TPN says ‘so long’ to senior editors

By The Pitt News Staff, The Pitt News Staff

It’s been a long year — though for these editors, time has flown by. Though we’re sad to say goodbye to six editorial board members, we’re grateful for all the memories we made during our time together and the positive impact they had on the paper and their peers. 

Martha Layne, News Editor // Betul Tuncer and Punya Bhasin, Assistant News Editors

Martha is the backbone of the news desk. She’s been at The Pitt News for three years as a writer and editor, and has consistently shown just how dedicated, hardworking and kind she is — especially when she stepped up to become head news editor over winter break. 

While this position came with a lot of responsibility and commitment, being the amazing person she is, Martha rose to the challenge. Not only was she tasked with a bigger leadership role, she also had to train two new assistant news editors — us. With her kind and thoughtful personality, Martha did just that and more, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone on the news desk. 

Martha has also been vital to the future success of the news desk. Her meticulous training helped both editors and writers succeed in their jobs. She’s even won this year’s “Best Boss” superlative, which she definitely deserved. 

Martha’s bubbly personality and impeccable fashion taste will be greatly missed next year. But we know she’ll be successful in her career as an operations analyst at BNY Mellon in Pittsburgh.

Martha Layne, News Editor. (Pamela Smith | Visual Editor)

Jon Moss, Editor-in-chief // Rebecca Johnson, Managing Editor

One of my favorite Jon memories is when Joe Biden won the presidency in November 2020. Jon, who faithfully spent days glued to CNN and Steve Kornacki, slept through the morning announcement that we had a new president — and didn’t wake up until approximately 3 p.m. I promptly sent him the surprised pikachu meme when he finally responded to my texts about all the work we had to finish, which, needless to say, he didn’t appreciate. 

The crazy thing about this story, and why it’s so funny for me to relive, is because it’s so out of character for Jon. Jon has worked at TPN for four years, two of which he spent as editor-in-chief. This makes him, in his own words, a “TPN lifer.” He’s written award-winning work in his time, including exclusive interviews with Pitt’s chancellor, an expose on deficient bridges in Oakland and compelling data journalism on declining Black student enrollment at Pitt. He’s also designed new, cutting-edge web designs, graphics and layouts for the paper, and has even pulled an all-nighter covering a tumultuous Student Government Board election.

But anyone who’s seen his byline knows that Jon is a talented reporter. What you may not know is that Jon is a great teacher. When I joined TPN during my first year, I didn’t know anything about journalism. Everything I know now is thanks to him. He’s dedicated so much time to helping me and countless other reporters and editors at TPN flourish, which is a sacrifice I can’t possibly thank him enough for. 

While I’ll definitely miss Jon’s editing skills and our nightly ritual of me attempting to explain pop culture references to him, I’m so excited to read his byline in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this summer and wherever he lands next. Congrats on your well-deserved TPN retirement! 

Editor-in-Chief Jon Moss at his desk in The Pitt News office. (Clare Sheedy | Assistant Visual Editor)

Nate Kohler, Multimedia Editor // Jaimé Ely, Senior Staff Videographer

When I first began my time in the multimedia department at The Pitt News, I was extremely nervous. I worried about whether I would do a good job and if I knew enough to be a helpful part of the team. When Nate held the first multimedia meeting I attended in January 2021, that anxiety began to melt away. 

Nate provided a safe space for me to experiment with video production, and helped me bloom into a confident videographer. Whenever I had a question, he was there to answer it, and whenever I made a mistake, he was there to gently guide me to help correct it. Without him, I don’t think I would have developed such a passion for videography, and I’m certain that I wouldn’t have achieved as much as a staff member, including shooting a video that spread nationally.  

The thing about Nate is that he never takes responsibility for the department’s success. He always celebrates his staffers’ success, selflessly omitting his role in every video released. Nate always made me feel supported, and I knew I could rely on him at TPN. I hope to take the same care and support Nate showed us, and provide it for next year’s multimedia staff when I’m editor. I hope I’m half as good of a boss as Nate.

