By Kaydee Donohoo & Jessie Kuenzel
“After graduation, even though I majored in Computer Science, I have become increasingly interested in a career in journalism,” said senior Katie Sittig-Boyd, co-Editor-in-Chief of the Simmons Voice. “My professors have been encouraging, and it’s a field I find that I’m really drawn to. Journalism is a lot more people-focused and people-driven than a lot of CS experiences that I’ve had, and being able to seek out stories that haven’t been told yet feels really powerful.”
Since joining the Voice staff, Katie has become the newspaper’s greatest advocate, one of its most prolific writers, and by far the most multitalented editorial board member the paper has seen.
Although her role at the paper now encompasses a wide range of responsibilities—from talent scouting to writing editorials—Katie’s start at the Voice came about in a rather untraditional way.
When applying and touring colleges, she’d pick up a paper to see what the vibe of the campus was. When looking at the Simmons Voice, Katie noticed a lot of typos. Once she arrived at the school as a first year, she took it upon herself to “approach the staff and ask to be a copy editor.” Katie remained a copy editor and staff writer for four years.
Though she is now seriously considering a career in journalism, and she has admitted that at times she has spent more time on her work with the Voice than on her major, Katie will be receiving her degree in Computer Science.
She has found some common ground between her two passions, however: “One thing that’s been fun, both as being a TA and as a staff member at the Voice is troubleshooting problems you didn’t know could even happen, and staying cheerful the whole time.”
Katie’s favourite part of the Voice has been “getting feedback from people. I think when articles provoke thought or discussion, that means that we raised ideas in the public consciousness, and addressed things that needed to be addressed.”
When asked what she was going to miss the most about production nights, she noted the chaos: “It can be a lot of different things to juggle at once, but at the end of the night when everything comes together it’s very satisfying. I also love how philosophical the newsroom gets late at night.”
After leaving the Voice, Katie wants to be remembered “as someone who told stories that needed to be told, even if authority figures didn’t want them to be told. I want to give a voice to people not often represented in media.”
She has always been a strong proponent and example of using the power that comes with journalism to advocate for those whose voices are often muted in the media.
“I always love covering events related to violence prevention, domestic violence awareness, that sort of thing,” Katie said. “There are a lot of improvements that need to be made in that area of reporting, and I’m trying to establish responsible ways of writing about these topics within our community.”
Her advice to future journalists who hope to follow in her footsteps is to “educate yourself on language and subtleties in what you’re reporting.
“Become familiar with your subject so that you won’t be an insensitive reporter,” she said. “Don’t treat people as your next sensational piece. Tell people’s stories respectfully, and stay in your lane. When you cover events at Simmons, but have an opinion on things that you aren’t involved with, it feels really exploitative. I personally set my boundaries that way.”
When asked whether the most important step for aspiring young journalists at Simmons is to join the Voice, she replied with “a resounding yes.”
By Katie Sittig-Boyd
Late at night in the Simmons Voice office, later than most students dare to stay on the academic campus, one of the staple staff members still present, troubleshooting InDesign issues, and speaking with great authority and certainty about specific nuances in the “Harry Potter” series well into the early hours of the morning.
Jessie Kuenzel has worn many hats during her time at the Simmons Voice. After working as a staff writer during her first year, she became editor first of the Arts and Entertainment page, then the Opinions page; she became Managing Editor last year and has now ascended to her current role as one of the co-Editors-In-Chief.
Jessie initially became involved with the paper because a friend, who was on the staff at the time, convinced her to write an article for the A&E page.
“I was just going to write the one piece in order to buy myself a few minutes of peace and quiet in my class, and then I would never write again,” Jessie said. “But then, when I finally saw my article in print with my byline attached, I was absolutely hooked.”
After that first fateful article, Jessie wrote another article, and then another, and after that she began attending meetings—and after that, the theory of “slippery slope” took over, and it was all downhill from there.
“Suddenly it’s four years later and I’ve probably now spent more time in the newspaper office than any other place at Simmons…even my dorm room,” said Jessie, who has in fact spent more than one night sleeping in the Voice office.
For years, Jessie has stayed until the very end of production nights, leading the staff in passionate discussions of Broadway shows, fiction, Netflix series, and anything she finds interesting at the time.
“Tuesday nights have been by far the best nights of the week, the ones I look forward to more than Fridays or Saturdays,” Jessie said. “Tuesday nights at the Voice were nights spent staying up incredibly late, writing frantically to fill pages and meet deadlines, and working harder than I ever thought was possible at 3 a.m., but they were also spent laughing harder and louder than I ever thought I could at that time of night.”
“Jessie always has interesting stories to share with everyone on production night,” said Kaydee Donohoo, this year’s Opinion editor.
During her time as a communications major, Jessie’s favorite course was Editing Copy and Proof, which she routinely recommends that everyone take. In fact, she even wrote an op-ed piece about it last year.
“The class teaches valuable skills that can be used across any discipline—writing and grammar are skills that every single person utilizes during their career,” Jessie said with great enthusiasm. “They’re really tangible, applicable skills.”
Beyond the Voice, Jessie has also worked as a writer for Cape Cod LIFE magazine and has been involved with projects in the communications department such as Studio 5.
Jessie’s presence in the newsroom keeps everyone feeling cheerful, even late at night, and as one of the first people new staff members meet, she plays an important role in inviting newcomers to the paper.
“I was nervous about joining the Voice at first, but Jessie made it feel really welcoming,” said copy editor Marjorie Atkinson. “She taught me a lot about what I needed to know.”
When she isn’t whipping up a passionate opinion piece about marine biology or reviewing a board game she really enjoys, Jessie spends her spare time volunteering at the New England Aquarium and listening to the “Harry Potter” books on tape (which she highly recommends).
“In twenty years when I look back at my time at Simmons, I know the homework assignments, class lectures, final projects, and general details of academia will all have long been happily forgotten,” said Jessie. “But the memories I have from the Voice will always be cherished as some of the best times of my life.”