The Gatepost legacy lives on: Alumni reflect on the value of their Gatepost experiences
By Leighah Beausoleil, Emily Rosenberg, Steven Bonini, Sophia Harris, Tyler Wahl, Branden LaCroix
Phil LeClare ’94
Initially attending a larger journalism school, Phil LeClare found himself in the wrong place for his college experience.
Transferring to Framingham State, LeClare said the school was a better Kt for him because he wanted a college with a “community aspect.”
LeClare joined The Gatepost with the goal of becoming a journalist. He became Sports Editor and was elected associate editor and then ultimately editor-in-chief his senior year.
LeClare highlighted the key skills his Gatepost experience taught him.
He said The Gatepost “taught me about the business of journalism, and that it wasn’t just as simple as, you know, a person writes an article, a person gets published,” he said. “There were bigger lessons to be learned there about what the journalism industry was, what it looked like, and how it operated.”
LeClare said learning how a paper is managed and acquiring clips for his professional portfolio helped him not only to obtain a job at The Boston Herald after college, but also helped him do the job.
He said one of his roles at the Herald was to lay out a section of the paper – a skill Gatepost editors practice on a weekly basis.
Though LeClare said he is grateful for the skills he was able to hone on the paper, it was the team aspect of The Gatepost that he truly remembers.
“I learned there that it’s much easier to operate on a strong team with trusted people than it is to be on your own,” he said. “That was vital to me then and just as vital as to me today.
“I was working my butt off back then,” LeClare said. “I had a job. I was Editor-in-Chief. I was working on two or three stories a week and I was staying up on Thursday till three o’clock. I wasn’t being a college kid doing it. I was actually working. To do that and to do work that hard and not get paid for it, obviously – it really helps to be surrounded by people you like and who are talented and that you admire.”
Years later, he said he is still able to keep in touch with The Gatepost staff through Facebook.
As the principal of his own company, LeClare PR, LeClare works to help clients “drive brand awareness and leverage public relations to achieve tangible business results,” according to his LinkedIn. This includes handling media and analyst relations, social media, and content marketing.
Suzanne McDonald ’95
When Suzanne “Sue” McDonald came to Framingham State as a transfer student, she designed a major of her very own.
Not wanting to be an English major, McDonald opted into the Individualized Major Program, in which she could work with department chairs and chose which courses would benefit her as a journalist.
“It was hugely helpful in my career,” she said, explaining she was able to apply the knowledge she learned to the stories she covered, which gave her an advantage over other reporters who may not have gained those same experiences in regular journalism programs.
“I knew since the time I was 16 that I wanted to be a journalist,” McDonald said. As a high school student living in Germany, she wrote about witnessing the Berlin Wall coming down for her high school paper and won an award for her coverage.
“It just was one of those awakenings,” she said. “It really opened my eyes to what my talents are.”
Coming to FSU with a love for journalism, McDonald immediately joined The Gatepost and was elected opinions editor, and then news editor, before serving as editor-in-chief her senior year.
McDonald said one article she wrote investigated the impact of credit card solicitation in classrooms. This article helped introduce legislation that now bans advertising of credit card applications in classrooms at public institutions of higher education in Massachusetts.
“That really stands out as how journalism should work – you’re bringing awareness,” she said.
McDonald credits The Gatepost for giving her leadership and management skills that are hard to come by as a student, adding,“The Gatepost is the gateway to what real life is – what a real career is.
“I had in my resume for a very long time that at The Gatepost, I managed a staff of 40 unpaid college students to put out a newspaper every single week – not a lot of people can say that,” she said. “And understanding what drives them and how to help them reach their goals – that is huge.”
McDonald said, “The fact that the newspaper still comes out each week, still is having an impact, and still shaping the community of Framingham State and delivering through good times and bad is pretty spectacular – such an achievement.”
McDonald said her experiences at The Gatepost led to her obtaining her dream job at The Boston Globe. Today she owns and manages her own marketing company, “Angles and Insights,” which uses extensive marketing technology and knowledge to support and promote brands.
Brett Kerr ’96
One of the fondest memories Brett Kerr has from his time at The Gatepost was when the FSU rugby team stole papers from around campus because they were upset over an article critical of them.
He said after dropping off bundles of papers at May Hall, The Gatepost staff, watching from their office window, could see members of the team taking the whole press run. “They took the bundles because they didn’t want people to read the story,” he said.
Kerr, an English major who graduated in 1996, now works as a video production manager for Mimecast, a cybersecurity company, for which he shoots videos featuring the company CEO and “subject-matter experts” for its social media accounts.
