by Rose Brennan, A&E Editor
With a nearly century-long legacy, it is almost certain that The Quadrangle would have at least one family legacy to its name. Such is the case for junior Gabriella “Gabs” DePinho, The Quadrangle’s current News Editor.
DePinho’s introduction to The Quadrangle came when she was 12 years old, when her older sister, Michelle, was selected as one of that year’s Quadrangle scholars.
“I constantly used to joke that The Quad would be the thing she talked about the same way guys who were high school quarterbacks always talk about their last homecoming games,” DePinho said. “Michelle loved the people on The Quad with her and always talked about how much she loved the paper.”
Years passed, DePinho’s older brother Anthony also decided to attend the college (though not as a Quadrangle scholar), and before she knew it, it was Gabs’ turn to apply to colleges. She also applied for the scholarship and was selected as a finalist, and thus had to undergo an interview for the scholarship.
“When I went for my interview, I was insanely intimidated; there were at least eight or so other kids there,” she said. “Of course, when I sat down, after shaking everyone’s hands, Thom Gencarelli figures out my relationship to Michelle, who served as News Editor and Managing Editor, so I felt like the pressure was on. I answered the questions candidly and hoped that they could see me for myself, rather than for what my sister was.”
Throughout her time on The Quadrangle, DePinho has served in several positions, including Staff Writer, Web Editor, Assistant News Editor and, most recently, News Editor.
When asked about filling the same position her sister Michelle did, DePinho said, “It’s pretty cool that my sister and I were both part of The Quad and have both served as News Editors. We’ve always been really close but it’s something extra that we get to bond over and because she’s had the same experiences as me, she’s someone I go to when I have questions about the decisions I’m making and the work I’m doing because I know she understands where I’m coming from. She’s one of my biggest supporters when it comes to The Quad too and it always really means a lot to me.”
During her first meeting, DePinho was intimidated, but it was not long before she realized The Quadrangle had an equal balance of work and play.
“The Quad is full of really supportive people and people who take their work seriously but also like to goof off and have fun,” she said. “I ended up loving the news section like my sister did, but no one ever expected that from me and the moment I realized that, I was able to enjoy the paper more.”
Before long, it was time for DePinho to write her first article. She paired up with her mentor, Web Editor August Kissel, to cover the maintenance of the mural underneath the Founders’ Bridge.
“We went to the mural while they were working on it and August took the lead on the interviews, even though she made me come up with a list of questions to ask,” DePinho said. “She went over the list and told me what questions she would have added to it, which I took note of for my future interviews. The Friday of that week, she invited me over to her room and we sat down to write it together and she encouraged me to try writing sections of the story myself and then she went in and made edits … Writing that story with her really broke down that intimidation I was feeling and showed me that okay, I might be scared but there are people here who want to help me and there are people here who believe in my abilities.”
As the News Editor, DePinho has responsibilities throughout the week that essentially mean she is on-call for The Quadrangle 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“My day to day job is sending out pitches and story ideas for the section, keeping in touch with writers throughout the week, helping writers find sources and then editing the stories as they are sent in. It’s more or less the same as any other section editor’s job and the day to day stuff is hard work,” DePinho said.
But DePinho faces additional pressure as the News Editor due to the close eye the upper-level administrators have on the paper, as well as preserving the reputation of the publication as a whole.
“I know that top administrators pick up a copy of The Quadrangle and read it front to back,” DePinho said. “I know that they see what we’re talking about and how we’re talking about it, and that’s stressful. Whether or not students are faithfully reading The Quadrangle, there is an expectation that the news section is covering things that really matter to the student body and should matter to the college at large. Sometimes, it’s going to be about mold, other times, it’s going to be about policy changes. The news section can really set the tone for or influence campus discussions. It’s my job to figure out what needs to be covered and how we’re going to cover it.”
DePinho writes for the paper every week, meaning she has written countless articles in her time with The Quadrangle. But among her favorites are some of her more recent work: covering the new access control policy.
“While I co-wrote two of the three of them with Joe Liggio, who has been an incredible right hand man throughout my time as news editor, I did the brunt of the work on the reporting end,” she said. “These stories really tested me as a journalist. Could I stay unbiased in my reporting? Were we being fair? I want to say we were fair and balanced to the best of our ability. We sat and worked on these stories for hours together, agonizing over our word choice. ‘Does this word sound too loaded? How about this word? No, that sounds too aggressive.’ It really tested me. They were never going to please everyone and I had to learn to be okay with that pretty early on.”
“It was also the first time that I felt like I was reporting on a “pressing” issue or something that really mattered to people. The issues were flying off the stands, people were coming up to me and complimenting my work and thanking me for writing those stories. It felt like what I was doing mattered to people, which was actually pretty cool. It reassured me that the work I’m doing is important and that one day, when I’m out in the field as a journalist, even though the newspapers are dying and the fake news media is fake, the work I’ll do will matter to people,” she said.
As a writer for The Quadrangle, DePinho has met and interviewed people from nearly every corner and crevice of the MC campus. This aspect of news writing has actually become her favorite part of working for The Quadrangle.
“All of the other members of The Quad are awesome people who I probably never would have met if it weren’t for the paper, but also, I’ve met so many cool people from interviewing them for the paper. There are professors I always say hi to now because I’ve interviewed them once, there are a few administrators I have a friendly rapport with because of work I’ve done with The Quad, and there are so many cool and talented students and campus leaders I’ve gotten to know because of The Quad,” she said.
In relation to meeting pivotal people on The Quadrangle, DePinho’s older sister actually met her fiance through the paper. Only time will tell if The Quadrangle will change DePinho’s life in this way, but though her time with the paper is only halfway done, she noted how much she has grown in that short span of time.
“I’ve learned how to ask the tough questions and how to ask them without my voice wavering,” she said. “I’ve grown a thick skin and learned not to take criticism too personally. I’ve learned to be more confident in my abilities and to be comfortable taking up space in the room. I deserve space in the room simply for being human but I’ve earned my place at the table from working hard. I’ve learned how to lean on other people, that I don’t always need to go it alone and that especially in a place like The Quad, I’ve got people who will always be there for me.”