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Baylor’s Editor-In-Chief Takes on Difficult Job November 17, 2021

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , trackback

By Lucy Ruscitto

Editor-in-chief is no simple job. It involves extreme attention to detail, countless hours of brainstorming, a team player attitude and a talent of delegation and balance.

Ava Dunwoody, a junior and Baylor Lariat editor-in-chief from California, is a bit different than your typical Lariat staff member. Her plan is to become a high school teacher post-graduation.

Dunwoody is a secondary English-language arts major in the Baylor School of Education, and is minoring in news editorial, a track within the journalism major.

“When I was in high school, I joined the newspaper not really knowing what it was. But I was looking for an organization that I could devote some time to, and I knew that I liked writing so I gave it a shot,” she explained. “I fell in love with the program and decided that journalism was something that I wanted to pursue.”

Her passion for writing and storytelling was sparked, and ever since she has had her heart set on becoming a high school journalism teacher, overseeing and managing the student newspaper.

A year ago, she began her college journalism journey as a staff writer for the Baylor Lariat.

“I knew that I wanted to work for the Lariat ever since I went to Baylor. But I was nervous my freshman year,” Dunwoody admitted.

After taking Professor Amber Adamson’s “Reporting/Writing for the Media” class, Ava decided to take the jump and asked her how to go about writing some contributing pieces for the Baylor Lariat.

Through the encouragement and advice of her professor, she applied to the student publication the following semester as a staff writer. Falling in love with news writing, she continued up in the ranks into the arts & life editor position the next spring, and she says she loved the different duties the role presented and challenged her with.

“I actually wasn’t going to apply for editor-in-chief until my advisor approached me and told me that I should throw my name in the hat,” Dunwoody said. “I was super nervous, but I did it.”

Ava described the interview process as being very “intense”​​— she had to interview with 10 faculty members on a selection board and pitch herself to them as to why she deserved the position.

“I ended up getting it and I have loved it ever since,” she said.

Dunwoody revealed that this experience has pushed her out of her comfort zone in more ways than one, and she is proud not only of herself but especially her staff and their accomplishments.

“I’ve absolutely been the proudest of my staff on print night. We started off on our first edition five hours past deadline, and it was devastating,” Dunwoody described. “We’ve made a ton of progress, in terms of meeting deadlines and the content that we’ve been pumping out has been great. And so, I have just been as proud of all the products that we’ve created as a team. And we had a lot of fun doing it too, which is great.”

While there have been some very defining and impressive moments, Ava said she had also struggled with being one of the newer ones on staff, while also holding the most executive position within the student organization.

“My biggest challenge so far has been the fact that all of the staff members that came before me that I looked up to and relied on for a lot of my advice comes to journalism. They have all graduated,” Dunwoody said. “While I still can reach out to them, and I call them sometimes, and they share their wisdom with me, and I tell them what’s going on in the newsroom. Still, it’s different now that they have moved on.”

Despite some initial roadblocks that she and her staff overcame through time and teamwork, she said she has been inspired to encourage non-journalism students to apply for Baylor publication positions— especially if writing, photography or design is one of their passions.

“There’s room for everyone, in everything that you do. There’s room for new people in journalism, there’s always room for people to write contributing pieces in the Lariat,” she said.

“There’s always people that are willing to teach you a certain skill, whether it’s as simple as learning how to play chess, or something or as advanced as learning how to be a broadcast reporter. My advice would be to just go for it and try it because the worst that can happen is they find out that’s not their passion, it will lead them to what is.”


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