East to be next Daily Iowan editor-in-chief

BY NICK HASSETT | MARCH 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Kristen East will enter her junior year at the University of Iowa next year, yet she’ll also take on a role typically left for seniors: editor-in-chief of The Daily Iowan.

“I’ve always wanted to be the editor-in-chief of a collegiate newspaper someday,” she said. “Now that I’ve had the opportunity to work with all the sections [of the paper], I’m able to facilitate that.”

East’s age puts her in a unique position in the eyes of Daily Iowan Publisher Bill Casey.

“She’s young,” he said. “[East] is only the second sophomore going into junior year to be editor in the 38 years I’ve worked here.”

Alex Ginsberg, the acting chairman of Student Publishing Inc. — the governing body that oversees the DI’s operations — said East impressed the board with her interview.

“Even being a sophomore, the way she answered the questions and her experience makes her best for the job,” he said. “She’s young, and passionate. She’ll be able to figure it out.”

The 20-year-old from Arlington Heights, Ill., says her experience has helped prepare her for the position.

East attended Rolling Meadows High School, where she wrote for and edited for the school's student newspaper The Pacer.

“I really liked the sense of community [at The Pacer],” she said. “I want to have that same sense here, putting names to faces and getting to know everyone.”

East worked as a metro reporter for the DI her freshman year, covering the University of Iowa Student Government and the Iowa City City Council. She also covered UI Dance Marathon 18, reporting and posting stories each hour during the full 24-hour charity event.

She became a Daily Iowan Scholar in the spring of 2012, providing her $4,500 in tuition a year for the rest of her time at the UI.

East is currently a Metro editor alongside Jordyn Reiland. The two became editors last May.

During her time as editor-in-chief, East hopes to improve the visual aspects of the paper, increase the visibility of the DI website, and aim for better communication between staff.

“I think she’ll bring a more authoritarian style leadership, which will help the newsroom feel more like real life,” Ginsberg said.

Current DI Editor Emily Busse thinks East will be up to the job, but hopes she’ll keep every aspect of the paper in mind.

“Coming straight from metro, [East] will have to be sure to think about the paper as the sum of many parts,” she said. “You have to invest equally and spend time with each section to put out the paper.”

As for whether East thinks she’s ready?

“My age is a concern for a lot of people, but I have enough knowledge working in the newsroom, and have resources available to help me [as editor in chief],” she said.

And Casey thinks East will be ready by the time she takes the helm.

“Anybody who becomes editor here isn’t ever quite ready,” he said. “But she will be by fall.”

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