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Farewell Letter: On loving and leaving student journalism


After nearly three years at The Ticker, I stand on the verge of graduating—and of saying goodbye.

My first semester at Baruch College was defined by isolation and unpredictability. I had expected it to be my introduction to New York. Instead, a sudden move at the beginning of a pandemic meant that I spent it in an emotional and geographic limbo, quarantining hundreds of miles away in a new and unfamiliar state while doubting my choice of major.

Joining The Ticker in 2021 felt like a new beginning, one where my desire to write and to make and think critically about art could be both a way to find community and a form of public service.

I had no experience with journalism before I wrote my first article, an opinion piece criticizing the repeal of federal pandemic unemployment benefits. I only saw a familiar pattern—an institution acting with at best apathy to ordinary people, and at worst active cruelty—and wanted to name it to make impacted students feel less alone.

It’s an article that has a new resonance to me with the recent end to U.S. federal funding for free at-home COVID tests while few resources exist for people living with long COVID.

I switched my major to journalism and my minor to environmental sustainability as I continued writing for The Ticker, where I had both the support of experienced writers and copyeditors and a remarkable freedom in what I could cover and how.

I dropped lighthearted Goya references in the middle of Superbowl predictions, highlighted small, independent arts and culture businesses, co-ops and collectives and reviewed films, books and museum exhibits that felt radical or original to me.

I also found myself promoted from a graphics artist to the graphics editor. If I wasn’t writing or creating article illustrations, comics, social media graphics and merch designs, then I was managing—with the aim of preventing burnout—a team of nearly 20 hardworking, talented creatives whose work I am always proud to see published. I am sure the graphics department will be in good hands as one of its most reliable contributors, Vibodha Gallage Dona, steps up to lead it after me.

When I think about what I will miss most about The Ticker, I think of the weekly Tuesday editorial meetings, of the thoughtful conversations over good food in an eclectic space shaped by current and former student journalists. A space with our chaotic and joyful whiteboard art and with stacks of past issues organized by decade. I deeply respect everyone at The Ticker and wish I had room to thank them all by name. But maybe brevity is for the best—I don’t know if I have the words.

I would like to shout out the editor-in chief-Maya Demchak-Gottlieb—who works harder than anyone I know, led The Ticker’s transition back to print and whose only flaw may be preferring her bagels untoasted. And to the arts and culture section editor Mia Euceda—not only for the astonishing breadth and depth of their music knowledge but also for their endless support.

I wish there were more publications like The Ticker, as so many barriers exist to student and professional journalism. I tried my best to do justice to the privilege and the honor of contributing to an editorially independent, weekly undergraduate student newspaper of over 90 years that is largely by and primarily for a working-class, first- and second-generation student body.

For me, that meant reporting on CUNY with care and attention. I documented student successes like tabling and winning awards at a notable arts festival. I photographed students and faculty protesting side by side against proposed tuition hikes and other austerity measures and in support of the right to bodily autonomy, including abortion, other forms of reproductive healthcare and trans healthcare.

I also criticized CUNY’s relationship with power and policing. For example, I covered a Kingsborough College student’s physical restraint by campus security after allegedly intervening when a white student used racial slurs and CUNY’s silence around years of undercover NYPD surveillance of Muslim students on its campuses.

Part of what makes my departure from The Ticker so emotionally complicated is that it comes at a moment of not just financial but also moral dysfunction in American journalism, where publications that position themselves as sources of authority have refused to uphold the journalistic commitment to truth that comes from a deep love for human life and dignity.

Consider how The New York Times has dehumanized Palestinians to manufacture consent for their decades-long occupation and current genocide by Israel, emboldening university administrators to sic police on student protestors. Consider its publication of transphobic op-eds that have been cited in anti-trans legal briefs while the majority of its coverage on trans issues did not quote a single trans person. 

What gives me hope and strength is witnessing journalism and activism—on CUNY campuses and beyond— that refuses passive complicity in the face of injustice. Whatever my future looks like after Baruch, I know that there will always be room at The Ticker for students of conscience willing to learn how to do the work of reporting on issues they care about for the communities they are part of.

If I am lucky, some of them may even be reading this letter now.

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About the Contributor
Alexandra Adelina Nita
Alexandra Adelina Nita, Graphics Editor
Alexandra Adelina Nita is the Graphics Editor for The Ticker.
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