Before that, Kerr worked in publishing for Pearson Education in Boston for 10 years.
Kerr first joined The Gatepost when he tagged along with his roommate, Chad Parenteau, ’96, to a meeting. He said he always had an interest in journalism, adding, “In fifth or sixth grade, I started my own newspaper, and I would sell it for like 10 cents at my elementary school.”
He remembered when the office upgraded its hardware to Macintosh LCs – a “big move,” according to Kerr – as they included Quark, an early iteration of layout software.
Before Quark, Kerr said students were formatting articles in Word to the dimensions of the paper and cutting them up to piece together on large boards brought into The Gatepost office. “It was just a mess, like ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ like all these scraps of paper all over the place,” he said.
Kerr became the layout editor for The Gatepost and much of what he learned from his experience, from layout design to editing and publishing, he carried into his career. “It kind of went full circle with journalism experience and design experience,” he said.
“I think it’s putting in that initial time and learning to work with each other” to produce a weekly newspaper “100% carries over into your first job,” he added. “And learning how to work with deadlines under pressure. That was more valuable than you know, studying ‘Beowulf.’”
Kerr still keeps in touch with his fellow staff members through Facebook, including Suzanne McDonal and his friend Parenteau.
Kerr said, “You don’t always find instant success right out of college. But, if you just keep at it, you’ll be ready for opportunities.”
Joe Murphy ’96
When Joe Murphy began working at The Gatepost, the paper could only be produced in black and white.
Murphy said when the editor-in-chief was able to produce a paper with color for the first time, it “was a big deal. Seeing that first issue in color and walking up to The Gatepost office and the editor-in-chief skipping toward me with a copy of the paper screaming, ‘It’s color! It’s color!’ – that was quite a memory.”
Murphy added he was the news editor during his time at The Gatepost.
He said serving in that role gave him the “ability to lead a team and to direct the content of the paper” – skills he values to this day.
Murphy said the leadership skills he developed in his role at The Gatepost prepared him for jobs post- college.
Currently a network engineer at Summit Partners, Murphy said a previous job required him to lead “a team of seven engineers across three different offices.”
Thanks to his time on The Gatepost, he was able to “stay focused, directed, and be a good example to people.”
In addition to soft skills, Murphy said The Gatepost gave him the technical skills he needed when he obtained his first job out of college working at a publishing company called Hispanex.
The Gatepost used the layout software QuarkXPress, which was exactly what the company used for book publishing, he said.
Murphy said he was able to quickly translate what he knew about newspaper layout to book layout because of his prior experience using the software.
“At Framingham State, I think working at The Gatepost was by far – and I was involved in other groups and other extracurricular activities – but it was by far the most valuable experience that I had, which I carried with me and helped me maintain some friendships for years and some connections that I could still turn to for networking purposes for my career,” he said.
Murphy added, “I certainly would say The Gatepost is definitely the highlight of my time at Framingham State.”
Steve Katsos ’96
From long late-night copy-edit sessions to layout mishaps, and even to The Gatepost being sued, Steve Katsos, editor-in-chief for Academic Year 1995-96, remembers it all!
“I must have gone to some club thing where all the clubs are represented by the leaders and I met Marianne D’Amico, who was the editor-in-chief at the time,” said Katsos.
D’Amico told him to check out the Gatepost and Katsos took her up on the offer.
“I thought it was a lot of fun,” he said.
At the time, Katsos said he was a commuter freshman – attempting a career in “television comedy.”
During his first semester, he remembers spending more time in The Gatepost office than anywhere else, adding, “I think for me, it was the group of people there I clicked with, and we enjoyed creating something once a week and it really ... was about creation and it was about working in media.”
Katsos recalls being the comedian of the group and remembers a moment when the sta? was told the paper was being sued and Advisor Desmond McCarthy asked him what he thought of the matter. Katsos said he replied by quoting “Star Trek” – “Data, engage warp factor 5.
“I definitely was the guy – it’s like three in the morning – I got up on the chair and started to sing rock ‘n’ roll songs to get the group back up because they’re all falling asleep. And they loved it,” he added.
One year, Katsos said The Gatepost was reporting on the selection of a new college president and the night the paper was sent to print, the vice president informed him the person selected for the position rejected the job – giving the second-choice candidate the position.
He said in that week’s issue, the vice president was quoted as saying the original person was the top choice, and he didn’t want the new person selected to open the paper that week and see her comments.
Katsos said he got in his car, called the publisher, and drove to where the paper was being printed, asking them not to print that issue so he could change the front-page article quotes.
“The vice president at the time was very thankful that we did that,” he added.
