Review Staff, A Blast From the Past

Haley Rey, Editor in Chief

Photos provided from the subjects of each

Working for the Review can teach a person valuable skills and set them up for great careers, whether or not those careers have anything to do with writing or editing. Real teamwork is needed to put together three stories a week (or for any other posting schedule the Review has practiced). Additionally, McKendree Radio puts out two to four podcasts per week, adding to the overall content for McKendree Media. The Review side, specifically, has plenty of stories from its 100 years of existence.

There have been different job titles, different relationships with the rest of the school (sometimes journalism stirs the pot), and different opportunities offered through being published before leaving college. This week was all about celebrating a very important anniversary. Today, read below about experiences from some of the Review’s previous staff!

Lauren Reeves

Lauren ReevesClass of 2017

I was working with the Review the entire time while I was enrolled at McKendree from 2014-2017. I was Editor-In-Chief from 2015 to December of 2016. Back in high school, I developed a love for journalism. I thought I wanted to be the next Oprah and inform everyone of world and cultural events around the world. 

I was more of a visual journalist, so when I joined the Review, I knew I wanted to bring a digital element to the stories we were telling. My overall goal was to bring the Review into the digital world. My biggest accomplishment was doing less paper copies and instead doing digital content to keep students engaged. We also utilized social media like Facebook to showcase articles. 

This effort allowed more writers and journalists to take an interest in the Review as well as help build their digital portfolios. I also made sure we had our own camera equipment to allow more journalism efforts to sprout, like photo and broadcast journalism. 

I enjoyed working with my peers on the Review because we had a chance to make sure the students across campus were being heard and got to express themselves. A highlight of my time with the Review was when I was working in the Eisnmeyer office with the windows open and I heard my first package of the newspaper arrive at our doors. I was so proud to see our hard work. I have a few copies of my first print to this day.

Anna (Belmonte) HollingworthClass of 2016

I was a writer/editor with the McKendree Review for three semesters (2015-2016). Before I arrived on campus as a freshman, I knew I wanted to write for the student paper. Most of my time at the Review, I had the joy of being Co-Editor-in-Chief with Lauren Reeves. Besides helping curate and edit content, I also revamped the website, cleaned up the archives and contributed longer stories, including a two-part series about the flooding and mold in Clark Hall and another two-part series about the renovations to Holman Library and Voigt Science Hall. What I loved most about being on the Review staff was getting to meet faculty, staff, and students from just about every department on campus. The paper was undergoing a lot of changes around the time I joined, but I am definitely glad I rose to the challenge and gave it my best.

Katherine Gemmingen

Katherine GemmingenClass of 2020

Working for the Review was one of the best parts of my McKendree experience. I had the ability to work with people from different groups across campus, and it was a platform that I could use to voice my opinions. It is crazy to think that the Review is celebrating 100 years now, and it makes me so proud to know that I had even a small part in its history.

The way that the Review has evolved through various iterations over its years is a testament to its enduring value. While its identity has changed from time to time, the Review is an integral part of McKendree, and I hope that students, faculty, and alumni continue to recognize how special it is. 

Kimberly Bennett

Kimberly BennettClass of 2014

My name is Kimberly Bennett, and I was the Editor-in-Chief for the McKendree Review from 2013-2014. Before McKendree, I did not have any journalistic experience. Had it not been for my interest in bringing a creative writing element to the McKendree Review, I may have never joined. I am so glad for taking a chance in journalism even though I never had the experience because over the years, being part of the McKendree Review gave me such a sense of accomplishment.

I started submitting creative works to the Review for publication, and throughout the years, my reporting evolved, going from submitting book & movie reviews to writing about special campus events. My two favorite pieces I ever wrote for the McKendree Review featured a detailed representation of the Haunted History event on campus and an article showcasing the ‘new’ bobcat statue that had been built in front of Holman Library.

Even though I never planned to run the school newspaper while writing for the Review, I am grateful when the role as Editor-in-Chief was offered to me. I did the best I could as a student with little journalistic experience in order to keep the Review alive. When I went to school at McKendree, the interest in writing for the Review was low, so my small team did what we could to cover campus events and unique stories. 

