Diana Shishkina’s Farewell Message as The Ticker’s Managing Editor

Courtesy+of+Diana+Shishkina

Courtesy of Diana Shishkina

Diana Shishkina

To all of my fellow Baruch College students, both past and present:

My name is Diana Shishkina. I just graduated from Baruch on June 8 and I was also the managing editor and a copy editor for The Ticker. In addition to dedicating my time to this wonderful paper, I was also a Dean’s Scholar and a member of Baruch’s Model United Nations team during my sophomore and junior years.

For those of you who do know me, you probably remember me talking about random Associated Press Style rules, seeing me stay in Baruch College until 2 a.m. on Thursday and Friday nights and talking about local politicians while discussing editorial topics for each issue.

Being part of an 87-year-old newspaper on a college campus — and one of the biggest in the CUNY system — is an amazing, unique experience. It is also a challenging one. The job of the writers and editors at The Ticker is to provide a voice for students in Baruch and inform them of relevant events happening at their college, CUNY and the world.

During my time at The Ticker, we worked to provide dozens of impartial, thoughtful articles to the public in the form of both a printed paper and a website. We spent countless hours in the third-floor media suite putting out a product that some seasoned journalists struggle to do, and that was on top of balancing a packed schedule filled with classes, jobs, families and assignments. We worked through snow days, class cancelations and even a global pandemic.

During the three years I spent at The Ticker, I feel like I’ve seen it all — mobs of students coming to advocate for a professor that we’ve written about, a company sending us an entire box of llama shirts, editors quitting in the middle of a semester due to various reasons, seven students coming together to write an article about improper votes in an Undergraduate Student Government election in two hours, people falling in and out of love and so much more.

I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I felt proud and I felt stressed in the media suite…usually all in one week.

Being a journalist in general is not glamorous. You have to constantly deal with people not wanting to talk to you or wanting to retract their original statements after you already published an article. Mass layoffs are also threatening local news outlets, which is devastating because these local papers allow smaller and underprivileged communities to also be heard.

Student journalists especially have a hard time, because people tend to not take you seriously due to your age or lack of experience. However, we need student journalists now more than ever. They are the future. The tenacity and passion for the truth that they show when tracking down a story is something the world needs more of right now.

In a time when the entire country seems so divided and people demand change and clarity, students can have a unique perspective on current events. If you’re in college, you’ve lived through two recessions, political and civil unrest, tragic terrorist attacks, national school shootings, multiple epidemics and one pandemic. You’re also probably struggling to figure out how to graduate debt-free when CUNY tuition is rising, but funding for students seems to be decreasing.

While this seems like a lot, take all of your stress, anxiety and anger and channel it into something positive. Vow to love and treat everyone equally. Learn more about people who don’t look like you or who have a different culture than you. Explore every tip and every lead that you get — it might lead to the best opportunity or project of your career.

Finally, forgive yourself if you don’t get it right all the time. We put so much pressure on ourselves while also having no idea who we are, so take the time to get to know yourself first. Listen to yourself when something doesn’t feel right or when you need to take a step back. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but I’m so glad that I did.

To the amazing staff that I leave behind — I am so, so proud of each and every one of you. This past semester did not go at all how we planned it to go and having to coordinate seven Ticker issues over video calls and texts is not the experience that I wanted each of you to have.

At the same time, I am so amazed by how everyone stepped up, whether you were on the staff for three years or for three weeks. We managed to continue working on our regular schedule and produce something each week for CUNY students, getting better and better at it as we went along.

You’ve all taught me so much. I came to the media suite with zero journalism or leadership experience, but I started learning things immediately. Whether it was studying media ethics, how to write a spicy headline, how to properly italicize and capitalize certain subjects or even how to coordinate 16 people into buying bus tickets at the same time, The Ticker provided me with lessons that go beyond any classroom.

There were definitely many things I wish I’ve done differently or that I wish we could have accomplished this year, but each week, I’m more and more amazed at the quality of our not-so little paper and the bonds we built along the way. I hope that two things will not go away as I pass the torch on to the 2020-2021 staff.

You guys now carry on the Ticker legacy, and you are all capable of doing so. Trust each other and communicate, first and foremost. You will spend hours with each other every week, so work together to keep making this the best college paper in existence. Cover hard news, soft news and news that you don’t think matter to anyone but you. Those usually end up being the best stories!

Don’t let anyone tell you what kind of editor or writer you should be — unless it’s for AP Style purposes — because you have to trust yourself to be successful at this job. Finally, please read, write and edit constantly. Stay informed on what’s going on in your school and in your world. You have the opportunity to make a difference with not just your actions, but also your words, so make them count. I will be cheering for you every day!

I will miss the media suite and Baruch. It’s my time to go, but the memories I have made in the past four years are something I will never let go of.

To all of the Bearcats and professors who have supported me through some very difficult moments, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me grow so much in a short period of time. I can’t wait to come back and visit.

To my lovely Ticker members, don’t hesitate to reach out, whether for guidance or just to chat. I am always on your side and I’m rooting for this paper, which is my baby. Thank you for being the craziest, most amazing school organization I had the privilege of leading. Stay safe everyone!