During his last week as editor-in-chief, Katsos said The Gatepost team saved up money to Knally have the paper printed in color, but because of this decision, he was only able to send Kve editors to that year’s conference and he decided not to attend.
“I didn’t go because we ran out of money and I’m like, ‘You know what? I want the color paper. I don’t care.’ I got what I wanted. So, I missed the conference because of that,” he added.
Katsos has held many jobs in media, including his own local television program called “The Steve Katsos Show.” He is currently the assistant business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 1228 union.
“My latest client was CBS News, and I just did the latest State of the Union address,” he said. “So, I was in DC for a week covering that event, and I was in the room where it happened.”
Lindsey Gardner ’06
With a dream to write for Rolling Stone some day, Lindsey Gardner began her time at The Gatepost writing music reviews.
From the arts section, Gardner made her way up to an associate editor position and ultimately to editor-in-chief by her senior year.
Initially entering FSU as an undeclared student, Gardner took the Introduction to Journalism course and was encouraged by The Gatepost’s Advisor, Desmond McCarthy, to join, which eventually led her to declare a major in English with a concentration in journalism.
Gardner said The Gatepost “gave me the tools to get all the jobs that I’ve had. It taught me time management, how to work on a deadline, how to handle stressful situations – all things I deal with on a daily basis professionally.”
She said though she did not stay in the journalism Keld after she graduated, the experiences she gained working at The Gatepost still benefit her, such as in her position as senior project manager for the Pearson Education Higher Education Department.
“We would be up till 4 a.m. sometimes,” she said. “I mean, those were some late nights, and you know, you’re not going out partying and like everyone else on a ‘Thirsty Thursday.’ We were all working our butts off.”
Gardner said her experience at The Gatepost helped her get a job at Channel 5 when she was still in college.
She said one of her favorite memories at The Gatepost was meeting and interviewing faculty, staff, and students she would not ordinarily have had the chance to interact with otherwise.
Gardner highlighted The Gatepost’s annual trip to the College Media Association conference in New York.
“They were so incredible,” she said. “Like getting to go to New York City is fun in itself with all your friends at the paper, but we got to learn from journalists all around the country and we would go to these seminars, and it was incredible.”
She said The Gatepost also gave her the opportunity to learn how to “handle stressful situations.”
Gardner said one memorable experience was when she co-wrote an article about the football team hazing, which led to a whole circulation of newspapers being stolen and Gardner herself getting threatened.
She said, “It was no joke – wicked scary.”
Brad Petrishen ’08
Looking back at his experience at The Gatepost, Brad Petrishen, editor-in-chief for Academic Year 2007-08, recalled many fond memories, including making new friends, interviewing the founder of The Gatepost, and even meeting “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville!
Petrishen was part of the English Club while at FSU and said a friend of his, who was both a member of the club and The Gatepost, invited him to be a staff writer.
“He was telling me, ‘You should come check out The Gatepost. It’s a lot of fun. See if you might be interested,’” said Petrishen.
Joining The Gatepost taught him the value of journalism and reporting, he said, adding it’s important to understand that the power of using one’s voice in journalism helps communicate ideas and advocate for others.
Petrishen said one of his most memorable experiences was having the opportunity to interview the founder of The Gatepost, Miriam Jagodnik Feldman, who formed the organization all the way back in 1932.
She was an “absolutely wonderful woman,” he said, adding, he, an associate editor, and Advisor Desmond McCarthy went and spoke with her at a retirement facility where she was living.
The interview was conducted for an article that was published in the Spring 2008 Semester.
Another memorable moment was when he had the opportunity to meet Johnny Knoxville, who was appearing on tour and reaching out to college newspapers for public relations.
“I remember we went to the Four Seasons in Boston where he was – myself and another editor,” he said. “I remember he was chucking Reese’s Pieces at his staff people – just being crazy. It was a good time.”
Petrishen said he and a few others got a photo with Knoxville and during the photo, the “Jackass” star pinched his nipple – a moment he’ll never forget.
The most important aspect of Petrishen’s time at the Gatepost he said, was working with advisor Desmond McCarthy, whom he called “The Godfather of The Gatepost.
“When he walks down the hall, that’s The Gatepost walking around,” he said. “Desmond is the engine of The Gatepost.”
Petrishen is currently working for the The Worcester Telegram and Gazette as an investigative journalist and he said going into his career, The Gatepost taught him how to think critically and take criticism.
“You’re basically a lifelong learner when you’re in this job,” he said. “That’s really valuable.”
Alex Smith ’08
When Alex Smith, associate editor for Academic Year 2007-08, worked for The Gatepost, she said she learned the importance of accurate reporting, camaraderie, and managing relationships with others.
