Features first-year Kaitlyn Wells talks all things Tufts Daily with former Executive Features Editor Amelia Becker

Kaitlyn Wells and Amelia Becker are pictured. Courtesy Neal Chan
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Senior Amelia Becker is a sociology and economics double major from Norwalk, Conn. The Tufts Daily has been lucky to have her as a veteran contributor, with nearly eight semesters under her belt. 

Amelia Becker (AB): I started my freshman fall writing for Features, so I’ve written and edited for Feats all four years, also serving as Feats [executive editor] for one semester. And then I also have done copy [editing] briefly and I worked on The Rewind podcast for one semester doing some audio recording.

Kaitlyn Wells (KW): Features? No way, me too! Well, hopefully the irony is coming through because this is not the first time that we’ve met … as a first-year rookie myself who joined the team last semester, I’m excited to learn more about you and your journey through the Daily. So, were you involved in any type of publication or media outlet before Tufts? 

AB: No, this was my first foray into doing any sort of journalism.

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KW: Given that there’s a variety of student publications on campus … why did you choose to get started with the Daily? 

AB: Freshmen fall, I kind of browsed around and the Daily really stuck out just for the number of options of … how I could get involved. And I think there’s just been some really important pieces of work that have been published through the Daily so I was excited to get more formal journalism experience. 

KW: Were there any … aspects that you found challenging when you were new to the Daily, and if so, did those challenges change over time? 

AB: Yeah, I am, by nature, a more shy person, so the idea of having to reach out and interview someone is kind of scary, but I also knew that it’d be a good thing for me … even now like four years later, [I have] a bit of nerves every time I’m interviewing someone.

KW: How would you describe the culture of the Daily?

AB: I feel like there’s a lot of really thoughtful people that want to cover what’s happening on campus in an intentional way, but also, people have fun with it. Especially Features, we [joke around a lot] … like the whole thing recently about Pini’s Pizza. We’re like, ‘Oh, my God, someone needs to talk about this’ … it’s a really cool community to be part of

KW: Definitely. I also really like how the Daily seems to be founded on [a] sense of mutual trust. Everyone trusts each other to take their responsibilities seriously, and because of that trust, we have the leeway to mess around a bit and get playful with things. Personally, I was expecting to face a lot of vetting to join a college newspaper. But that didn’t happen. There’s training, but I really love and appreciate how the Daily is very … embracing of any sort of interest or enthusiasm … and they see involvement as a learning process rather than … you having to prove yourself.

AB: Yeah, for my first article, they were just like, “Go for it,” which is scary at first; I was like, “I don’t know what I’m doing” … but also a lot of fun to learn as you’re going, and with each article, you learn something new.

KW: Speaking of articles, can you recall one or two of your favorite pieces that you’ve worked on?

AB: Well, [the] first article that I wrote was about the proposed [Native American and] Indigenous Studies minor. So I wrote that my freshman fall and it’s been pretty cool to see how the minor itself has evolved over my time here.

KW: That’s awesome … Okay, this is a big one: How has journalism impacted your life? 

AB: I think personally, it’s opened my eyes to like a different career path than like I initially expected … I’m not going into journalism after graduation… [but] I’ve thought more so about … writing as something that I want to do and [will] put in whatever career that I go into.

KW: And you were part of The Rewind podcast for a while. How was that experience different from Features and copy editing?

AB: I hadn’t done audio in any capacity, … so getting to see behind the scenes of how that works was a lot of fun. And I think it’s similar to Feats in a lot of ways, like the interview process, but … I feel like your voice comes through a bit more, [both literally and] in style, it can kind of flow a bit more than the structure of a Feats piece.

KW: Let’s imagine the Daily in 10 years time: What do you picture?

AB: I picture, similar [to now] in a lot of ways, a group of students being really excited about what they’re doing, being curious … And I think in the future, it will be cool to still have a physical paper but also, as we’ve started to do, expand into other things like video and audio and whatever the next thing [is] that journalism is diving into.  

KW: So you were the Feats exec during the pandemic, do you want to talk more about what that was like

AB: I think generally [being an executive editor is] a big time commitment but a fun experience. You have to schedule all the content and edit everything and work with a group of people but … [I was] figuring out how to support a group of people through [uncertain times].

KW: And when you were starting out in your Features executive editor role … how were you prepped for that? I’m curious about how the voice of the Daily is passed down to new leadership

AB: I was a bit apprehensive because I was a sophomore going into the role … so that was a little intimidating. It was also great because I had a lot of people … who had been writing for years before who could kind of help me through the ropes … My [executive editor] before me, Fina, was really great at helping me through.

KW: Do you ever feel the impact of the Daily being financially independent? Does that play into what we do? 

AB: Yeah, it’s not something I think about, which is kind of a good thing in that we have the freedom to write whatever we want to write. And so as I’m thinking of things that are interesting on campus, I’m not like, ‘Oh, can we say this?’ We’re able to make those editorial decisions because of that. 

KW: Is there anything else you’d like to chat about

AB: I mean, I love Feats. I am really happy to be part of the section and like, I feel kind of old now. But it’s been fun to see all the various iterations of it and the different people that have come and gone. … It’s also a lot of fun to learn what’s happening on campus. In a way … I feel like it’s easy to kind of be in your own bubble, and so forcing myself out of that a bit to see what’s happening and talk to people is a lot of fun. 

KW: I agree. Certainly, being a part of the Daily makes me feel very in the know, not only because we help each other out and discuss ideas for articles, but you kind of walk through the world with your ears open.

AB: Yeah … it’s cool to see how conversations reach a broader audience, and even if it is [a topic] that maybe you’re not as interested [in] or don’t know as much about [it] can then become more accessible to more people.

Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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