Farewell to Our 23-24 Editorial Board!

8 mins read

As another school year comes to an end, the M-A Chronicle is transitioning to a new editorial board. Before we say our final goodbyes to this past year’s editors, we want to honor their hard work and help you get to know these five amazing leaders.

Natalie Fishman

After joining journalism sophomore year out of curiosity, Natalie Fishman found herself eager to take on leadership roles. “The class immediately had such a large impact on me, so I knew I wanted to be even more involved,” she said.

When asked about her favorite projects in the program, Fishman said, “I’ve loved some of my silly ones—like my water-taste-test story or my short-lived Music Moment podcast with Sonia—as well as the trolling and antisemitism opinion. At such a scary and divided point during the school year, that article helped me navigate concerns within my community.”

She added, “Navigating global conflict and school controversies as an editorial board has been particularly interesting, and while stressful at times, I feel like we’ve made a positive impact on the school and hopefully the greater community as well.” 

Cleo Rehkopf, Fishman’s co-editor-in-chief, said, “Natalie brings a unique perspective to a lot of issues that we’re talking about when we get into the details or lose sight of the bigger picture.”

Outside of journalism, Fishman loves to sing. She’s been in choir for 11 years and has focused on opera and classical music for the past three years.

Fishman plans to attend UCLA next fall with a major in vocal performance and a minor in neuroscience. Outside of those subjects, she hopes to find a way to “get involved with UCLA’s newspaper or with smaller publications across campus in order to continue evolving as a writer.”

Sonia Freedman

Sonia Freedman joined journalism during her sophomore year after a family friend recommended the program. “I have always loved to write and I thought it would be a great way to get involved with the school and make a positive contribution,” she said.

Becoming an editor appealed to Freedman because she looked up to her editor Jane White during her first year in the program. She added, “It seemed fun to have my own team of people to work with.”

Freedman thinks that her most important contribution as an editor was “lifting the energy in the room.” She went on, “In the class, it’s really important that everybody is having a good time and is able to write about what they’re passionate about. As an editor, I really wanted to encourage people to think about what they were actually interested in and be able to write stories they were proud of.”

Freedman launched many projects during her time at the M-A Chronicle, including the now-staple column The Music Moment, weekly playlists created throughout all of her junior year, and an anonymous advice column called Dear Bearby. That’s right: Freedman was behind Bearby. The secret is officially out.

Some of her stories surrounding ethnic and religious identity at M-A posed challenges. “It’s a hard topic to tackle, especially as a high schooler who needs to consider the feelings of the community and those in the journalism room,” she said.

When not writing for the Chronicle, Freedman is likely busy writing for the Jewish Women’s Archive or writing in her journal. She also enjoys reading, spending time in nature, and making art like collages, ceramics, and jewelry.

Writing music reviews and features for the Chronicle has inspired Freedman—the publication’s resident arts and culture fanatic—to continue pursuing writing. “All the music writing I’ve done has been really fun, and I would love to do it in my adult life. I would totally work for Pitchfork and have always dreamed about writing for Vogue or Seventeen,” she said.

“There’s so many hardworking students that really care about what they’re putting out, both online and in The Mark. It’s incredible to see how everyone’s collective effort makes an amazing final product,” she said.

Fishman said, “Sonia is super collaborative and is so easy to work with. She’s also extremely level-headed during editor meetings, which can be intense. She is very creative and inspires me to think outside of the box.”

After high school, Freedman will attend List College’s joint program with Columbia University, majoring in Jewish ethics and philosophy. While in New York, she plans to write for student publications. “I can’t see a future without me writing more,” she said.

Dylan Lanier

Dylan Lanier is the only editor who joined his junior year rather than his sophomore year. “I heard great things from people in the program,” he said. “I thought it would be a great way to meet people, learn more about the school, and develop my writing skills.”

Lanier wanted to become more involved in journalism leadership because he “wanted to be a part of the decision-making process for the publication.” As an editor, Lanier helped people develop story ideas, figure out scheduling, and refine their writing. He said, “It’s been really fun to watch staff members get more comfortable with me and bounce ideas around.”

“I feel extremely lucky to have worked with the other editors-in-chief. All of them are so passionate about the paper and determined to make sure that our work is meaningful, accurate, and of quality,” he said. “We all took it very seriously, and we also just had fun together. I’ve really enjoyed learning about them and learning about myself and my leadership style with them.”

Lanier’s high school journalism doesn’t stop with the M-A Chronicle: he also writes for InMenlo, PUNCH Magazine, and News Not Noise. Beyond journalism, he can be found hanging out with friends, trying out new restaurants, playing tennis, running, or watching movies.

Lanier worked relentlessly on writing this year’s Career-Technical Education (CTE) funding editorial. “I’m very proud of the way I continued to pursue that story in spite of difficulties and how I used the resources available to me to work on it,” he said. “Sometimes it feels like our reporting is very disconnected from our school, but I tried to be very mindful of the stakeholders in that issue by talking to them to learn how they wanted to discuss the issue and how they felt about it.”

Freedman said, “Dylan is a great decision-maker under high pressure. He’s able to weigh options very quickly to make decisions, and that’s important for a leader.”