Reminiscing about her time at The Gatepost, she said it was the lengthy hours spent Thursday nights putting the paper together to be sent to press that helped her understand what it meant to create a high-quality product.
“Even though we were up sometimes all night preparing the paper, there was such a high level of camaraderie with people supporting one another and checking each other’s work,” she said.
Smith recalled a breaking news story she worked on with a team of students regarding a bomb threat that occurred on campus.
“The college administration and campus police had held a meeting with us around a big conference table – like a press conference,” she said. “They recognized the importance of The Gatepost on campus to provide us with accurate information to report.”
She said with the help of campus leaders and the team’s ability to accurately investigate the situation, they were able to produce a well-reported article that went on to win a national Knalist award for breaking news coverage from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Smith said she always enjoyed attending the New York City College Media Association Conference during her time at The Gatepost.
“It was my first experience at a professional conference, and it was great to be among other student journalists from all types of colleges and universities and be able to support one another in our challenges,” she said.
Following her time at The Gatepost, Smith said she entered the field of communications and public affairs, adding, “I currently work in education administration. I do communications strategy and marketing for an education program.
“I previously worked in higher education, including one role where I was doing public relations and was the media spokesperson,” she said.
Smith said she received her master of arts in communication management from Emerson College in 2012 and is will complete a master of public administration (MPA) degree at Clark University in May 2022.
Writing for The Gatepost, she said, helped her in her career, especially by allowing her to create a valuable professional portfolio and understand the importance of communicating efficiently as well as providing accurate information when needed.
Smith said she still keeps in touch with friends she made while at The Gatepost, both on a personal and professional level.
Spencer Buell ’09
Ten years ago, Spencer Buell, ’09, led his staff in the publication of the 80th anniversary issue of The Gatepost.
“Getting to celebrate that with everyone was a great experience,” Buell said.
Buell was an English major with a concentration in journalism and is currently a senior staff writer at Boston Magazine.
Buell said he “jumped in right away” his freshman year, joining The Gatepost in 2005.
He said he held “a number of titles,” such as arts & features editor and news editor, adding, “I was an associate editor at some point, too, and my last two years, I was editor-in-chief.”
Buell said his time on The Gatepost was “invaluable” and a “great period of [his] life.
“It gave me an opportunity to not just learn how to write, but learn how to decide what makes for a good story and how to cover all different types of events and people,” Buell said.
When Buell started looking for jobs after college, it was “a pretty seamless transition” because what he planned to do “professionally, [he] had already done as a student journalist,” he said.
He said he values the skills he developed at The Gatepost because he uses them “every single day” in his career.
During his time on The Gatepost, Buell won first place in feature writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Region 1. Last year, he won a national magazine award for Best Online Column from the City Regional Magazine Association.
Working on The Gatepost taught him “tons” about his own limits, adding it builds confidence to overcome “what seems like an insurmountable challenge” and see it to the other side.
Buell said he enjoyed working in an environment of motivated people “who care about their work and really are willing to put in very long hours and very hard work in order to make something as close to perfect as they can get it week after week.”
He said it is “tough to just sort of isolate one moment.” However, The Gatepost taught him “to write impactfully about the campus and to go to all different types of events and meet people and work really hard with my friends until very late at night in order to make something that we were really proud of every week.”
Buell said he will always cherish what he learned at The Gatepost.
Madison Dennis ’10
Madison Dennis, ’10, was editor-in-chief of The Gatepost for Academic Year 2009-10. She now works for MAPFRE Insurance as a digital acquisition manager, where she finds different ways to “bring in new customers through digital channels.”
While taking a journalism course with Gatepost Advisor Desmond McCarthy, Dennis said she got involved with The Gatepost.
The experience Dennis gained from working at The Gatepost was invaluable to her time at FSU. “It was fun,” she said. “I got to be involved with other students and with the campus community.”
Dennis said what she learned as editor-in-chief stayed with her throughout her career, including managing staff, reviewing budgets, and preparing a product every week.
“The Gatepost gave me more of a head start for my career than probably other people I graduated with,” she said.
Her favorite memories of her time at The Gatepost were the late-night copy-editing sessions. “It was where I met a lot of my friends,” she said, “even though there were probably other things I would rather have been doing.”
Dennis advised students, “Take control of your time and get involved. Fill your calendar, diversify your interests, learn from the people around you and build up your resumé.
“What you get out of your time at FSU, like anything else, is a result of what you put into it.”
