From Riverside, to San Diego, to your new editor-in-chief: A letter from the editor

Photo by Michael Hayes
Photo by Michael Hayes

Words cannot express how excited I am to write this letter to you all!

My name is Daesha Gear, and I will be serving you all as the editor-in-chief for the 2023-2024 academic year. I will be heading into my final year at San Diego State University as a journalism-media studies major with an auxiliary discipline in television, film and new media.

My origins of what led me to this position and journalism, overall, is quite lengthy and it begins outside of San Diego.

To summarize, I am a transfer student from Riverside City College, and I gained my first editorial experience at 18 years old with their student publication, Viewpoints.

Initially, I took the leadership and news production elective courses to receive extra credits to quickly transfer to a California State University. Never would I have thought taking those extra courses at my community college would form me into the person I am now.

Throughout my time with my first publication, I had the opportunity to serve as the opinion and assistant news editor for a smaller, yet dedicated newspaper that cared about providing a voice to the voiceless in the Riverside community.

I was unsure of what school I would begin my journalism career next. My first managing editor, Daniel Hernandez, brought university newspapers to the newsroom for staff members, like me, to gain inspiration.

Coincidentally, most of those newspapers came from the Daily Aztec’s 2021-2022 academic year. When I picked up the papers for the first time, I felt inspired by the colors and unique front page designs. Instantly, I discovered my new home.

Receiving my acceptance letter to venture off into a new environment was motivating as I was glad to choose SDSU and the Daily Aztec because I wanted to make an impact. But “how” I was going to make an actual impact was the real question.

Being a transfer from over 100 miles away from SDSU, it was shocking to see how different the in-person university courses and virtual community college classes were. Luckily, I was able to find a community with those at the Daily Aztec by finally breaking the ice and reaching out about my interest in volunteering.

I began my career at the Daily Aztec as a contributor, producing articles and participating in the live show, Daily Aztec Live! Within two months of the fall 2022 semester, I was offered the position to join the 2022-2023 editorial board as an assistant editor.

It was humbling to know that former editor-in-chief, Gabriel Schneider, saw potential in me to join the editorial board and help others with my previous editorial knowledge.

It was valuable to understand how all nine sections operate to provide a variety of coverage to diverse communities at SDSU and beyond. It’s an even greater accomplishment to be your editor-in-chief for this academic year.

With the guidance and faith from past and current leaders, I am inspired to continue providing a voice to this community with devotion and care. While I will be taking on a lot of responsibilities, I know I will not be alone.

I believe in my editorial team to help lead this 110-year-old publication. This editorial team, consisting of 16 members, has individuals with unique backgrounds, class years and majors outside of JMS. Although we all come from various upbringings, my editorial board and I hold a similar mission.

We strive for this publication to have a strong, yet welcoming presence to every student interested in contributing to the Daily Aztec. Every voice, perspective and identity is crucial for this publication to not only evolve but also open a conversation to subjects that may be under or overlooked.

To accomplish this goal, it is imperative for the Daily Aztec to expand its outreach by fostering a relationship with the SDSU community through social media and tabling events.

It means a lot to me, as likely the first African American woman editor-in-chief. I want to inspire fellow Black student journalists to get more involved in the newsroom because there are countless opportunities here at the Daily Aztec.

For everyone who comes to the Daily Aztec, I will do whatever I can to ensure that you succeed and get that dream job you always envisioned after graduation. I want the Daily Aztec to continue being a memorable and rewarding experience that establishes an everlasting connection between current and past members.

That being said, my team, from editors to staff writers, is thrilled to continue to pay homage to the tradition — and continuous evolution — of this 110-year-old publication for the 2023-2024 academic year. The change to our website design is just one example, and we’re just getting started.

Now, from pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard, let’s begin.

About the Contributor
Daesha Gear, '23-24 Editor in Chief
Daesha Gear is a senior transfer from Riverside City College. Before becoming involved at The Daily Aztec in the 2022 fall semester, Gear was involved in her publication at RCC called Viewpoints, serving as the Opinion and Assistant News Editor. At her community college, the Journalism Association of Community Colleges awarded her an honorable mention for covering a feature story on LGBTQ+ students at RCC. Heading into her final year as a Journalism-Media Studies major, Gear serves as The Daily Aztec’s 2023-2024 Editor-in-Chief, making her the first Black woman to hold this title in the publication’s history. Outside of her role at The Daily Aztec, Gear has freelanced for The Raincross Gazette, a publication in Riverside, and interned with NBC 7 San Diego as a Digital Intern. Daesha has also appeared in a story for the San Diego Union-Tribune and in SDSU’s JMS podcast called “Where Ya At?” In her final year, Gear hopes to continue broadening her expertise in technology and its impact on the ever-changing landscape of journalism. But if she’s not writing or handling matters related to the publication, Gear is probably watching basketball, horror films or exploring new cities.