A Pretty Saucy Senior Send-Off
Photo Courtesy of Robert Kinnaird
I was stopped by two middle-aged women outside of the first event I tried to photograph for The Chronicle. The event was a jazz ensemble concert in Monroe Hall, and the two women thought I was trying to sneak in for free. I was a student and would have received free tickets anyway, but it was telling them that I was with The Hofstra Chronicle that had them turn me away. “We already have a university photographer here,” they said. I tried to explain that The Chronicle was run by students and had its own photographers. Only after I pulled up an email from my editor was I allowed in the event.
This paper and I have come a long way since that night. I’ve photographed events from jazz concerts and dance recitals to student political protests and presidential candidates. The paper has grown greatly in readership and recognizability.
In my first layout night of my freshman year, I was surprised to find this past year’s editor-in-chief, Joe Fay, sitting with the sports section. We were orientation roommates, and he roomed with my good friend. He approached me with a puzzled look. “Peter, what are you doing here?” I was asking myself the same question.
I was an English major who liked to take photos, dragged into a newspaper by my friend Jesse Saunders. I still remember that layout night, seeing how the different sections interacted with each other. Sports was the loudest section in the room; then-news editor Michael Ortiz kept me in the loop with who was who and how they interacted with each other; Jesse and op-ed let me in on the office gossip. It was a different office back then, and it has been incredible to see it change over the past three years.
In my second year with The Chronicle, the Sigma Pi hazing allegations article came into the national news scene. I was given the photos and videos early to edit them for print. Everything about the story was disturbing, but it was an amazing moment for the paper.
We saw the power of strong journalism, and it drove us to keep investigating possible news stories to keep the community informed. The next year saw the news stories of Hofstra food problems, corrupt Zarb professors and sorority hazing.
The moment I knew I really cared about the paper dealt with the latter story. Some women in the sorority were going around throwing out our issues because they were angry that we published the story. On my way out of a movie screening in the Student Center, I saw three girls carrying large stacks of The Chronicle away from the stands we put them on.
At first I ignored it; I didn’t want confrontation. Then I thought about how proud the entire paper was of putting out that story and the fact that there were pages and pages of other stories people put hard work into. I turned around and approached the girls, “What are you doing with all those papers?” They fumbled to answer.
I took them all back.
On my way to The Chronicle office, the maintenance man, Gus, told me how he had dug the issues out of a dumpster the night before and was grateful I saved them from getting tossed out again.
It’s not only the issues this paper puts out but the people who are here week after week that have made my experience here so incredible. This paper has gone from being one of the most divided groups I’ve been a part of to being a tight-knit group of students passionate about doing real news. I may just be a multimedia editor and photographer, but this paper has made me a better news reader, writer and informed student.
News and media is all that is standing between the people and the establishment. This holds especially true on a college campus. A strong newspaper can make all the difference – and I believe it has.