Lindsay Chase ’11
Lindsay Chase, an associate editor for Academic Year 2010-11, never had the intention of joining The Gatepost because she was shy, but with a good push to join the team from Professor of English and Gatepost Advisor Desmond McCarthy, she would soon learn the value of a college newspaper.
Chase said while taking an Introduction to Journalism class with McCarthy, she would “try to blend in with the walls,” but to no avail.
“Of course, Desmond notices everybody,” she said, adding he encouraged her to be a journalist for The Gatepost.
Chase said she gave into his request to join during her junior year, and she wrote for The Gatepost as a staff writer, working her way through leadership positions from News Editor to serving as Associate Editor.
During her senior year, Chase said she discovered she really enjoyed the copy-editing process.
“I loved reading other people’s articles and grabbing my red pen and my AP Stylebook and correcting people’s work, and telling them what they did wrong,” said Chase.
Eventually, she would become known as the “AP Style Queen” around the office, a title she said she loved and wished she received a “tiara” for.
After graduating from college, copy-editing would become Chase’s niche, as her first job would be as an editor for a company called “TechTarget.”
Chase got in touch with the company after an interview she conducted for The Gatepost with Patrick Laughran, chief information officer.
During the interview, he asked if she had a job lined up after college. She replied she said she did not, and he asked if she would be interested in interviewing for a job at TechTarget, a company where he had connections – she said she was.
Chase ended up working at the company for 10 years, first as a website editor and then as a copy editor.
Now, she’s working at a company called IANS, also as a copy editor, and she credits her Gatepost experience as her most valuable career asset.
“My entire resume was The Gatepost,” she said. “Without it, I don’t know what I would have done.”
Kaila Braley ’15
Joining The Gatepost in 2012, Kaila Braley, ’15, gained the confidence she needed to break out of her shell.
Shy in high school, Braley said she was empowered to run for editor-in-chief her senior year of college.
“Journalism forces you to put yourself out there,” she said.
“It was one of those experiences where the fear of doing it was the exposure therapy,” she added.
During her time at FSU, Braley was an English major with a concentration in journalism and now works as a studio and gallery manager at Local Pottery Studio and Gallery. She also teaches classes at Clay Lounge in Boston.
Braley said her career has taken a “little bit of a turn,” adding after graduation, she worked at a local newspaper.
Braley worked for GateHouse Media on the South Shore for three years.
“There were parts of it that I really loved and parts of it that were just a little bit too stressful for me to do forever.”
She said she joined The Gatepost after taking classes with Gatepost Advisor Desmond McCarthy along with “some other folks who were on the newspaper.” She added she was “really interested in the culture and the atmosphere” of The Gatepost.
“One of the things I really loved about it was it gave me a way to grow as a person,” she said.
Braley learned the importance of “being aware of the way your work impacts people,” adding, The Gatepost taught her to ask the question, “Is the work I’m doing helping people or helping the world in some way?”
She said she has a lot of fond memories from her time at The Gatepost, but the trips to the New York City College Media Association were some of her favorites.
Braley said she is still in touch with McCarthy as well as a “handful” of people from The Gatepost.
She said what she learned at The Gatepost will follow her through any vocation because of how universal the skillset is. As an example, she highlighted the importance of clear communication at her current job.
Lauren Campbell ’15
Lauren Campbell, ’15, graduated with an English major with a concentration in journalism. She is a Content Editor for NECN – one of the largest New England Sports media teams in the area.
Campbell originally joined The Gatepost after speaking with the paper’s advisor, Desmond McCarthy. She explained to him that she planned to cover Boston sports in the future, and he encouraged her to start writing that week as a staff writer in the sports section.
She said she eventually worked her way up to assistant sports editor and ultimately took over the position of sports editor after her previous Gatepost colleagues in that section graduated.
“It was a crazy, crazy time because sports were going on just about every day and it was just me as the sports editor,” she said.
Although Campbell recalled how stressful writing for the paper could be at times, she also said learning to manage the pressure was helpful when she transitioned into her career.
She added, “I think The Gatepost has really helped me. We were able to cover the sports on site and we could go right to the athletes and the coaches after the game. Getting that raw reaction from the game or that big story is something that you actually get to experience at a smaller state school.”
Campbell currently covers the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox games and frequently conducts interviews with the teams’ players and coaches.
She said, “You kind of have to go with the sow – nobody is guiding you. That’s what I have to do on some nights. Jake Debrusk [Boston Bruins Right Wing] wouldn’t talk to us for about four months. But, I still had to find a way to make that happen. You get that experience with Framingham State because you have to work on the fly and guide yourself. I’m forever grateful for that.”
Campbell had trouble pinning down a favorite memory from The Gatepost at first, but eventually settled on a specific long Thursday night in the office.
