This week, News Intern Kayan Tara sat down with Loyolan Editor-in-Chief Kellie Chudzinski, a junior communication studies major.
Q: When did you join the Loyolan and what positions have you held?
I joined the Loyolan my second semester freshman year. I had been involved in journalism for the past 6 years [before college], so I gave it a little break. By the end of first semester my freshman year, I knew I had to get back into journalism and join the Loyolan. I started as assistant news editor and became news editor my freshman year.
Q: When did you start writing and do you hope to continue to do so even after LMU?
I’ve been writing forever. In seventh grade I started with the first school newspaper I ever joined, and I became the editor-in-chief of that and two other publications later in high school. So not only have I been writing for years, I've also been writing news in some capacity for just as long. I definitely will always continue to write because it’s such a great way to express your voice. I'm not set on a future in journalism but it is definitely something I consider doing later.
Q: So was editor-in-chief (EIC) a position that you were always interested in?
It definitely was, but I also knew what a big responsibility it was, and it's not something to go into unprepared. I was news editor and that’s such a big job. I knew if I could be successful at that, [then] I had a great foundation to go into this position with.
Q: What drew you to EIC?
We're in such a unique moment and great journalism is really leading the way of understanding for so many people. I love the Loyolan, the staff and I see so much potential in the paper to be a great voice. I want to be a part of elevating voices in the LMU community and I'm sure you will see that this year from the Loyolan.
Q: What successes of the Loyolan do you draw on or use for inspiration?
I’d say there’s been a couple; for instance, like [the Mental Health and Sexual Assault] special issues that the Loyolan has done, and I think that [they are examples of a] great form of journalism that we do. That highlighting one issue and diving in, is one of the best things we do. And we of course want to keep that going forward.
Q: What is your main goal for the Loyolan during your time as Editor-in-Chief?
I think in the paper it’s a little hard to measure success because it’s updated every week, and every day online … so [it’s hard to know what to focus on]. So for me I think if the staff is successful, that will be how I know that I have been successful. If the stories are done correctly and are journalistically sound, we've done our job.
Q: What are important skills you think any good journalist should have?
I think, for one thing, all journalists should be good listeners. You have to want to listen and tell those stories. I think so often it is something intrinsically within a writer. I think that good journalists are people who are great storytellers, can do it accurately and really captivate people, to take them to a place they weren’t themselves.
Q: Especially in the time we are currently living in, why do you think journalism and good reporting is important?
Journalism has never been, it seems, so important in our lifetimes, anyway. The need to be right has never been higher, you know — there’s a big pressure on the media, and student media, to not make any mistakes. That’s something that journalists have to really, even more than before, be vigilant about. The hope is, that the truth will rise to the surface and I think journalism is the greatest medium for showing what the truth is.
Q: The editor-in-chief is one of the more prominent students on campus, but what are three things no one knows about you?
I like to think that I’m a private person. So the idea that people know me is … I'd say One: My favorite place is at the beach, as long as I’m standing in sand, staring at the water, I’m happy. Two: I love music. I think music is a great form of expression and I don’t know how much it comes across like in other people who don’t have my sense of humor but I try and be funny. Three: I'm going to throw this one out there, I'm Filipino and when people find that out, that is something they are always surprised about.
Q: Who are your role models, in terms of journalists or otherwise?
I like to categorize my role models because I think people are so much more than one facet of themselves. For family, my mom and my brother are my biggest role models. They care so much about others and always make an effort to better someone else's lives. They are truly selfless people. Professionally, there are a lot of journalists I look up and respect from Ana Marie Cox to Maggie Haberman. … The ability to really tell people — explain to people — what’s happening, in a time where we don’t always understand it ourselves, is something special. So for them to make me feel, at least, that they understand a bit of this nonsense, is something I strive to do as well.
Q: What is your favorite class you’ve taken at LMU and why?
I am going to offer you two. One is the class I’ve always told people is my favorite class and that is Professor Tracy Tiemeier's Comparative Theology class, Hinduism and Christianity. That class was just amazing. It was the only theology class I’ve taken so far and I loved everything about it. And over the summer I took a recording arts class called How Music Rocks and Rolls. That kind of gives you some psychology into why we like the music we like and so those are definitely two high quality classes.