Julie Pike, Editor-in-chief


My first letter from the editor, a piece of writing that symbolizes a big change in my role at The Free Press, as I take on the challenge of becoming editor-in-chief.

For the past two years that I have worked at The Free Press, I always had in the back of my mind that I might someday become editor. Although it never occured to me that this opportunity would come so soon. I’ve had a great mentor, Sarah, who has passed on all of her wisdom from her time as editor. I’ve also got a great staff to work with, who I know will all help ease the pressure of this transition for me.

I first started as a news writer during my second semester of my freshman year here at USM. I will always remember my first assignment, to cover an event on the Gorham campus, where a group of “sexperts” were hosting a panel to have an uncensored discussion on sex related matters. The news editor at the time, who has since moved on from The Free Press, informed me that going into what could be considered an uncomfortable situation is a great way to start my time at the newspaper. Considering I’m still working at The Free Press today, he must’ve been right.

Since then I’ve had the opportunity to cover major issues affecting students and staff at USM as well as our community. I’ve covered Trump’s election, Molly Ringwald stopping in Gorham to promote Hillary Clinton, a Bernie Sanders rally, as well as stories regarding the Student Senate, protests against campus speakers and the strive for more gender neutral bathrooms at USM.

That’s one of the things I love the most about this job, every week it’s a new assignment. Every week you have the chance to learn something new. Every week you have the opportunity to challenge yourself.

This position is a turning point in my career path to become a journalist. I dream of one day working for a national publication such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, or even Time magazine.

When I was younger, I was an avid viewer of Gilmore Girls, a drama and comedy sitcom centered around the eccentric relationship between a mother and her daughter. For those of you who are familiar with the show, you know that Rory Gilmore, the daughter, shared a similar passion of mine, she wanted to be a journalist. In fact, it was Rory who inspired me to begin writing.

That was close to seven years ago, in my first year of high school, when I thought to myself, “maybe someday I can be like Rory Gilmore.” I was 14 years old then, and to this day that idea still stands with me. I may not want to be exactly like Rory, but as far as her success in journalism, I hope I can live up to that.

And now here I am, editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, just as Rory was for the Yale Daily News. I may not have the eccentric mother-daughter relationship that Rory and Lorelai share, but I’ve got that one thing in common with her.

I have big dreams for The Free Press and I hope that during my time as editor I can work to improve and continue the success of the paper. It’s not going to be an easy task and it’s going to take lots of time and devotion, but I am prepared for that.

For those of you who are avid readers, you can follow me on my journey as I work to navigate the intricate process of producing a weekly college newspaper. You’ll see my highs and lows, and I’m expecting there to be plenty of low moments.

I may have high expectations for this paper, but I’m not expecting myself to be perfect. I know there will be moments when I will make mistakes, but there will also be times when I can be proud of the content of our paper.

This position comes with a responsibility and commitment that is new to me. I fully expect the next year and a half left that I have at USM to be the most challenging of my time here. But if I wasn’t in a position where I am challenging myself, I wouldn’t be working to get any better.

A wise television mother once said, “you have so many years of screw ups ahead of you,” and that woman is Lorelai Gilmore. These are words of wisdom that I live by.

This is coming from a woman who said, “I need coffee in an IV,” which are also words of wisdom that I live by.


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