Roll the Credits

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Published June 17, 2020
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The Montclarion
Mackenzie Robertson graduated from Montclair State University as part of the class of 2020. Alex Kitchmire | The Montclarion

If I were to turn to my freshman self and tell her everything she had accomplished in four years at Montclair State University, she probably wouldn’t believe me. For starters, I ironically never wanted to get into journalism and always saw myself working in broadcast television. It’s safe to say my views have changed.

My sophomore year, I found myself in Tara George’s news reporting course. One of our first assignments was to cover something happening on campus and I had my first article published in The Montclarion, “Students Say T-Pain is T-Lame.”

Not too much later I found myself in Professor Tom Franklin’s multimedia toolkit course where Haley Wells, former editor-in-chief of The Montclarion, visited to talk about the paper’s new video team and the need for a video editor.

Robertson directed and produced a documentary film addressing life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders.

Robertson directed and produced a documentary film addressing life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

It wasn’t long before I interviewed for the position and was hired. Looking back on it, I had no idea how impactful that moment was.

I spent my junior year building a video team from nothing and shifting the paper to a more multimedia-friendly organization.

I reconnected with Annabel Reyes, who I went to high school with, and she quickly became my assistant. I still don’t know what I would have done that year without her and I am proud of all the work she has done for our video team. Thank you for everything you have done for me and the video team. I still have your Robin Williams card from last year sitting on my desk!

My entire video team consisted of Annabel, Adrian Maldonado and myself. Despite being a small team, we succeeded in winning two state awards for Online Video and two for Web Project.

Adrian and I quickly became friends and he was always ready and available to help me with a new video project. Thank you for always bringing your creative energy to meetings and being a shoulder to lean on. I’ll see you on Animal Crossing!

During the semester, I worked on a video for an article being written by Dominique Evans, former managing editor for The Montclarion. Dominique and I clicked so well and were able to bounce creative ideas off of each other. I am thankful for her.

Robertson interviews the Councilman of Philadelphia for her documentary film on juvenile justice. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Robertson

Robertson interviews the Councilman of Philadelphia for her documentary film on juvenile justice.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

I’ll never forget the day Haley pulled me into the business office to tell me she wanted to promote me to managing editor; I actually thought she was going to fire me. When I found out Heather Berzak was going to be the editor-in-chief and I her managing editor, I was excited and scared. I had no idea what the new position was going to bring and I didn’t know Heather all too well.

Becoming managing editor has been one of the best things to come out of my time at Montclair State. I have made lifelong friends and met many inspiring people in my field. While I can’t name everyone, there are a few people who have really impacted me during my time here.

It wouldn’t feel right leaving without thanking Haley and Dominique for believing in me. This wasn’t always an easy job, but I felt so prepared because of your hard work and the foundation you built for Heather and I to take over. You have inspired me to be relentless in my storytelling and to be fair and accurate in the way I report. Thank you.

Of course, Tara George. You always are there when I am in need of advice and you have put all of your faith in me this year. I have learned so much from you and appreciate all that you do for our staff and the paper.

To the new video queen Brielle Wyka, I know Annabel has taught you well and I am excited to see all the new things you bring to the video team. This team feels like my baby and I wouldn’t trust anyone else but you to build it into something great. I know you will do amazing things!

Heather Berzak, editor-in-chief, and Robertson post with a national award from the Associated Collegiate Press. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Robertson

Heather Berzak, editor-in-chief, and Robertson pose with a national award from the Associated Collegiate Press.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

My queen Heather, you have become someone I can rely on wholeheartedly and have always been there to help me out. Working alongside you has been one hell of a ride and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. From our first assignment of picking up sweatshirts (three times) to bonding on our Washington D.C. trip, I hold all our adventures close to my heart. I can’t wait to see you again and work on more projects with you in the future. Thank you for, yet again, another headline.

Robertson, Olivia Kearns and Alexa Spear pose in their way to Philadelphia, PA to work on a documentary film. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Robertson

Robertson, Olivia Kearns and Alexa Spear pose on their way to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to work on a documentary film.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

To Alexa Spear, words are not enough to describe how much you have done for me this year. You have always been so reliable and inventive, from brainstorming new sequence ideas to spending 12 hours in the office trying to edit the first cut of this film. We have created something great and I thank you for all the hard work you have put into my film that you believed in.

Robertson and Thomas Neira pose in Key West during a travel journalism course the summer. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Robertson

Robertson and Thomas Neira pose in Key West during a summer travel journalism course.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

To the new managing editor taking my place, Thomas Neira, I am so proud of you. You have proved yourself to go above and beyond this year and I have seen a lot of growth from you from September until now. I am grateful that I get to see my Key West buddy move up in leadership. I know you will be a fantastic leader and do an amazing job next year.

And of course, Jen Losos, what better way to fulfill your copy queen duties? I am proud of you and I have confidence that you will steer this team in the right direction next year. I know the future holds many uncertainties at the moment, but I have faith you and Thomas will continue to help raise The Montclarion to the top. You got this!

The Montclarion staff visited the Newseum in Washington, D.C. as a part of the College Media Convention in November. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Robertson

The Montclarion staff visited the Newseum in Washington, D.C. as a part of the College Media Convention in November.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

To my entire staff, I am so proud of everything you have accomplished. To use Tara’s words, we have truly rose to the occasion and turned the paper into something great this year, despite a global pandemic. I will miss you all so much and I hope that next semester will prove to be more normal and everyone can go back to watching jeopardy together on Wednesday nights!

Thank you guys for everything, it was an honor to be your managing editor. Go win some more state and national awards next year!

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