Benson named Ferris Torch editor-in-chief

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University’s student newspaper, the Torch, will be led by senior Mary Benson during the 2012-13 school year.

Benson, who has worked for the Torch since 2009, is excited to be the new editor-in-chief of the student-operated newspaper.

“I thought it would be a good learning experience for me to be in a leadership/management role, especially since it’s a business and not just a student group on campus,” said Benson, of Tustin. “We have to be successful in every aspect of a college student newspaper.”

At the Torch, Benson has served as production manager for the past two years. During that time, she has witnessed a number of positive changes with staff collaboration to meet deadlines “for the sake of bringing news to campus,” she explained.

“We don’t go stale with story ideas,” said Benson, a Facility Management major. “We have a creative mindset, and we are a good team. I like that we have extremely strong skills in reporting.”

Steven Fox, the Torch advisor and an assistant professor of English and Journalism in Ferris’ College of Arts and Sciences, said that Benson has strong leadership and communication skills that she can bring to the editor-in-chief position, as well as her attention to detail. He explained that Benson understands what she does well and what others do well to make sure the work is a team effort.

“I think Mary was a pretty obvious choice based on her work for the last couple of years,” Fox said. “Like a lot of other organizations around campus, the next leader emerges and Mary was encouraged to apply by her peers. To me, that means a lot.”

In addition to Benson’s appointment as editor-in-chief, the Torch will have other changes as it introduces a new look to its editorial team.

Next year’s staff includes:

  • Editor-in-Chief: Mary Benson, senior, Tustin
  • News Editor: Alex Wittman, sophomore, St. Joseph
  • Arts and Entertainment Editor: Jessica Smith, Junior, Nunica
  • Sports Editor: Tyler Shelton, junior, Haslett
  • Opinions Editor: Jax Anger, freshman, Big Rapids

Fox hopes the staff continues to challenge him with questions, stories and journalistic styles in order to better serve readers.

“I want us to be a community that pushes each other to be a good newspaper,” he said. “We already see that in her role this year. She’s encouraging other people, and she expects a lot out of them.”