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Daily Targum transitions to 155th editorial board

The Daily Targum's 155th editorial board was caucused in this past weekend. – Photo by The Daily Targum

On Saturday and Sunday, the 154th editorial board of The Daily Targum passed the torch to their successors through a caucus, as per Targum tradition.

The 155th editorial board faced conceptual and technical questions from their predecessors and peers regarding the ambitions of their desks, what initiatives they hope to implement during their term and their qualifications for their desired positions.

The process took several hours over two days, but eventually, all 16 board members were caucused in. Kithmy Wickramasinghe, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and former associate news editor, is taking over as editor-in-chief.

Unlike other board members, many of whom major in journalism and media studies and other writing-intensive subjects, Wickramasinghe is pre-med and hopes to use her experience at the Targum to emphasize the importance of communication, particularly in health care.

"From contributing writer to correspondent to news editor to now being (editor-in-chief), it’s been such a long journey with the Targum," she said. "I’m looking forward to being more involved with the paper beyond the news desk and working with the lovely and extremely talented board members of 155."

Other than Wickramasinghe, another 154th board member will be returning — former head news editor Astha Lakhankar, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

Along with Wickramasinghe and Claire Bruno, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, Lakhankar led the 154th news desk, covering issues like Rutgers unions, conflicts within student organizations and campus inequity.

For the 2023-2024 term, she will be working as the Targum’s managing editor, leveraging her economics background to handle more operational aspects of the newspaper's production.

She said she hopes to implement initiatives at the Targum that make its work as efficient as possible while maintaining the paper's values of quality and accuracy.

"I've been at the Targum since my first year at Rutgers, and I’m so grateful for all the smart, talented and hilarious people I’ve met during my time here," Lakhankar said. "As managing editor, I look forward to upholding this paper’s commitment to independent journalism and integrity."

Brian Delk, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, had an unorthodox journey to being the 155th editorial board’s head news editor.

Originally a sports desk writer covering the Rutgers women’s soccer team and the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team, Delk transitioned to writing for news early in the Fall 2022 semester.

As head news editor, he said he hopes to create a closer community of news writers and bond with his fellow editorial staff members — as well as increase the news desk’s student outreach.

"I also look forward to increasing engagement with students by incorporating their voices and stories into our news articles," Delk said. "My fellow news editors and I hope to increase the Targum’s voice around campus."

Uriel Isaacs, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, will be board 155’s associate news editor and said that he wants to expand upon the last board’s work and contribute to local journalism.

Isaacs previously held a contributing writer position and wrote articles about political news and other topics for the past two semesters.

"I am excited to play a direct role in providing the Rutgers community with news and information that matters and is important to their daily lives," he said. "This new board seems eager to continue modernizing and expanding the paper, and I look forward to working with such a special team on these goals."

For the first time in several years, the Targum is bringing back its news assignment editor position. This year, the role will be filled by Arishita Gupta, a School of Arts and Sciences and Rutgers Business School junior.

Gupta, who started contributing articles to the news desk during her first year at the University, said that she had become a better writer and person from her experience with the past two editorial boards.

"I look forward to pursuing more investigative, special issues and long-form articles while applying the skills I have adopted through editorial training to cover these more extensively and sensitively," she said. 

Other goals for the next year include empowering writers to specialize in their interests and create more polished and impactful pieces, she said.

Sara Eschleman, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, has taken over as the Targum's new opinions editor.

She said that she is most excited to lead an opinions section that will write about topics that will engage the Rutgers student body and encourage productive and respectful discourse.

Josh Meyers, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, has fond memories of reporting on Rutgers athletics as a sports writer, reminiscing about attending press conferences, speaking with players and enjoying games.

Now he looks forward to collaborating with head sports editor, Ellis Gordon, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, to revamp the sports desks’ Keeping Score podcast and publish more analytical sports content.

Similarly, Gordon expressed interest in creating story series that underscore the accomplishments of individual Rutgers athletes — specifically, by creating a "Knights Under Lights" column that spotlights successful Rutgers Athletics alum.

"I hope to continue having the Targum as one of the leading newspapers for Rutgers athletics coverage," he said. "I cannot wait to get started."

The reins of the copy desk have been handed to co-copy editors Caroline Serpico and Amanda Clark, both of whom are juniors in the School of Arts and Sciences.

In September, Serpico and Clark began training under the Targum's former head copy editor Vy Nguyen, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. Now, after officially taking over, both editors said they look forward to contributing to the work of the entire board.

"My hope for the new board of the Targum is to produce more thought-provoking, incisive journalism and to show students that their university’s newspaper is one they can both trust and support," Serpico said. 

Clark agreed, saying that she takes pride in being a part of the copy desk due to its importance in the production process, especially in regard to keeping the paper's stories accurate and readable.

"I am excited to work with Caroline as co-copy editor and to collaborate with the other desks to make sure our production runs smoothly and publish work that we will be proud of," she said.

Hamza Azeem, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, will be board 155’s photo editor, and he said that he is interested in raising the quality of his desk’s work.

"This year, I’m excited to grow the desk through new projects such as HumansOfRU and bring original photos to the reported stories to enhance the quality of the work that the Targum produces," he said.

The video desk of the new board welcomes two new editors this year, one of whom is Ragini Subramanian, a Rutgers Business School and School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. Subramanian said they’re excited to explore the video desk’s potential.

"I'm looking forward to working with many more people in the Rutgers community and creating valuable and inclusive content," they said. 

Benjamin Horner, a Mason Gross School of the Arts sophomore, said he appreciated working with the 154th editorial board’s video desk.

"It was a tremendous pleasure working with the previous video desk, and I am looking forward to collaborating with 155," he said. "I am eager to grow as a content creator and am passionate about expanding and improving the Targum’s videos."

Lena Stoeckert, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, also expressed excitement in regard to her new position.

"I’m really excited to get to collaborate with everyone on 155 and start to make the Targum our own for a while," Stoeckert said.

School of Arts and Sciences junior My Huynh will be the Targum's third-ever social media editor.

"I am super excited to be working with the 155 board members to create a new look for Socials that will draw more users to our page and read our articles," she said. "Another one of my goals is to try and maintain the standard my trainer, Rachel Chang left for me."

The 155th editorial board also welcomes Ice You, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior, as graphics editor for the upcoming year. You said that she is interested in working with other editors to improve the Targum's production.

"I am really looking forward to collaborating with the 155 editors and work on creative and impactful projects," she said.

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