Hannah Lauritzen chosen as new Daily editor-in-chief
A committee of faculty, students and university administrators this week selected Hannah Lauritzen to be the editor-in-chief of the North Texas Daily beginning January.
Lauritzen, a digital and print journalism senior, currently serves as the paper’s design editor. She has worked for the paper since September 2014 and held the design editor job since January 2015. During her time as the design editor, a senior editor position, Lauritzen observed what does and does not work for the newsroom and UNT community.
“When I first joined the staff, I did not want to be editor,” Lauritzen said. “It sounded like so much work. It seemed stressful. But since then, I’ve seen all these things I wanted to do and worried who would make these changes, and realized it was me, that I wanted to make those changes.”
Caitlyn Jones, who ran the show during spring 2015, was the last woman to be editor before a spate of four men ran the paper after her graduation. The committee interviewed two other Daily leaders – summer 2016 editor Harrison Long and managing sports editor Reece Waddell – for the job, but ultimately chose Lauritzen.
Lauritzen said she recognizes some readers within the student body and faculty feel left behind by the paper’s reports. Her goal, she said, is to bridge the gap left by the current editorial direction and cover more thoroughly all the areas of UNT and the Denton community.
“I want to make sure our coverage is representing all of our campus,” she said. “We have this façade that it does but when we compare people we cover, women are rarely quoted on the cover. Sometimes we have a photo of a black person on the cover but he isn’t the one being interviewed. I want to push our reporters out of their comfort zones. I want to cover all sides of every issue.”
Current editor-in-chief Dalton LaFerney said the committee was wise to pick Lauritzen. He’s worked with her since January 2015, when he, too, became an editor for the paper.
“She’s seen tough decisions, some good and some bad, made by editors who have come before her,” LaFerney said. “She’s been in the middle of some of them. That’s crucial of a newsroom leader, to have lived and worked through challenging moments.”
Over the past few months, Lauritzen said, the editors of the paper demanded more Dallas-Fort Worth area stories, and have moved away from the Daily’s core audience – UNT student and faculty and Denton issues. She said her staff will prioritize the UNT and Denton community rather than national and regional issues.
There will be a newsroom shuffle, Lauritzen said. And as the Mayborn School of Journalism prepares to move its facilities from the General Academic Building to Sycamore Hall, she will oversee the Daily’s transition to a new office.
“I really just want to continue moving the North Texas Daily forward,” Lauritzen said.
Featured images: Photo of Hannah Lauritzen by Brad Allen.
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