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Introducing Targum's 154th editorial board

The Daily Targum's 154th editorial board welcomes several new faces and brings forth many new ideas. – Photo by Sakina Pervez

After holding its annual caucus online for the first time last year, The Daily Targum returned to campus to usher in its 154th editorial board this weekend at the Student Activities Center on the College Avenue campus.

Over the course of two days in the Targum’s office, the outgoing and incoming boards interviewed editor candidates on their prospective positions’ requirements in a culmination of several months of training to take over the paper. They determined by vote whether each candidate would adopt their year-long role.

The 154th editorial board officially got to work yesterday on running the paper and realizing personal ambitions for the Targum’s development as a resource for the student body.

Isabella Tyszka, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, is the Targum’s new editor-in-chief. She said she is looking forward to taking on a leadership role, creating a more collaborative environment, learning more about journalism and exploring her passion for writing outside of her political science major.

“The unique thing about my role here is that I come from a completely different background, but I'm using the things I learn from my major while also learning as I go in a completely different field — this sort of duality is really exciting to me,” Tyszka said. “I think it'll be a great opportunity for me to connect the board members (and) the Targum with the larger Rutgers community.”

Victoria Yeasky, a Rutgers Business School junior and the former head news editor, is the Targum’s next managing editor. She said she is looking forward to continuing her work at the Targum in a new role that combines her editorial experience with her business knowledge.

“I am truly grateful for everything that the Targum has taught me so far and for all of the people that I worked with on the 153rd editorial board,” Yeasky said. “I am so impressed with the amount and quality of ideas brought forth so far by the other new editors, and I am most looking forward to working with them to bring these visions to life as we carry the Targum forward.”

The Targum also welcomed three news editors for the first time since board 150: Head News Editor Astha Lakhankar, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, and Associate News Editors Claire Bruno and Kithmy Wickramasinghe, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and sophomore, respectively.

The three have a number of ideas to promote connections between writers at the news desk, Lakhankar said.

“We want to take advantage of our in-person environment and create more opportunities for news writers to interact in real-time,” she said. “We have big shoes to fill with (the) previous news editors being (Yeasky) and (School of Arts and Sciences senior Joanne Chung), but we're excited to try our best and continue their legacy.”

Lakhankar said she also wants to increase investigative reporting at the news desk to cover issues in greater detail. Last year, members of the 153rd editorial board wrote such reports on the University’s distribution of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic grants to students, increased spending on Rutgers Athletics and euthanization of thousands of experimental mice.

Wickramasinghe said she looks forward to exploring investigative journalism herself and following long-term stories during her time as an associate news editor.

“I am also excited for collaborations between the news and other desks as I believe collaboration is the key to finding interesting stories and keeping readers engaged,” she said.

Bruno, who started writing for the news desk last fall, said she aims to keep the Targum efficient at keeping the Rutgers community informed on happenings at the University and important causes.

“I think that everyone on the new editorial board has been very well prepared by their trainers and is ready to maintain the image of the Targum,” she said. “I know everyone will do a really good job in each of the desks, and I think (it) will be a very good and productive year.”

On the opinions front, Richard Suta, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, now heads the desk. He said opinion pieces require nuanced thinking and clear writing, which have become increasingly important due to the pandemic and persisting social crises.

Suta said the opinions section of the Targum should be where people learn about college students’ thoughts on popular issues, especially with high-stakes midterm elections this year.

“I think the continued fully digital landscape allows for better coverage of some of these issues and even allows opinions to engage more directly with the Rutgers community at large,” he said. “Taken together, I think we are ready to best showcase the talent of Rutgers’ students.”

Dylan McCoy, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and former associate sports editor, will join board 154 by moving up to the position of head sports editor. He said he is excited to be returning for the next editorial board and aims to accomplish a lot during his term.

“The content of this section will expand over the coming months, with more columns and more voices at Rutgers sharing updates on the Scarlet Knights,” he said. “(The associate sports editor) and I will continue to work and make (the Targum) one of the leading places for coverage on the banks.”

Alongside McCoy, Jack Bisaha, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, will help run the sports desk as the new associate sports editor. He said that throughout his time working at On the Banks, he has seen the many ways in which writers voice their opinions on Athletics and wants to bring this depth to the Targum sports desk.

“I think a greater emphasis on these sports opinion pieces will be of great benefit to the desk as we try to reach more readers and utilize the talents of our writers,” he said. “I also plan to put an emphasis on our podcast 'Keeping Score' as I believe (McCoy) and I have built up great chemistry on the mic. I can't wait to get started.”

The copy desk is now led by Vy Nguyen, a School of Arts and Sciences junior who originally joined the Targum as associate copy editor. Kevin Rosa Ramirez, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, occupies her previous position.

To Nguyen, being head copy editor of the 154th board means upholding a historical standard of accurate, reliable journalism, she said.

“Considering that some of the copy desk’s primary responsibilities include fact-checking and adhering to style guidelines, I take a lot of pride in our role in maintaining the Targum’s reputation, and I am looking forward to doing so with our new board,” Nguyen said.

Ramirez said he views his position as an opportunity to collaborate with others and develop his leadership skills.

“My goals are to keep learning, as always, and implement all of my knowledge into (the) Targum and never settle for less,” he said.

Henry Wang, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior, has taken over the Targum’s photo desk. He said he is excited to expand this section and wants the photo content he produces to enhance the storytelling of other sections.

The video desk saw its first change of head video editor in two years with Christopher Kim, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, while Jonny Berkowitz, a Mason Gross sophomore, is continuing as associate video editor after having taken over toward the end of spring 2021.

“I want to grow the video desk and diversify the projects we work on,” Kim said. “My team and I have a lot of great ideas for this upcoming year, and we can't wait to get started on them.”

Berkowitz said that he cannot wait to continue his work as associate video editor for the Spring 2022 semester. 

“I have so many ideas for videos and hope to produce some of my favorite ideas,” he said. “There is so much of the Rutgers community that has not been explored (or) publicized, and I am looking forward to spotlighting them.”

Meredith MacLean, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, will now lead the Inside Beat section as the next features editor. She said she is ready to get more students involved with the desk in order to continue to expand the section’s writing to exciting new levels.

“I’m excited as Inside Beat editor to highlight what Rutgers students are interested in, from events on campus to the best new music, as well as analysis of what issues and happenings in the world are most important and interesting to them,” she said.

Continuing the Targum’s social media desk, formed last year, is Rachel Chang, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. She will be the second social media editor in Targum history.

“One of my main goals is to make sure that I uphold the standards that my predecessor has set for me and future social media editors,” Chang said.

Editorial board 154 will also feature a brand new desk focused for the element of graphic design. It will be overseen by Jason Lei, a Rutgers Business School junior, who said that being a new desk means that he gets to bring a fresh perspective to the board. 

“I want to be able to connect with people through my work and showcase all of our hard work this coming year,” he said.

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