Executive Privilege

I am very proud to announce that The Tartan has been selected as one of 58 finalists for the 2004??2005 Newspaper Pacemaker award, co-sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation. More than 200 newspapers entered the competition.

The judging for this prestigious award is based on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art, and graphics.

Over the past year, the entire staff of The Tartan has worked tirelessly to revive CMU?s oldest source of student news. I am amazed and inspired by their accomplishments. To make the transition from a organization that was nearly forced to fold in the spring of 2004 to a Pacemaker finalist newspaper ? in the space of only one year ? is a fantastic accomplishment. I applaud the success of all the people who have consistently given their time and energy to this paper. This honor is yours.

As the Executive Officer of The Tartan, I am responsible for ensuring that The Tartan is capable of publishing an exceptional newspaper, but it is my co-workers who are really in charge of creating each issue. Editor-in-Chief J.T. Trollman guides the content of the newspaper. J.T. has led The Tartan?s content and style in a more dynamic direction, encouraging engaging feature stories and daring designs. Managing Editor Franklin Williams ensures that the editorial staff is on point and that general weekly operations run smoothly. Frankie has been invaluable in helping members of The Tartan?s staff on many levels at the paper and otherwise. I thank them both, and congratulate them on their work.

The entire editorial and managerial staff deserves congratulation as well: Ali Kilduff, Jackie Brook, Jim Puls, Christian D?Andrea, Radha Chitale, Mandy Flynn, Greg Prichard, Robert Kaminski, Danielle Saudino, Arthur O?Dwyer, Evan Sundwick, Allison Gallant, Kevin Chang, Brittany Smith and Erika Matsumoto have lead The Tartan?s staff in a swift and dramatic trip to the top. I am honored to work with such an exceptional staff.

Interestingly, our recent commendation, which came at a time when I was temporarily away from CMU and The Tartan, helped me realize one of the most important lessons I have learned.

The ability to lead is a highly admired trait in our culture, but the common notion of leadership is somewhat warped. The word ?leader? elicits thoughts of a bold, heroic adventurer ?? someone with all the answers and the charisma to rally his or her troops to success. How realistic is that? Modern management guru Peter Senge calls this the myth of the hero-leader.

What are the chances that every successful company has enough of these hero-leaders to fill all the management positions in all departments of the company? Not likely. Instead, Senge suggests that success comes when an organization becomes willing to learn, innovate, and change. I believe it.
Since the spring of 2004, The Tartan has undergone a near-complete turnover in staff, and as we?ve rebuilt we?ve collectively developed a culture that naturally evolves. How then does that leave room for a leader?

?A leader is best when people barely know he exists,? as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote in the fourth century BCE. I?m convinced that more important than wild, charismatic antics are the subtle, consistent actions that help facilitate the innovative organizational culture that Senge advocates. With a staff that is as committed, capable, and ready to evolve as The Tartan?s, it is easy for me to lead in
that nuanced, slightly invisible way.

My applause and congratulations to all The Tartan?s staff, who are now at one of the nation?s greatest university newspapers.