdued when I reached out to Stephen Neukam, the former executive editor, a few weeks before the semester began. I was then set up with my first story assignment before I even started classes at Rider.

After a few weeks of writing for the paper’s arts and entertainment section, I was asked to fill the section’s vacant co-editor position. I immediately accepted and was ecstatic to feel like I was finding my place at Rider. Due to working for the newspaper, I spent that school year feeling much less isolated from the Rider community, despite it being such an unusual time.

My expectations at Rider were exceeded once again when I was elected executive editor of The Rider News for the 2021-2022 school year. I am so thankful to the staff for believing in me and trusting me to lead them during a time of transition as we switched back to in-person classes.

During my time as executive editor, I have grown as not only a journalist but as a person. The job has shown me the need to be persistent and not become discouraged when faced with challenges or unwarranted pushback. The role also helped build my confidence (I’ve always been my biggest critic).

I am so fortunate to have worked with such a wonderful Rider News staff this year. Each person is unbelievably hard-working and made coming to the newsroom the best part of my day. It is rare to find a group of people that can make late nights and endless hours of editing enjoyable.

However, I would not have been able to lead The Rider News without our incredibly dedicated adviser Jackie Incollingo. She teaches us the importance of resilience and determination when working on a story. Incollingo is always there to answer our questions and give advice but also allows us to grow as students. I strive to become a journalist with just a fraction of her talent.

My next step in my academic journey is the University of Maryland where I will be working toward a master’s degree in journalism on a full-tuition scholarship.

I want to thank The Rider News for preparing for what comes next and for letting me be a part of something truly special.

Sarah Siock, senior journalism major

Senior journalism major Dylan Manfre after painting his brick in The Rider News newsroom.
Olivia Nicoletti/ The Rider News

I ended a blog post when I was about to graduate from Metuchen High School in 2018 saying, “Well, I guess it’s off to covering Rider.” Four years later as I prepare to depart from Rider, I can say I have told the stories about some of the most incredible athletes I have ever met.

I always knew at some point this day would come. It is time for me to say farewell to The Rider News, the best organization I will ever know.

When I DM’d the former sports editor Rob Rose on Twitter in July 2018 asking for a story, I never could have imagined everything that followed after writing that first field hockey season preview:

It transformed into covering women’s basketball and some amazing moments like Stella Johnson getting drafted to the WNBA, Rider field hockey winning the Northeast Conference championship in 2020 and, of course, men’s basketball senior guard Dwight Murrary Jr. hitting a floater to defeat lona ending the men’s basketball team’s quarterfinal curse.

Because of The Rider News, I accomplished my goal of covering the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) basketball tournament – even if the 2020 one was canceled because of COVID-19. Many people know the tournament’s logo was my iPhone lock screen for two years because that event was my biggest dream to cover.

But even through the pandemic, The Rider News persevered. When sports were canceled, my former co-editor Shaun Chornobroff and I kept things going with stories that otherwise would not have been told and I firmly believe that. Now, Shaun is going on to lead the paper next year as the executive editor. I always knew he would do that and I’m so proud of him.

Working for The Rider News has been the best experience I ever could have asked for and it has made me who I am today. After graduation, I’ll be covering the Maccabiah games in Israel and attending graduate school at the University of Maryland. None of that is possible without the newspaper and the multitude of people associated with it.

I will miss working with the staff, laughing at the jokes our editors make and seeing the conversational critiques the copy desk makes on our stories. Those are small moments I will always cherish.

I am so proud of the work The Rider News has done and will continue to do in the future. I know the new editors will serve the Rider community with the same passion that I and all those who came before me have for this award-winning publication.

When I quit track and cross-country in high school after I developed tendonitis in my ankles, I stopped trying to be a great athlete because I wanted to write and report on those who will be great athletes.

Thank you, Rider, for always supporting and uplifting me. It has been the biggest honor to be your sports editor.

Nobody needs any advice from me but I will leave you with this: support women’s sports, support the mid-major conferences, always try to find the stories that are not being told and most importantly, love what you do.

Well, I guess it’s off to covering the 21st Maccabiah in Israel and then Maryland.

Farewell, The Rider News.

May we meet again.

Dylan Manfre, senior journalism major

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