COLUMN: NIU vigils create emotional effect

By Paolo Cisneros

Favorite story written this semester:

My coverage of the NIU vigil was my favorite story of the semester. As an 18-year-old college freshman, I had the responsibility of covering the aftermath of a mass homicide, which was easily one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. Despite how draining (and cold) that night was, returning to campus the next day and seeing people use my story as a way of getting closer to the event was something that reaffirmed my faith in the power of journalism.

Best interview I did:

Speaking with voters at the YMCA on Super Tuesday was a great way of getting inside people’s heads to see what makes them tick. Good times.

The priceless quote that will hang on my wall:

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“The dump fell in such a way that we split it.” -Alpha Epsilon Pi president Matt McNamara in reference to the outcome of his fraternity’s “Dumps for Dollars” philanthropy event.

The story I was most passionate about:

The NIU vigils. It would be hard not to care about something like that.

Moment that I loved my job:

Feb. 5 – Super Tuesday. Spending the entire night in the newsroom waiting for election results with a great group of reporters and editors really reminded me why I love working at the DI.

I would love to investigate this person’s life further:

While covering a bill that would allow adoptees in Illinois access to their original birth certificates, I had the chance to speak with David Goat, a Vermont man who was adopted as an infant and has spent the rest of his life trying to discover who he is. He’s neither famous nor a particularly influential person. He’s just a musician from a small town in Vermont, but his story was as haunting as it was fascinating.

If I could do one story over again:

I’d redo the tuition series that ran this past week. I co-authored those pieces with Andy Kwalwaser, a really great reporter who, in all honesty, did a lot more work on the series than I did. I feel like if I had just put in a little more effort, the final product could have been even stronger.

What I’m looking forward to covering in the fall:

The presidential election. I can’t wait.

I work here because:

This is easily the best job I’ve ever had. The pay is terrible, the hours are enough to drive you insane, and I absolutely love it.

Why I chose my beat:

I love knowing that I’m serving as a watchdog for the general public so that they know what their elected officials are up to. It’s sort of the ultimate form of fighting the man.