The Tower, Catholic University’s independent student newspaper, elected its 128th editor in chief for the upcoming academic year on Thursday, April 22. After speeches from two candidates and one round of voting, junior media and communication studies and Spanish for international service double major Noelia Veras was confirmed as the next editor.
Veras, who hails from Orlando, Florida, has been writing for The Tower since her second week as a Catholic University student. She published her first short story in high school, but only began to view writing as a viable career option when she joined The Tower. Veras has interned at both Latin American News Digest and the Hispanic Communications Network, and served as the arts and entertainment editor for the 2019-2020 academic year, after which she assumed the role of managing editor for the past publication year.
“The Tower is an independent student newspaper, as we all know, and the identity of The Tower is built by the work and ethical journalism of the students behind it,” said Veras in her speech to the staff. “We belong to a legacy dating back to 1922 of a diverse set of voices and student writers. I know The Tower very well, I’ve studied past publications, spoken with Tower alumni, and built relationships with [past editors in chief] that have helped me understand The Tower in all of its facets.”
127th Editor in Chief Jessica Fetrow sees bright prospects for The Tower under Veras’ leadership. Under Fetrow’s guidance, The Tower increased both readership and staff size, produced merchandise items, and won the Office of Campus Activities’ Arts and Media Organization of the Year, leaving a strong foundation for Veras to build upon. As managing editor, Veras and Fetrow collaborated on a complete redesign of the Tower website, as well as published stories over the summer for the first time in Tower history.
“Noelia is genuinely one of the most valuable assets that The Tower has,” said Fetrow. “She’s constantly brainstorming new ideas for how to adapt and improve the organization and has been an absolute joy to work with. I’m so proud of her and the rest of the organization and can’t wait to see what The Tower’s future has in store under her leadership.”
As editor in chief, Veras has a three-pronged approach to improving the publication: to “improve the internal operations of the publication, increase engagement with [the] audience, and ensure its ongoing legacy.”
To achieve these, Veras plans to hold more team-building events, expand the editorial board with new positions, breach new modes of journalism, and begin a mentorship program. She hopes that her changes leave The Tower well-prepared for long-term success.
“From the first semester Noelia was on our staff I knew she would be editor in chief someday – she has always shown a committed interest in learning about the mechanics of The Tower, a careful attention to details, and a high standard for writing excellence,” said Katie Ward, the 126th editor in chief. “It has been an honor to be on a staff with her and learn from her. I am so excited to see all the ways she will help The Tower grow next year.”