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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

Southerner alumni pursue journalism at the collegiate level

Connie Erdozain
Southerner alumni Lindsay Ruhl, Stella Mackler and Elena Hubert have gone on to college, now writing for their college newspapers. Ruhl writes for the Hullabaloo at Tulane University, Mackler writes for the Davidsonian at Davidson College and Hubert writes for the Daily Northwestern at Northwestern University.

After moving out of state for college, many students feel homesick. Luckily, Midtown alumni Lindsay Ruhl, Stella Mackler and Elena Hubert were able to bring a piece of home to school. Transitioning from the Southerner to their college newspapers, they’ve learned to write for a new community using skills they learned at Midtown. 

Lindsay Ruhl and the Hullabaloo, Class of ‘22

After graduating from working on the Southerner, Tulane University sophomore Lindsay Ruhl knew she wanted to continue journalism in college. Starting as a staff writer her freshman year, Ruhl has worked up to become the breaking news editor for Tulane’s newspaper, the Hullabaloo

“Last year, I was a writer the whole year and wanted more of a position on staff,” Ruhl said. “I wanted to be in a newsroom late at night working on the newspaper, and I never got that last year. This year, my co-news editor and I work together to really train the new students and integrate them more into the newspaper than I was.” 

Ruhl said that she originally did not want to continue journalism after her freshman year of high school but decided to continue because of Delbert Ellerton, the Southerner adviser. 

“It was a lot of work,” Ruhl said. “Mr. Ellerton pushed me to be such a good writer. He pulled me aside one day after class and told me that I should do [journalism]. Then I did, and I was a managing editor, and I just loved it.”

Wanting to get more involved in Tulane’s campus and the surrounding city of New Orleans, Ruhl said she immediately knew she should join the newspaper. 

“Journalism and writing stories was something I knew how to do, and I knew how to interview people,” Ruhl said. “So I started doing it, and I realized how passionate I was about it. I’m super extroverted, and I love going out to people and learning about people’s stories and sharing them with everyone else. Having the platform to do that, on a larger scale than high school, is so much more fun.”

After joining the Hullabaloo, Ruhl said she noticed a difference in writing for a college newspaper rather than writing for a high school one. 

“Even though the Southerner is very legit and professional, especially for a high school newspaper, writing in college is even more professional and organized,” Ruhl said. “For example, our managing board is much more serious in terms of copyright issues. I’m also able to talk to more important figures.”

Coming from the Southerner, Ruhl said she felt prepared to write at the Hullabaloo and that she frequently uses the Southerner to suggest ways to make her college publication better.

“During my interview when they asked me how I think we can improve, I literally pulled the Southerner website and said, ‘Look at how we do this; we need to do that,’” Ruhl said. “We are older and more mature, but there’s still a lot to improve on.”

Ruhl said she often uses inspiration of formats from the Southerner to design the Hullabaloo.

“[At the Hullabaloo] our staff profiles were incomplete; we didn’t even have them,” Ruhl said. “I remember in the fall, we would take our photos [at the Southerner] and upload them to the website. So, we hired a photographer and took professional pictures outside and put them on our website, and it looked really nice. I’m actually taking a lot of what [the Southerner] does and applying it to what we do.”

Ruhl said she takes pride in coming from the Southerner.

“I feel like there aren’t a lot of high school newspapers who can say they’re nationally recognized like the Southerner,” Ruhl said. “I’m honored to come from such a valid background of newspapers.”

Like seeing her name in print on the Southerner, Ruhl said she still feels the same accomplishment seeing her name in the Hullabaloo. 

“You get so many more reads on your stories, and your story is way more impactful [in college],” Ruhl said. “Seeing your name in print is the best feeling ever, and in college I wanted even more people to be like, ‘This Lindsay girl wrote this crazy good news story,’ or something like that.”

While being on a collegiate-level newspaper is exciting for Ruhl, she said she misses the Southerner. 