My favorite part of being Editor-in-Chief was the bonding time I had with my two editors, Emily Lucia and Mindy Allen. We would eat lunch every day together in the Review office. Practically anytime we weren’t in class, we were in the Review office hanging out and having a good time. I wouldn’t change a thing. I thank McKendree University for the experience, and I am so glad to know that the McKendree Review has prospered since I graduated. That means a lot. 😊

Magdalena Knapp

Magdalena KnappClass of 2020

Dear McK Review, Happy Birthday! 100 years of articles later, you have hit a huge milestone and I could not be more proud of you. This is why I wanted to dedicate a few personal yet cheesy words to you…

Writing has always been a passion of mine. When I found out that McKendree had their own newspaper, I knew I wanted to write some articles for them. Fast-forward a year, I found myself as the Editor in Chief of our beloved McK Review—the first ever Italian Editor in Chief, I’d like to add. I loved working for the McK Review and creating something that McKendree students enjoyed reading. I loved to write stories about controversial topics such as food waste at McKendree, but also profiles on faculty and staff at McKendree, as well as some fun articles simply for entertainment purposes. 

When I began working as an editor, the newspaper published articles roughly a few times per month, but my co-writers and I sped it up and soon started publishing articles three times a week. I still have the days imprinted in my brain and sometimes find myself in the evenings before technical “publishing days” wondering if the article for the following day was ready to go. I’d like to think that the newspaper really made some peoples’ days better when they got to read a fun article or found an article of themselves online—it sure did make some of my days! 

Being a journalist was fun; I sometimes felt like an international super-spy, because as soon as I got out my little pink notebook and a pen, people wanted to answer my questions. Something about that fact that I wanted to write about them made people very chatty. They often included some spicy details in their responses that definitely did not end up on the McK Review but helped me get to know people on a deeper level. I cherish my time working for the McK Review a lot, and the Review will always hold a special place in my heart.

This is why I take a moment to raise my glass and cheer to you, McK Review, and I hope for another wonderful 100 years of journalism and spicy articles!

Dr. Brian Frederking

Dr. Brian Frederking Class of 1990

The McKendree Review almost did not make it to its 100-year anniversary. 

I was the editor of the McKendree Review in the late 1980s. At that time there was a much more contentious relationship between students and the administration. One unusual string of events began when President TenBrink canceled the school play because it included some profanity. Students wore black armbands to sporting events on campus to mourn the passing of the school play. We covered it in the Review and included pictures of students wearing the black armbands. We wrote editorials mocking the president.

At the same time, we engaged in a covert operation with a work study student in Wildy Hall who secretly gave us the home addresses of the Board of Trustees members. We started sending copies of the Review to the Board members. TenBrink was so upset that he ended all funding for the Review – he literally tried to shut down a college newspaper. So we continued the paper on our own, selling subscriptions to alumni and selling ads to local businesses. For about a semester it was a truly independent student voice on campus, unconstrained by a reliance on university funds. It was a glorious and rebellious era for the Review. 

For some reason, once I was no longer editor of the Review, the university restored the funding. 

Jodi Edgar Reinhardt

Jodi Edgar ReinhardtClass of 1992

The McKendree Review defined my life at McKendree College (now University). From the lessons learned to the friends made, our student-run paper gave me incredible memories. I worked on the Review staff all four years and served as Editor from January 1990 through May 1992. Every other week, members of our 40-person staff wandered in and out of the Review offices in Lower Deneen (now called The Lair), preparing the 12-16 page newspaper for print. I would often put in 40-hour weeks to hunt down reporters for their stories, organize the chaos, write, edit, design, and put the paper to bed.

I was far from alone. We had a great team. Luckily, we had computers to type our stories, captions, and headlines, but still did page layout by hand on “light boards” made by one of the dads, Mr. McQuade. With Aerosmith, Poison, Van Halen or Rush blasting from the radio and a Hardees Moose cup of Diet Coke to keep us caffeinated, we’d print news copy by the column inch, put it through the temperamental, often jammed waxer, trim it, and place it on pages, often late into the night every other Thursday. It was always stressful getting it across the finish line.

