I am so excited to welcome you to the first official issue of The California Aggie for the 2022-23 school year. For those of you who did not happen to pick up a copy of our summer issue, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Sophie Dewees, and I am the editor-in-chief of The Aggie. I’m a fourth-year majoring in economics with a double minor in Spanish and history, and outside of the classroom, I love exploring the outdoors, rock climbing and learning new songs on guitar.
I applied to The Aggie on somewhat of a whim my freshman year. I had experience with journalism from high school, but I was unsure if a college newspaper at a university as large as UC Davis would have the same chaotic yet homey feel as the features publication I had worked for, with doodles on our classroom whiteboards, old copies of the magazine pinned on the walls and an exercise bike in the corner. But when I walked into Lower Freeborn for my staff writer interview, I immediately felt at home. The beat-up couches, photos and memes from various TV shows such as “Freaks and Geeks” and signatures from old editors on the walls felt so familiar. I had my interview with the then Managing Editor Hannah Holzer (a lovely human being who endlessly encouraged me throughout my first year at The Aggie) and I knew almost instantly that this would become an important part of my college career.
I worked on the features desk for two years, first as a writer, then assistant editor and then editor. I loved the creativity that came with writing features articles, and I had the opportunity to work alongside Anjini Venugopal, who went on to become our fearless editor-in-chief from 2020-22. The following year, I became the campus news editor where I tackled breaking news pieces, Senate reports, campus protests and more.
Although much of my time at The Aggie was interrupted or altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, I have made some of my best friends in college through working for this publication, and I can honestly say that it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at UC Davis so far. I am honored and excited to serve as the editor for a staff of tenacious, talented and passionate student journalists.
As we begin this new year, there are many ways in which I feel The Aggie can grow, one of which being in staff diversity. In journalism, we strive to report honestly, without any of our personal biases coloring our writing or presentation of the facts. Perfectly unbiased reporting, however, is often elusive — it is difficult to leave out such biases in not only one’s writing but also in the stories one chooses to write about and the sources selected for interviews. Diversity is thus essential for any newsroom to have the widest range of ideas when it comes to reporting. For the past three years, we have produced an annual diversity report through the efforts of our Outreach and Engagement Board. Our past reports have revealed that The Aggie is lacking in diversity in many areas, and I hope that through hiring initiatives and increased community engagement organized by our outreach director and the Board, we can work to rectify this issue over time. I also plan to implement internal source diversity reports to track the breadth of sources covered across The Aggie’s different desks.
While The Aggie has been in existence since 1915 and I will only be the editor for one year, I hope that in this role I will build upon the work of my predecessors and improve the content that we produce for the UC Davis community. As journalists, we strive to question, educate and inform in an act of service for our community. And as editor, I hope to provide guidance for this group of spunky student journalists so that we can fulfill these duties with passion and vigor. I look forward to a wonderful year.
If you ever wish to contact me, please send me an email at email@example.com.