It’s extremely sad to see him graduating this year, but I am certain he is going to do great things in his life. Congrats Nate, and thank you!

Riley Kleemeier, Copy Chief // Jane Patz, Assistant Copy Chief 

Riley is the best copy chief an assistant copy chief could ask for. I can always count on her to answer a 10 p.m. text on her night off because I can’t remember whether we’re able to print the word “f—” in a news column if it’s part of a quote. In fact, I texted her just now to fact check this rule so her senior send-off would be up to Pitt News standards. “Yes just bleep it out. F—,” Riley Kleemeier said in response. 

I have many fond memories to look back upon with Riley, like our Copy Chief Cocktail nights and that time she almost gave me COVID right before Thanksgiving break. She’s smart, funny and a really great copy chief. I have no doubt I will one day see her name on the New York Times bestsellers list, and I can say, “Wow, I know her! She almost gave me COVID in college!” and then buy 15 copies.

Riley is graduating with a famously employable English literature and writing degree. She will make all of us at The Pitt News proud when she continues her copy editor duties as the digital content manager for a publishing company in June, but we’ll miss her around the office. 

Riley Kleemeier, Copy Chief. (Clare Sheedy | Assistant Visual Editor)

Shruti Talekar, Layout Editor // Pamela Smith, Visual Editor

Shruti will be sorely missed at The Pitt News. For the last year and a half, she’s contributed amazing layout for our print edition every week and tirelessly worked on our Silhouettes magazine. For all of her four years at Pitt, she’s been a skilled and reliable illustrator, taking on a lot of last-minute illustrations and covers, and pretty much single-handedly supporting the visuals desk through some tough deadlines.

Every Tuesday evening Shruti and I would discuss the print cover and check over visuals. Shruti always contributes thoughtful and creative ideas to our discussions, putting up with a lot of my overly ambitious layout ideas and executing them better than anyone else. When we were finishing the “ACC Champ-yinz” cover, Shruti patiently went through about 30 different shades of blue and gold for the font, moving the text back and forth three pixels at a time. Of course, when Shruti discovered a different, more eye-catching text layout, we finally finished our cover. 

Shruti will graduate with a psychology degree and attend Duquesne University for graduate school, where I’m sure she will continue to do and create great things. Congratulations, Shruti!

Shruti Talekar, Layout Editor. (Pamela Smith | Visual Editor)

Stephen Thompson, Sports Editor // Dalton Coppola, Assistant News Editor

Stephen Thompson leaves behind a legacy. He spent four years serving the sports desk as an editor and writer, and he’s followed the men’s basketball team through all of its highs and lows. Anyone who reads Stephen’s work is quick to notice his gift for writing. He spins boring and mundane game recaps into riveting scripts. His player profile stories go much further than the court and tell the true story of the person behind the player. His columns are well thought out and profound, while staying away from the cliches that even the most prolific writers fall victim to. But what most of you don’t know is that Stephen is an even better person than he is a writer.

Stephen took a first-year writer like myself under his wing when he didn’t have to. He was graduating in a year and all he needed to do was write his own stories. But he didn’t do that. He showed not just me, but all of our writers, how to be a professional, how to write and how to be a better person.

While I won’t miss his Boston sports fandom, I will miss sharing an office with Stephen. The sports desk will never be the same without him. I speak for all of his co-workers, writers and friends when I say that we will miss him dearly at Pitt. I can’t thank Stephen enough for everything he’s done for me personally and for our newspaper. I’m so excited to watch Stephen flourish as a sports writer and professional going forward. But if there’s one thing I hope Stephen takes with him, it’s that the Red Sox will always be the Yankees’ little brother. Cheers to you, Stephen.

Stephen Thompson, Sports Editor. (Clare Sheedy | Assistant Visual Editor)