Column: The best stories happen unexpectedly, and the Chronicle is one of those stories in my book

By Anna Busalacchi, Co-Editor-in-Chief


Kayla Macedo

When I applied to be a reporter at the Chronicle, I told myself not to get my hopes up for the position. After all, I wasn’t even a journalism major and I knew the process was very competitive.

I had only one byline from a story I did in Associate Professor Curtis Lawrence’s “College Newspaper Workshop” course, which despite the COVID-19 challenges from the Fall 2020 semester, the class was a blast. And taking CNW was when I first began to see the possibility of pursuing journalism.

Now, as I take the time to look back on the past two years at the Chronicle as a reporter, managing editor and co-editor-in-chief, I realize how much I surprised myself beyond what I imagined possible.

I never imagined I would have the opportunity or the confidence to interview artists at major music festivals like Lollapalooza and Riot Fest, with one of my now best friends and former Co-Director of Photography Sofia Felino.

The Chronicle gave me a platform to report on things I was passionate about, like the Art of Banksy exhibit, controversial college policies, the college’s widely unknown history of the legendary 623 S. Wabash building and to follow the story of alum Danny Fenster’s detainment and eventual release in Myanmar, to name a few.

Reporting for the Chronicle became one of those magnetic things I was just naturally pulled to do, and there wasn’t much time to stop and realize how much I had learned, grown and accomplished from doing it until right now as I’m writing this goodbye letter.

Through reporting and editing, I was finally able to apply my passion for asking questions! Which is something my family knows all too well and has made note of since I was young, especially when I would ask questions nobody knew the answer to during movies. And after seeing a poster in my first-grade teacher’s class that read, “Albert Einstein asked questions,” that became my witty comeback that I stand by today.

After doing every interview that I was nervous about, I came out of it proud of myself, with the realization that I could do the things I was afraid of doing. But, I couldn’t have done it without the genuine support from my peers and advisers.

Working as managing editor alongside former co-editor-in-chief Camryn Cutinello, and current co-editor-in-chief Noah Jennings inspired me to push myself, even when I felt like I was going to fail. And I’m glad I spent my last semester working as co-editor-in-chief with Noah. I have so much respect for how long he has led the team to success.

Noah encouraged me when I questioned my abilities for the co-editor-in-chief role. I remember in the beginning he told me that above all in this role, you have to do what’s best for the staff and make sure they succeed, which I never forgot and truly admire the level of commitment and concern Noah has for everyone on staff.

Being co-editors-in-chief is a unique relationship of mutual understanding about the sacrifices we have to make for the paper, but knowing that all of our hard work will be 100% worth it in the end, and it was. Thank you Noah for your support and for sticking by my side throughout this rollercoaster.

Thank you General Manager Travis Truitt and Faculty Adviser Curtis, for encouraging me to pursue the managing editor role when I didn’t think I was ready for it. You both believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. By challenging me you have helped me grow not only as a journalist but as a person. You created space for me to try new things and I will never forget your kindness and patience throughout the process.

I just might call you in the future asking for your advice on a story, or if I need a clever pun for a headline.

Thank you Managing Editor Olivia Cohen, for being Noah’s and my right hand this past semester. We couldn’t have done it without you and I can’t wait to see the places you’ll go.

I didn’t exactly know what to expect from my experience at Columbia. But, I knew I wanted to take advantage of as many opportunities as I could. Through doing so I have met the most amazing mentors to that I am so grateful for. Thank you Professor Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, Associate Professor Anne Marie Mitchell, and Travis and Curtis, for your guidance during the ups and the downs in my college experience. You all were my motivators, my oil when I was running out of steam. I can only hope that I will meet more amazing role models like you all in the future.

The Chronicle is such a special chapter in my book and led me to meet some of my best friends. I have always preferred working with a team, and I wouldn’t trade the team at the Chronicle for anything. Thank you to every one of you. You all amaze me every time and I’m so proud of the work we have created together. You gave me a community I could depend on and relate to at a time when I was unsure about virtually everything else. I will be avidly reading all of the work you continue to produce and I know without a doubt your creativity will continue to impress and inspire me.

So, in saying goodbye to the amazing people at the Chronicle and at Columbia, I feel ready to surprise myself again. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that the best stories happen unexpectedly.