Maneater alumni testimonials Vol. 1: The impact of student newsrooms on future career success

In their own words, Maneaters from across the generations share the wisdom they gained during their days in Mizzou’s independent student newsroom.
Photo courtesy of Angela D. Greiling Keane, class of 1998. Submitted by Angela D. Greiling Keane

In honor of The Maneater’s 65th birthday on Feb. 18, 2020, the current Maneater editorial board would like to harken back to our founder, Joel Gold’s, bold editorial policy for the paper:

"If you want to keep us out, better bar the door. And don't try getting rough or screaming 'libel' when a Maneater reporter crashes your meetings. When The Maneater gets mad, all hell is going to break loose. You've been warned."

Generations of alumni have gone on to live this inscription beyond their time at Mizzou. In their own words, here is the impact The Maneater has had on the lives of the journalists, teachers, editors and writers of today:

Carmel Perez Snyder

Class of 1997, current director of advocacy and outreach for AARP Oregon

I trekked down to The Maneater when we arrived on campus and it changed my life. After working in newsrooms in various parts of the country, I can tell you what we did there was real journalism. We worked our butts off. And, I'm proud to say being EIC from 1996-1997 is something [I'm] very proud of — and also made me a better reporter at the Missourian when I got there. My first story for the Missourian — first day on the job — ended up on the front page. No way would that happen if we didn't have The Maneater experience. That experience also landed me where I am today in my "non-journalism" job since the person who interviewed me 12 + years ago for AARP also had attended the J-School and loved The Maneater.

Angela D. Greiling Keane

Class of 1998, current deputy managing editor at Politico

Working at The Maneater, starting as a freshman, was a trial by fire working at a demanding news outlet with high standards. It was hands-on learning, exactly as the J-School promotes. The lessons about writing tight are some I still use after more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. Now that I do a lot of hiring, experience at The Maneater or similar student-led publications gives applicants a leg up in the competitive markets in which I hire.

Elliot Njus

Class of 2010, current podcasts and news editor at The Oregonian/OregonLive

I worked as a reporter and editor, and ultimately Editor-in-Chief, from 2006 to 2009. I arrived with some talent for writing and not much else. I left with a sense of news judgement that’s served me well ever since, a drive to innovate and a potent disdain for bullsh*t. The Maneater taught me what journalism should be — and what it must be to survive today. I also made mistakes, as most young journalists do. I consider myself lucky to have made, and learned from, many of mine at The Maneater.

Kasey Carlson

Class of 2019, assistant editor of Feast Magazine in St. Louis

I was the opinion editor from 2016 to 2017. I learned a lot at The Maneater. Some of it was through triumph, and some of it was through pretty big failure. But The Maneater was a place where I not only learned how to write and how to edit, but it taught me what my values were as a journalist and the impact journalism can have, in both good and bad ways. While I would go back and fix a lot of wrongs, I wouldn't trade the time there.

Dean Klempke

Class of 1997, current 6th grade science teacher

I was a reporter at the Maneater for a few years in the mid-’90s. I was an education major and do not work in journalism, but my work there taught me how to investigate the news and how to express it semi-coherently.

Ted Bridis

Class of 1989, current Rob Hiaasen Lecturer in Investigative Reporting in the College of Journalism & Communications at the University of Florida

I wrote for the Maneater in 1986-87, mostly local crime or breaking news stories, as a freshman and sophomore. It was an invaluable part of my college journalism experience and set up nicely the training later in reporting and editing classes in the J-School. I spent 30 years as a professional reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press, where I ran AP's Pulitzer-winning investigative team in Washington for 11 years, before I left last year to teach investigative reporting at the University of Florida in my home state. Now as a professor, I meet weekly with editors at the Independent Alligator here, encourage my UF students to join its staff and work informally to help its reporters on their investigations. I believe strongly in student newsrooms and the power of what they can teach young reporters.

Jacob Bogage

Arts & Sciences class of 2016, Journalism class of 2019, current staff writer at the Washington Post

[I was a] Maneater sportswriter 2012-13, sports editor 2013-14. The Maneater was where I met my very best friends in college. We remain close to this day. It also taught me how to be a real reporter. Go to events, pick up the phone, fill up your notebook. There was a newspaper to put out, and you were accountable to your peers to do your part. Consequently, I learned a lot about myself both as a journalist and a person. I think about how I grew and matured and learned what kind of person I wanted to be every day.

Jackie Dana

Arts & Sciences class of 1989, Master’s in History 1992

I started at The Maneater as an eager and clueless freshman, going to the first meeting of the fall 1985 semester and writing every week. I was a reporter/staff writer and production assistant through the end of 1986, when I went on to be a DJ and Chief Announcer at KCOU. My experience at The Maneater taught me how to do research and write a news story and feature, and although I never took a single Journalism course (I switched from pre-J to English). I held those skills close throughout my professional career. For years I worked as an academic advisor in Austin and on the side wrote articles for local papers, blogs and whatever came my way (including being part of the Working Stiff Journal, a short-lived print newspaper for labor issues in Austin). In 2014, I became a professional writer and editor and now work as the content manager for a large domain and hosting company as well as a regular contributor on Medium. There's no question that the skills and experience I gained at the Maneater allowed me to do all of those things. My editing skills, in particular, came from the experience of being edited in real-time by the Maneater News Editors who would chop up my stories and show me how to make them better. There's absolutely no question that my year and a half at the Maneater opened doors for me that my English degree never would have, and that my very career is due in large part to the time I spent there. I'll never forget the experience I had being the reporter covering the anti-apartheid/divestment movement (and the shanty town on the Quad). I'll never forget how much those events moved me, and how I had to step down from reporting because I wanted to take part in the protests myself. That in and of itself was a fantastic education and changed me for the better.

Ashley Mercier

Class of 2002, LinkedIn media solutions manager in San Francisco

I was an International Business (Marketing emphasis) major and was an ad rep from 2000-2001, National Accounts Manager from 2001-2002, as well as Classifieds Manager for one semester in 2002. All of the classes I took at Mizzou were amazing, but nothing prepared me more for my career in advertising/marketing than the hours I spent in the old office in Brady Commons. It was invaluable experience and I made some of the best friends I’ll ever have!

Edited by Leah Glasser | lglasser@themaneater.com

Share: Facebook / Twitter / Google+

Article comments

0 comments

This item does not have any approved comments yet.

Post a comment

Please provide a full name for all comments. We don't post obscene, offensive or pure hate speech.