“Our section was laid out. We were waiting for it to get looked over. And we all just layed on the floor. Desmond walked in and jokingly offered some pillows, too. That night really sticks out to me,” Campbell said.
Campbell is still good friends with previous Sports Editors Matt Cook, ’14, and Jess Thomas, ’14, and said she continuously uses her skills from The Gatepost in her everyday work life.
Melina Bourdeau ’16
From her experience at The Gatepost alone, Melina Bourdeau, ’16, obtained a reporting job right after college and now edits two newspapers.
Bourdeau was an English major and is the editor of the Belchertown Sentinel and the South Hadley Town Reminder.
She said she had no interest in journalism her freshman year of college, but was encouraged to join The Gatepost by Kaila Braley, ’15.
Bourdeau was hesitant about joining The Gatepost at first after hearing a “rumor on the street that once you join, you never leave,” but joined her spring semester of freshman year.
She said The Gatepost gave her a “jumping-off point” and “a little bit of an edge over some other folks,” because she had the experience and “the opportunity to dip [her] toes into every beat” while working on The Gatepost.
“Nowadays, you kind of have to be a jack of all trades in journalism,” she said.
Bourdeau said she learned what she was capable of on The Gatepost.
“Mostly that I was capable of doing journalism. I never took a formal class on journalism while I was at Framingham, and I was still able to get a job in journalism,” she said.
Bourdeau said her favorite memories from her time at The Gatepost were the “shenanigans.
“You don’t remember every single issue, but you remember walking in and finding the person who’s the associate editor sleeping under their desk at four in the morning,” she said.
Bourdeau said she values the “lifelong friendships” she made through The Gatepost.
She is still in touch with one of the photographers from the photo section, a features editor, and the associate editor from her senior year, she said.
Bourdeau said she values the advisors of The Gatepost as well, adding, Assistant Advisor Liz Banks “is a phenomenal human being. Soak up everything you can from that woman. She is so smart.”
Alex Gomes ’17
When she first came to FSU, Alex Gomes intended to become a teacher. However, she said, “I took a couple of teaching classes and I figured out that that most definitely wasn’t going to happen.” It was then that she changed her concentration to journalism after remembering how much she enjoyed journalism classes during high school.
She said when she met with English Professor Desmond McCarthy, he said, “If I wanted to get involved in journalism, I was going to have to join The Gatepost.”
Gomes worked her way up through the ranks of the Gatepost, serving as a news editor, then associate editor, before ultimately becoming editor-in-chief.
Gomes is the marketing manager for MCR Labs, a cannabis testing company in Framingham. Before that, she worked for The Sun Chronicle covering news in Foxboro.
She admitted she was intimidated when she first joined The Gatepost. “Having your work edited by your peers in real time, face-to-face, can be intimidating at first,” she said. “It was really scary for me.”
However, she was able to overcome her anxiety, and the kindness and excitement of her fellow staff members helped her to stay.
Her experience as editor-in-chief taught her invaluable management skills, along with learning layout design, how to take photos, and become a better writer. “Becoming a multi-tool, which is what happens when you’re at The Gatepost, is super beneficial when you’re in the working world,” she said.
She said The Gatepost also helped her in her job search. “It was very clear that I had a variety of skills that they [employers] could utilize – I didn’t just know how to write.”
One of the highlights of her time at The Gatepost was the annual trips to New York for the College Media Association conferences, where she could “network and interact with other student journalists who had the same priorities and career goals.”
Her advice to those who are thinking of joining The Gatepost is simply, “100% join and do it.”
Cesareo Contreras ’18
When Cesareo Contreras was a junior in high school, he knew he wanted to be a writer. After getting a laptop for Christmas, he took an interest in technology blogs and news sites such as CNET and The Verge.
“I was like, ‘Wow. I really want to do this when I get older,’” he said.
When searching for colleges to attend, Contreras visited FSU and during a discussion with Gatepost Advisor Desmond McCarthy, he learned about The Gatepost. “That was really exciting to me,” he said. “I decided I wanted to go to Framingham State. I wanted to join The Gatepost.”
Contreras was editor-in-chief during his final year at FSU. After graduating in 2018, he worked as a reporter for The MetroWest Daily News before moving on to his current job as an associate editor for Robotics 24/7, a technology-news website.
Contreras said his time at The Gatepost was valuable because “it really teaches the bare essentials of what journalism is,” from conducting interviews, to assembling the facts, to writing and editing the story.
He added his experience at The Gatepost brought him “out of his comfort zone,” but it was something he “appreciated,” because it helped prepare him for his career.