At the crack of dawn on Friday, we’d deliver the files to a printer in Clinton County and then pick up the paper on Monday morning (thank you Ann Huelsman) to hand deliver stacks across campus. On Tuesdays, I would receive the red-lined copy from our devoted faculty advisor and journalism professor, Dr. Michele Stacey-Doyle. She gave us constructive criticism along with grammar and style edits. She let us be a truly student-run paper and was our staunchest supporter. MSD also threw incredible Review parties at her house for our crew!

I am proud of the stories our staff wrote during some of the most interesting times of the school. We boldly covered stories like when President Gerrit TenBrink banned condoms from being distributed on campus to promote safe sex. Another time, we published a literary magazine that showcased the talents of numerous students as a supplement to the Review. Administration confiscated all papers from the campus, deeming the literary content inappropriate and immoral. The ban caused a firestorm between administration, faculty, and students about the right of free speech. All of this was fodder captured in the McKendree Review.

I thank everyone who worked on the Review staff with me.  You did an incredible job of providing a mix of news, features, sports, and commentary on a regular basis. I’m forever grateful to Ptosha Rockingham, the McK Review editor who taught me the ropes and saw something in me I didn’t see in myself when she made me her assistant editor. Kristi McQuade Daugherty was my partner in crime, assistant editor, an incredible writer, truth teller, scholar, and fellow rocker. Larger than life, Tom E. O’Connor and Anthony George shot our photography, manually processing the black and white film in our photo lab in the science building. The one-of-a-kind Susan (Philp) Baier took Kristi’s place after she graduated, bringing her passionate perspective and wonderful sense of humor to the team. The late Craig “Dobber” Dobsch counted down the hits of his beloved Top 40 in his bi-weekly music review while Jon Hyde as “Vlad” wrote his own unique column and kept us entertained. I’m also grateful to John Suarez, Anne Pfitzner, Adam Koishor, and Scott Leach who always came through as reporters, writers and editors.

To all McKendree Review staffers of the early 1990s, thank you for making the newsroom a fun place to be! From the spirited debates to the giddy laugh fests, you made my college days fun. I’m proud that our work will always be a part of our alma mater’s history, capturing the topics of our time and the spirit, intellect, and accomplishments of the student body of what was then McKendree College. You have my respect and gratitude.

Happy 100th anniversary, McKendree Review! 

Zach Breeding

Zach BreedingClass of 2020

What is a centennial? Strictly speaking, it’s 100 years, or the recognition of the passing of 100 years. 100 years is longer than any of us are likely to live, it’s roughly the amount of time it takes a plastic bag to naturally decompose, and it’s the amount of time that it takes for the Puya raimondii, or the Queen of the Andes, to bloom.

Without straying too far into some kind of ecological critique or diatribe, as I did rather ineffectually during my time at McKendree, I simply want to suggest that we alter the way we look at something like a centennial. It should not be a celebration of some thing as a monolith, as an unchanging and unchanged work; to do so would be disingenuous to the process of time. It is instead a look back at a specific period of time where something has formed, reformed, and fundamentally changed in relation to its environment. With the Review reaching this mark and seemingly continuing to exist on the razor’s edge of school funding debates, we ought to consider the past 100 years of work done by the Review and all the environments through which it has persevered and been irrevocably changed by. To 100 more that we shall not see.

As the Review’s current Editor in Chief, I am incredibly proud to be in the position I am in after the many years and phases the paper has been through. I began with a single story contribution before becoming a part of the staff. I was hired as Head Copy Editor, was promoted to Associate Editor, and am now Editor in Chief. Having published work helped me obtain an internship position at Hauser Group PR, and working for the Review in general has taught me leadership and teamwork skills. It’s a great feeling to be a part of something so special and historical. 

Looking forward, the Review would like to continue to grow and improve. If you would like to donate, please read below. Thank you to our readers for helping us celebrate this very important week. As always, the Review remains “devoted to the interests of McKendree.”

Donation options: Venmo @ haleyjrey or CashApp @ $Tailgod and describe it as “Review Donation” in the text box. Thank you for any contributions you may make! The funds we receive will be used to improve our audience’s experience as much as possible.

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