San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Senior Farewell: Mackenzie Stafford

Photo courtesy of Jayne Yutig.

For my first visit to San Diego State University after being accepted, I went to a Q&A session to learn more about the journalism program. I approached a member of the JMS department and explained my interest in broadcast journalism. It had been my dream since middle school.

“Oh, you want to do broadcasting here? You should transfer,” they replied.

Hearing those words made my heart sink. My dreams were obliterated.

My mom and I shed a few tears at the news. In a way, it became the fuel to my fire. I’ve always loved journalism and I wasn’t going to let their discouraging advice deter me.

After my first semester had kicked off and I was settled in, I was ready for an internship. Little did I know, I was lucky to already have a few under my belt. In college, soon-to-be grads are preferred applicants, which makes sense. I was constantly visiting our internship coordinator’s office. When there were no internships available for freshmen, she directed me to The Daily Aztec. If it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be writing this right now.

I dove into the Multimedia section. I couldn’t get enough of it. Thank you to Jack Molmud and Amal Younis for your guidance and for welcoming me in. Jack started giving me special assignments and responsibilities. Before I knew it, I was at the live broadcast every week, editing the weekly Instagram series and crafting packages for the show.

Then, the pandemic struck. Out of precaution we were uprooted and relocated, but amidst the chaos, an opportunity blossomed. I created my own video series inspired by “Ned’s Declassified,” entitled “The Freshman Guide to Surviving the Coronavirus,” about how to return your textbooks, attend class virtually and more.

I took a chance and applied for the Editorial Board, and even though I was a sophomore, I got the job! I am grateful to Angela Kurysh, who partnered with me as we built the show from scratch. She provided her backyard as a safe, open-air location for filming and offered guidance throughout the process. Working together, we covered the Mountain West Conference Championship — an amazing opportunity.

In my junior year, I was promoted to multimedia editor and was fortunate enough to work alongside Jayne Yutig. Her hard work, positivity and innovation helped transform our broadcast. I cannot thank her enough for her contributions and leadership. Thank you, Jayne, for being an amazing role model and friend.

I started to feel pretty burnt out at the end of the year. It can be a common symptom of the journalism industry, but it faded as I started my senior year. The editorial board had a new mentor, Jerry McCormick. He created a class to guide us through the process of running a student newspaper and how we can elevate our work.

Receiving feedback and guidance on our work from an experienced professional inspired me to push through and make the best multimedia section I could. I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow in that class. Thank you, Jerry.

In my second year as multimedia editor, Flower Smith became the live producer. I’m so thankful to have her by my side. I’ve seen her flourish in this position and am so proud of how she’s stepped up and gone above and beyond what was asked of her. I’m so glad we’ve been able to work together and finish our last year at The Daily Aztec strong. I couldn’t do it without you.

This year we stayed ahead of the curve. We’ve successfully created reels, increased subscribers on our YouTube channel and made a killer broadcast week in and week out. My goal coming into The Daily Aztec was to contribute everything I could to the Multimedia section. Now that I’m graduating, above all, I’m grateful for the friends and relationships I’ve made along the way.

Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with. I’m astounded by the amazing journalists that The Daily Aztec has helped mold and prepare for life outside of school. Thank you to Jack Molmud, Amal Younis, Devin Whatley, Roxy Becerril, Angela Kurysh, Kyle Betz, Luis Lopez, Noe Sandoval, Karina Bazarte, Brenden Tuccinardi, Catlan Nguyen, Trinity Bland, Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo, Flower Smith, Owen Pratt, Huy Huynh, Alex Lai and Gabriel Schneider. I couldn’t have done it without all of you. And to Amber Salas — I still owe you my life.

Whoever takes over the multimedia section next year is going to do a stellar job. I’m excited to see what the future of The Daily Aztec’s broadcast looks like, and I’ll be tuning in.

We built our own remarkable broadcast from the ground up. I’ve grown immensely as a broadcast journalist. And I’ve met the most incredible, talented people here. Now, I’m glad I didn’t transfer.

About the Contributor
Mackenzie Stafford, '22-23 Multimedia Editor
Mackenzie Stafford (she/her/hers) is a journalism media studies major, originally from Denver, Colorado. She is excited to take on her third year on the Editorial Board with the multimedia team. This year Mackenzie is also stepping into the role of President of the Society of Professional Journalists chapter at SDSU. Mackenzie’s work can also be found on NBC 7’s website where she had the opportunity to be a digital intern. This year Mackenzie is looking forward to taking The Daily Aztec’s multimedia to the next level and making some big changes. 
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Senior Farewell: Mackenzie Stafford