About this time one year ago, senior screenwriting major Kevin O’Keeffe began his position as Editor in Chief (EIC) of the Loyolan. In his year as EIC, he undertook the task of beginning the Loyolan’s transition to a digital focus, and he worked with a team that was eager to do so.
“My biggest goal was simple: take us digital first while revitalizing our print product with a redesign,” said O’Keeffe.
Now, after studying abroad in Spain for the past semester, junior psychology major Zaneta Pereira takes the helm of the Loyolan as EIC for the next year, hoping to pick up where O’Keeffe left off. Pereira, an international student from Pune, Maharashtra, India, has shown dedication to the Loyolan throughout her first three years at LMU.
O’Keeffe noted that she has repeatedly stepped into positions that were a lot to expect of someone in her place. She was news editor as a freshman, managing editor as a sophomore and now she will become EIC after studying abroad for a semester. Pereira will continue to lead the Loyolan staff to produce the best paper possible, especially after the transition to a digital focus.
“Our biggest goal is to solidify our commitment to digital first,” said Pereira. “Kevin and everyone on staff did a really great job of making that move and pushing to digital first, and now I think we need to step back, evaluate where we are and do the nitty-gritty work.”
She added that it is important to make sure that the best content is placed online and that the Loyolan really is committed to digital journalism in every aspect. She watched the redesign from afar while abroad, but was pleased with the outcome.
“The paper looks beautiful, and I think the redesign committee did a great job in updating it so that it’s relevant and still visually interesting,” Pereira said. “I think it’s done a lot in sort of combatting the decline of the print. I hope it’s something we can continue building on.”
O’Keeffe expressed similar sentiments.“Further focus in what we put on line will help get students looking there first and foremost,” he said.
Director of Student Media Tom Nelson noted that this year will be vital for the Loyolan in the transition, and there are many places that the paper can grow under Pereira.
“Because we’re in year two of this three-year transition to becoming digital first, there are a lot of places we can grow,” said Nelson. “With mobile, social, web and events, this is going to be a crucial year for the Loyolan.”
O’Keeffe agreed that this year is important for the Loyolan, and he emphasized his excitement to be on the other side, of the equation.
“I’m excited to be a reader of the Loyolan for the first time in two and a half years. I will be able to pick it up in the morning and have no idea what is on the front page or inside. There will be things that shock me and surprise me, and I know I will be blown away just like others have been by the hard work of this staff. I can’t oversell how excited I am,” he said.
O’Keeffe knows things will be different under Pereira; Pereira explained that an area that the Loyolan can focus on more is social media.
“Right now we use it a lot to push links, but we can use it more interactively to sort of engage with our audience. Social media is definitely a point of focus,” she said.
Pereira will soon step into the position of EIC with excitement and nerves, she said, but she is eager to work with the team. Nelson is confident in her abilities as Loyolan EIC.
“I think Zaneta is a unique personality, and I mean that in the best way possible,” said Nelson. “She is smart, and she knows what she’s doing. She will bring to the position an almost methodical calmness that will be essential to the Loyolan as we transition even further into becoming a digital-first newsgathering organization.”
O’Keeffe agreed with Nelson’s thoughts on Pereira, as he recognized her characteristics that will contribute to her success as an EIC.
“You’ll definitely know where she is on something, but she’s not afraid to keep her cool, which is a really good quality in a person and in an editor,” he said.
When asked what makes a successful EIC, O’Keeffe didn’t hesitate to respond.
“First and foremost, it has to be passion. If you don’t care, you’re not going to be good at this gig,” he said. “Next is the ability to see the whole picture without losing sight of the details – and vice versa. I’m not sure which of those Zaneta is yet, but I think that’s good. I definitely know she can do both. And getting to see exactly where she is on things means her staff can evolve organically.”
Pereira won’t be alone in this transition process. She has an executive board that will help her lead the news organization to success – two managing editors, sophomore entrepreneurship major Michael Busse for digital and sophomore management major Allie Heck for print, plus a design director, junior graphic design major Tyler Barnett. O’Keeffe is confident that this team will work well together.
“I’m so happy that there is this great team of four – four different temperaments working together,” he said. “I’ve had the privilege of working with all of them for a minimum of a year and a half each, and I’ve worked with Zaneta for my entire time at the Loyolan. It’s super cool that it’s a bunch of different awesome people working together – the balance will be really cool.”
O’Keeffe mentioned that he feels quite comfortable leaving the Loyolan in the hands of Pereira and the new executive board – far more comfortable than he thought he would be.
“Everyone on the staff inspires me, but these four I have worked with the most closely, and I’m really excited about leaving it with them,” said O’Keeffe. “I am not dreading it at all; I am legitimately so enthusiastic to see what they will do.”