“I really miss late nights on the Southerner,” Ruhl said. “Eating food, hanging out, working on the newspaper together and being around people who share this common passion about the newspaper felt really important.”

Majoring in public health and marketing, Ruhl said she is not interested in pursuing a career in journalism but has enjoyed it as a hobby. She said her role on the Hullabaloo reminds her of home on the Southerner and completes her Tulane experience.

“It keeps me busy,” Ruhl said. “I’m able to be social, and I’m always meeting new people and making good connections with important people at the university, which is really fun. 

Stella Mackler and the Davidsonian, Class of ‘22

Stella Mackler, sophomore at Davidson College, now works for her school’s newspaper, the Davidsonian. Starting out as a news writer her freshman year to now being an editor-in-chief, Mackler said she said she’s appreciated the experience of being on the paper. 

“When they interviewed me, they asked me if I wanted to be editor-in-chief, and usually it’s a sophomore who’s about to go abroad and a senior who’s about to graduate,” Mackler said. “I was kind of freaking out, but I was like, ‘Yes, I’d love to.’ So, starting last semester and continuing into this semester, I’ve been an editor-in-chief with one other senior, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Mackler said the paper is entirely student-run because there is no journalism department, and said that this has been a challenge because of the staff of two editors and around eight section writers.

“There’s a very short turnaround process,” Mackler said. “We put out the paper every week instead of every month [like at the Southerner], so it can be harder to do in-depth stories because we need everyone on staff for paper production, and we can’t assign them to stories that may take a few weeks.”

Coming from an editor-in-chief position on the Southerner to a similar position on the Davidsodian, Mackler said she notices differences in the publications. 

“The most notable difference [from the Southerner] is the level of experience,” Mackler said. “A lot of the students at Davidson that want to write for the paper come into it, not really having a lot of prior experience in journalism, and that can be difficult to navigate at times because we don’t have journalism classes here; there are in the communications department, but not everyone that writes the paper takes those classes.”

Mackler said that what she learned in Journalism I at Midtown is not known to some people wanting to write for the Davidsonian.

“A lot of the educational aspects of journalism, like how to write a news story, that we learned our first semester [of] freshman year of high school are things that these kids don’t know, and so that was kind of a learning curve,” Mackler said. “I think I had to lower my expectations a little bit.”

Despite this, Mackler said knowing a bit more than others has helped her grow into her leadership role on the paper.

“It’s been a nice opportunity for me to develop,” Mackler said. “I think that it also enhances my journalism skills, as well, because I feel one of the best ways to learn is by teaching others.”

Mackler said the Southerner allowed her to be more involved in her community, and she has transferred that in her time on the Davidsonian. 

“From my time on Southerner, I learned that being on the paper is a really good way to meet people and talk to people you wouldn’t, otherwise,” Mackler said. “I kind of had that same experience at Davidson with being on the paper; I’ve learned so much about the school. I think it helped me also feel more connected to the school as a first-semester freshman.”

In terms of life after college, Mackler said she considers continuing journalism as a profession. 

“I’m majoring in environmental studies, and I definitely see [journalism and environmental studies] combining in some way,” Mackler said. “Since I’ve gotten involved in it, journalism has become more of a realistic opportunity for me in the future.”

Elena Hubert and The Daily, Class of ‘21

At the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Elena Hubert has worked on The Daily Northwestern for the past two years. Majoring in journalism and economics with a minor in classics, Hubert said she has learned to balance a heavy workload with the paper. 

“I was slow to start with student journalism because the [Midtown] courseload challenges don’t exactly equate to Northwestern, and I knew I was going to have some challenges academically,” Hubert said. “So, I eased my way into Northwestern and didn’t do a lot of extracurriculars, and then realized that was a huge part of student culture.” 

Hubert also said that what she was taught in her journalism major is best learned from participating in something like The Daily. 

“In the journalism program, you learn what to do in class, but you don’t actually learn how to do it unless you’re on a student publication,” Hubert said. “Now, I’ve kept the newspaper as a major part of my life.”