“Being at The Gatepost and publishing articles makes you a professional journalist,” he said.
During his time at The Gatepost, Contreras was a Mark of Excellence Knalist for feature writing for the Society of Professional Journalists for an article about FSU’s Innovations Center.
During his time as editor-in-chief, The Gatepost was named the second runner-up for New England College Newspaper of the Year by the New England Society of News Editors Association in 2018. “To be recognized for those awards felt really good,” he said. “And it felt like recognition for all the hard work I did and everyone at The Gatepost does.”
Contreras said he is still in touch with the friends he made at The Gatepost, including Alex Gomes, ’17, and Bailey Morrison, ’19, who succeeded him as editor-in-chief.
For people who are on the fence about joining The Gatepost staff, Contreras said, “Just try it out” by starting small and writing a review or covering an event.
“Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to produce something amazing because it’s going to be published. Just give it a shot.”
Allison Wharton ’18
Allison Wharton, assistant arts & features editor for Academic Year 2017-18, is now a marketing specialist at Aspen publishing, but she attributes her experiences writing for The Gatepost for helping her develop her work ethic.
Wharton said while her life as a student was filled with essays and exams, writing for The Gatepost was something she chose to do, which forced her to take “accountability for something other than school.
“It was also just having other people rely on me to get a job done,” she said. “People relied on me to go to an event. To cover an event. To write the article – to have it done on time. It was one of the first times where that was done outside of school.”
Wharton had her reservations about joining The Gatepost initially.
Because she was an English major, Gatepost Advisor Desmond McCarthy was the head of the
department and her advisor, she said.
“Every time we would meet, he would be like, ‘Come to The Gatepost. You need to join – it’s a great opportunity. I think you would really like it.’ And I was just being stubborn,” she said. “I didn’t think that was for me. I just didn’t think that that was the match or where I wanted to go with my career.”
During her junior year, Wharton said she Knally caved and decided to join. Even though she wasn’t sure it was the right career path for her, she said it would at least be a good resume builder.
Nonetheless, she said she enjoyed her time at the newspaper and recalled writing many articles at 10 p.m. on a Thursday night because something fell through when an article didn’t work out or something needed to be added to that night’s layout.
“Those moments are really what I treasure the most,” she said.
Wharton said the experience she gained at The Gatepost taught her to appreciate accountability and punctuality.
“Some people are very surprised that those are still traits that people have,” she said. “Getting the job done, no matter what it takes” is something she learned at The Gatepost.
Bailey Morrison ’19
Bailey Morrison, ’19, was an English major with a concentration in journalism at FSU and is currently an associate managing editor at Wiley Publishing.
Morrison said she joined The Gatepost her freshman year because she “was looking for an opportunity to hone [her] writing skills and also get more involved in the community.”
She quickly advanced from her freshman year position of assistant news editor to editor-in-chief her senior year.
Morrison said she values the “opportunity” she had “to engage with the campus community” while on The Gatepost and the “important” connections with administrators and sta? she formed.
Morrison said her favorite memories were made with her two best friends, Jillian Poland, ’19, and Andrew Willoughby, who were associate editor and arts & features editor on The Gatepost.
She said, “Our friendships were really forged in the fires of The Gatepost,” adding they are still her “best friends to this day.”
Morrison said the relationships she formed at The Gatepost are really important to her, adding Advisor Desmond McCarthy and Assistant Advisor Liz Banks are even invited to her wedding next year.
“What I have now is because of the time and commitment I spent with The Gatepost and it gave me the opportunity to work with people like Desmond and Liz.
“And while you can learn so much in a classroom, I feel like the stuff that I experienced and learned through The Gatepost – through interacting with everyone on the campus and learning as much as I could through that experience – is what really made college memorable to me,” she said.
Morrison said her time at The Gatepost taught her commitment and helped her get an internship and ultimately a job at Wiley, where she is currently working.
Jillian Poland ’19
Jillian Poland, ’19, who works as a program and enablement lead at Wiley Publishing, remembers her time at the Gatepost as an impactful college experience.
She was brought to The Gatepost her sophomore year by Bailey Morrison, ’19, and started as a staff writer for the news section.
By the end of her college career, she was an associate editor working with Morrison, her best friend, who was editor-and-chief.
Poland said what she values most from her Gatepost experience, other than the “social aspect,” is th “practical skills” she learned.
She said she is grateful for skills she was “able to take forward in [her] career, jobs, and internships.”
Poland also learned collaboration, effective communication, time management, and trust during her time at The Gatepost, adding working as a team taught her “group collaboration and understanding how to help people and when to leave people alone.”
