Executive Privilege

The New Year brought a number of changes for The Tartan. With our leadership positions lasting one calendar year, The Tartan begins 2006 with an almost entirely new editorial staff — perhaps the most eager and well-prepared group of new editors and managers the paper has seen in many years. Columnist Bill Vaughan once wrote that on New Year’s Eve, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” I’d be willing to bet that this new editorial staff stayed up just out of anticipation of their new roles becoming official on January 1.

While most of the editorial staff positions have been filled with eager new members of the CMU community, I begin a second year in my role at The Tartan with only a nominal change. The title of this position had been Executive Officer, but many of our readers and business partners found the title to be confusing and unfamiliar. Now titled Publisher, this leadership role remains the same: chief executive of The Tartan with final jurisdiction over non-content decisions. As I understand it, my charge is to ensure that The Tartan has everything it needs in terms of staffing, finances, partnerships, and otherwise — and to publish the best newspaper possible.

You’ve probably noticed that The Tartan is without a Sports section this week — terrible timing, considering the exciting basketball season ahead. Go Tartans! During the winter break, our newly elected sports editor Colin Liotta learned that a number of publishing houses were looking at his newest book. Wanting to focus on this exciting opportunity, Colin stepped down from his post. We have not yet found a new sports editor, but we will do our best to cover important sports news as we continue our search.

Also, our advertising manager Erika Matsumoto has stepped down to focus on her new role as president of the Taiwanese Student Association. I extend my thanks to Colin and Erika and wish them the best of luck. If you are interested in either of these leadership positions, please e-mail

We begin this semester looking forward to exciting new developments. Today, we launch a new, more usable interface for our website thanks to the great work of The Tartan’s past online editor Jim Puls and new online editor Marshall Roch. The site is more readable, and it will be growing throughout the semester to include a stack of new features that I know you’re going to love. From the redevelopment of our course scheduler to an online directory of restaurants and businesses in Pittsburgh, we’ve got great things in store for your online experience.

Also coming to fruition in less than a few weeks is a charitable initiative called the Bargain Steelers Card. Sean Weinstock and Shabnam Aggarwal created the BSC to give students great deals at restaurants and shops all over Oakland, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill. It’ll pay for itself if you use it once, and with all of the proceeds going to support worldwide disaster relief efforts, this is a fantastic enterprise. I’m excited The Tartan was able to partner with Sean and Shab. Look for sales tables on February 1.

All of us are very excited to have the privilege to create your newspaper. We see our jobs as essential to a successful community. Not only does a newspaper inform the members of a community about the important issues that affect their lives, it gives the members of a community common ground. Any two strangers probably have something in common, but they might never

know it. When two strangers are sitting in Kirr Commons reading the newspaper, they already know they have something in common. It’s subtle, but I believe this effect is real and important. We’re all very honored to have the chance to serve you in this way. From all of us on staff, thanks for your continued support.