One area Lanier struggled with during his time in M-A journalism was designing for The Mark. “I write a lot of stories—and I hope they’re good—but design has always been hard for me. It’s been an interesting learning experience to grow with design and have people challenge me.”

Lanier loves that journalism inspires curiosity. “Journalism at its core is all about staying curious about the world and other people. I think curiosity has always been a driving force in my life, and I would be remiss not to follow that curiosity as far as I can,” he said.

After graduating, Lanier will attend Northwestern University with a major in journalism. He hopes to be part of a new generation of journalists that thinks critically about not just what topics to report on, but how to report on them. “I’m very excited to continue my journey in journalism, and I can’t thank the M-A Chronicle enough for all the tools and experience it has given me in these past two years,” he said.

Cleo Rehkopf

Before joining as a sophomore, Cleo Rehkopf was a fan of the M-A Chronicle. “In middle school, I read the Chronicle a little bit, and I was like, ‘Wow, these people are so good at writing! Maybe I can join journalism and publish a story someday.’”

As an editor, Rehkopf learned to balance discussing issues on campus with keeping the class fun. “There’s a lot of drama to deal with, but it is also important to try to be a good role model, uphold the standards that we hold for everyone else in the class, and make sure everyone feels supported in their projects,” she said.

For Rehkopf, the most rewarding part of being an editor was “seeing the sophomores grow, write their own stories, and do their own designs” as well as “seeing the juniors start running the paper.”

One of Rehkopf’s favorite projects was her opinion on “Why the District Should Eliminate Online P.E.” She said, “It seemed like a pretty obvious issue that no one was talking about. I know that it’s not a very popular take, but I feel like that made it all the more important to talk about.”

Rehkopf’s favorite part of the program is that “unlike a lot of our classes, you’re not just doing things for a grade. Instead, you’re doing things to have a real impact on the world.”

Sarah Weintraut, Rehkopf’s co-editor-in-chief, said, “Cleo is the publication’s rock. She’s incredibly reliable, hardworking, and has relentless attention to detail. More often than not, she will be the reason we stay 30 minutes later to lament over a single sentence, and I love her for it because it makes everything ten times better.”

When she’s not in the journalism classroom, Rehkopf spends her time hiking and running with her track and cross country teammates.

Rehkopf will be running for Colby College in Maine beginning next fall. While undecided on what she wants to study, she is interested in philosophy and environmental policy. On her future in journalism, she said, “As of now, I don’t think I’m going to continue with journalism, but there’s a huge probability that I will just be like, ‘I miss it too much. I need to do journalism again.’”

Sarah Weintraut

When Sarah Weintraut joined journalism her sophomore year because she loved to write and discuss news, she didn’t know much about the class she was heading into. Not only did she not know that the program was home to a real publication with a website and magazine, but she also had no idea of the amount of work she would come to put into the class over the next three years.

Weintraut said, “The most important thing about being an editor is being dedicated.” From helping staff writers structure their articles to designing surrealist magazine covers to staying at school past dark to finalize an important story, Weintraut has been nothing but dedicated to the program.

“Sarah is our engine in many ways, and I think that her determination and her drive inspires all of us to continue our work and elevate our work to the best that it can be,” said Lanier. 

“The most challenging aspect of being an editor has been learning to balance journalistic principles with the needs of real humans,” said Weintraut. “We’ll have people come to us asking for a quote removed or something, and they’ll be really genuine but at the same time we want to keep our standards.”

But the best moments of being an M-A journalist have made the challenges worth it. Weintraut said, “My most rewarding experience as a writer has been working on our editorial about sexual assault. Listening to the stories of survivors and hearing their and others’ reactions to the story has been so rewarding; it’s one of those stories where you feel like it made a real difference in the community.” That editorial fits into the niche of long-form opinion writing that Weintraut found for herself, with other stories like “Dear Pro-tracking Parents: A Letter From a Former Tracking Advocate.”

Next year, Weintraut will be heading to UCLA to study climate science, pre-law, and environmental justice. While in the City of Angels, she hopes to write for UCLA’s student publication and possibly for the school’s feminist magazine.

John McBlair, the M-A Chronicle’s advisor, said, “This year’s editors-in-chief were particularly ambitious and creative. This is the first year we picked a dominant theme for each issue of The Mark, and it’s clear there’s no going back.”

He added, “I loved watching how invested these editors were in our underclassmen, giving them the support they needed to write opinions and news on important topics that are usually the domain of older students. They were real leaders.”

Thank you so much to the 2023-2024 editors!

From, the M-A Chronicle staff

Ben Siegel is a junior at M-A and in his second year of journalism. He is an Editor-in-Chief and manages Bear Tracks, the M-A Chronicle’s weekly newsletter. His opinion piece calling for improved Holocaust education was recognized by CSPA as the best personal opinion about an on-campus issue in 2023. You can find more of Ben’s music journalism at Riff Magazine.

Celeste is a junior in her second year of journalism. She is the co-writer of the weekly column Bears Doing Big Things, featuring alumni. She enjoys covering issues affecting the M-A community through features and writing about student culture. Her story on La Biscotteria was recognized as a top-10 NSPA Blog Post of 2023.

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