Poland said she is still in touch with her team members from The Gatepost.
“I live with my old editor-in-chief, so we’re very much in touch. We also work together in the same department of a company. So we see each other a lot,” she said.
Poland said she is still in contact with Andrew Willoughby, Cesareo Contreras, ’18, and said Gatepost Advisor Desmond McCarthy checks in with Morrison and herself “about once a month.”
She said her favorite memory from her time at The Gatepost was after a long night in the office working on a double issue.
She and Morrison came out of the McCarthy Center not knowing that it had been snowing all night and when Morrison took a step out of the building, “she fell and knocked me down. We were falling down the hill together.”
She added, “It was, at the time, the biggest riot in the world and the funniest thing.”
Poland also recalled being in The Gatepost ofice late on Thursday nights, “taking a break at midnight” and being “hovered around a computer” waiting for new releases of Taylor Swift’s music because “a lot of the staff were Taylor Swift fans.”
She said she had a “leg up” in her career because of the “practical experience” she gained at The Gatepost.
Lizzy Stocks ’19
Lizzy Stocks expressed her love for writing at The Gatepost by writing columns on topics such as Taylor Swift getting political.
As an English major with a journalism concentration, Stocks wrote for every section, but truly found her voice in the Opinions section, where she was editor for two years and a staff writer her last semester.
She joined because she knew writing was her passion, but didn’t know what “avenue to take,” and having friends who were already photographers and writers for the paper inspired her to join.
Stocks has been employed for two months as an editorial coordinator at Harvard Business Publishing.
She said right now, she only edits for Harvard Business Publishing, but hopes soon she will be able to write more because those who hired her are aware she is a talented writer.
Stocks said her experience using Adobe Indesign, the software The Gatepost uses to create layout, was a big reason why she was hired as it was an “invaluable” part of her resumé.
She said one of the biggest things she learned from The Gatepost was to open up. It could be
“painstaking” trying to grab people’s attention to talk to her and answer questions for the weekly Campus Conversations, but it taught her to open up more and talk.
“I valued my ability to grow as a writer and as a human,” she said. “I learned so much about what’s happening close to you, and what’s happening far from you, and then you learn so much about what’s happening inside of you, too.”
Stocks earned three Society of Professional Journalists awards – twice for her columns and once for The Gatepost Editorial. She said though she had advisors and fellow editors who cheered her on, it was “inspiring” to have her work honored by the organization.
“Sometimes as a writer you want to write but you may not know how, so it was definitely encouraging and inspiring and validating ... like I really can do this and someone else thinks so and it’s not just Desmond,” she said.
Robert Johnson ’20
For Robert “Robbie” Johnson, ’20, The Gatepost was vital in establishing friendships he cherishes to this day.
“As the months passed, and years passed, ... I began to see them all as my family – both the higher-ups and individuals who were staff writers,” he said. “They all began to take up a big place in my heart. And they still do today.”
He said he is still in touch with several people from The Gatepost, but “most importantly, Desmond and Liz,” he added.
During his time at FSU, Johnson was an English major with a concentration in journalism, and is currently a tutor at Codman Academy, a charter school.
He said what drew him to The Gatepost was “the vibe of The Gatepost and the opportunity to write on my own terms as opposed to someone else’s terms,” he said.
Johnson said he started as a staff writer his sophomore year and then advanced to assistant arts & features editor, graduating as arts & features editor with colleague Brennan Atkins, ’20.
Johnson recalled writing two columns for The Gatepost, VRam, “which focused on video games and technology,” and Robbie’s Comic Corner.
He said it’s difficult to pick just one memory from his time on The Gatepost, but his favorite was going to the New York City College Media Association conference in March 2019.
Along with attending the journalism seminars, Johnson said the editorial sta? “went to restaurants, went to new places, peeked around shops,” and “explored all over the place.”
He said the writing and research experience he learned on The Gatepost has followed him throughout his career, adding he keeps all of the skills he learned from The Gatepost in his “back pocket.”
The most important opportunity Johnson said he had while on The Gatepost was covering events at FSU and learning about “different cultures and different ways of life” – something he would not have been exposed to if it was not for The Gatepost.
He said he learned to “overcome his shyness” through interviewing, which pushed him to get out of his comfort zone.
Johnson added he resects on his time on The Gatepost nostalgically and said it was something he will “forever cherish.
“I’m just really glad The Gatepost, 90 years later, is still teaching journalists and the student body and everyone else alike. There are all these experiences that are happening in the world – some of them even closer than you think. So you might as well go out there and experience them, especially if they’re somewhere on your campus.”