Throughout her time at Northwestern and on The Daily, now in the fall quarter of her junior year, Hubert has been in many editorial roles. She started as an assistant city editor, covering Evanston, IL, the city where Northwestern is located. 

“The Daily is the only newspaper for Northwestern and Evanston, so we really have a big role in covering what goes on,” Hubert said. 

In the fall of her sophomore year, Hubert worked as a copy chief, overseeing the fact-checking, grammar and style for all of the newspaper’s content. 

“It was definitely a hefty job,” Hubert said. “I think The Daily is one of the most prestigious newspapers. We publish every day except on the weekends.”

Transitioning into the winter quarter of her sophomore year, Hubert became an audience engagement editor, working to increase the publication’s view counts. 

“I decided to make it more of a project-based role,” Hubert said. “I developed this newsroom concert series that’s like NPR tiny desk. Basically, we had a bunch of musicians, bands and artists come to our newsroom and perform in front of an audience. I’ve done six or seven, and I hope to do more in the future.”

Now as a junior, Hubert is an arts and entertainment editor and said she most enjoys covering theatre. 

“I started to transition away from city coverage into art,” Hubert said. “It’s really fun to cover shows at Northwestern because the theatre department is a big deal.”

Reminiscing about the Southerner, Hubert said she originally didn’t have a huge interest in the newspaper as an underclassman in high school. 

“The Southerner is a class, so I can’t say I was super dedicated to it until Covid of my junior year,” Hubert said. “I think I was assistant managing news editor sophomore year, and I got pretty close to the upperclassmen, and began to see the Southerner as more of a community.”

As a junior at Midtown and in the height of Covid lockdown, Hubert said she found her calling. 

“When Covid hit, I found that the only reason I wanted to get out of bed, basically, was chasing a story and doing journalism,” Hubert said. “It was a highlight of high school for me, and I thought it was really something.”

During the pandemic, Hubert said she worked on important stories like Midtown’s name change, which got her more inspired to continue to engage with the Southerner, even in the summer. 

“I realized that the pandemic was happening, but I could still reach out to people, and there were still stories to be told,” Hubert said. “I very much got into my creative side during [the pandemic] and I wrote this story about Neil Williams who is the first black valedictorian at what was Grady when he was there. I really thought it was impactful that I could tell this man’s story, 30 or 40 years later. No one had done anything about the impact he had on Grady and his legacy, in general.”

For Hubert, working on the Southerner at Midtown was a crucial part of her high school experience, which impacted her decision to continue the pathway in college. 

“[The Southerner] was a highlight of high school for me, and I just really thought it was something I wanted to do in college,” Hubert said. “Medill is one of the best journalism schools, so I figured if I was going to do it, I should really go for it.”

While being on The Daily, Hubert has noticed some differences between the college publication and the Southerner. 

“The Daily is definitely more hardcore in terms of what it expects from people,” Hubert said. “The Southerner was more community-based journalism. The Daily is kind of segmented where we have a campus desk and a city desk, so in terms of the editorial process, they’re a little bit separate.”

Hubert said being on the Southerner gave her the foundation to succeed at The Daily. 

“Having to go into Atlanta, find the stories, walk on the BeltLine to talk to people and really getting an eye of my community and then that translated into the city desk of The Daily,” Hubert said. 

Despite deciding to go into a consulting profession instead of journalism after college, Hubert said she still sees journalism as an important part of her life.

“I’m still spending the rest of time in college doing journalism because I know this is the opportunity to go full throttle with it,” Hubert said.

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About the Contributors
Shea Edwards, Editor in Chief
Shea Edwards is a senior and this is her fourth year writing for the Southerner. This year, she is editor in chief for the lifestyle section. Outside of working on the paper, she loves to play lacrosse both in and out of school, participates in several extracurriculars, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Connie Erdozain, A&E Managing Editor
Connie Erdozain is a junior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. When she isn't writing, Connie enjoys painting, playing the piano, reading and spending time with her friends.

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