Last semester when I sat down to write the traditional Editor-in-Chief “welcome to the new Cigar” column, thoughts kept ringing over and over in my head about everything that could go wrong while I am responsible for this 48-year-old newspaper. 

But what I never realized about passion and motivation is that it has the ability to help you overcome your worst fears, and the toughest of times. In four short months, I learned how to lead my editorial staff in a way that would be effective, yet they would also appreciate. We got into plenty of disagreements, but overcame them all. I learned how to juggle an entirely new set of responsibilities while remaining a full-time student and still participating in other extracurricular activities that I had devoted time towards. But most importantly, I learned how to elevate the standards of student journalism at the University of Rhode Island, and how to have fun and stay relaxed while doing so. 

I can confidently say that between last January and May, the Cigar staff not only improved their reporting skills, but we learned how to cover the University of Rhode Island campus in a way that is more engaging and interesting to the student population. We began thinking outside the box for story ideas and printing articles that students from every corner of our campus can relate to. We wrote about what it’s like to be a first-generation college student, the importance of ending the stigma around mental health, the uncertain future our campus diversity faces and more. And our hard work paid off too. Week after week I watched our website traffic increase, so much so that it has nearly doubled from when I started. More and more newspaper racks were fully emptied around campus each week, and alumni were emailing us and asking for copies to be mailed to their home addresses. 

The beautiful thing about being Editor-in-Chief is that everything I do is centered around one main goal: helping everybody else accomplish exactly what they want to. I need to give this position my all, because my passion drives my editors to work harder every day, which in turn shows all the reporters that we are committed to helping them consistently improve and be the best they possibly can, which in turn leads to better stories printed in our paper each week, which reflects upon our journalism department in a very positive manner and ultimately produces a product that allows the Harrington School of Communication and Media to successfully recruit journalism students, all done to ensure that the Cigar will continue to expand for years to come. 

While some days it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I have never once lost sight of how my motivation and my passion for this paper is inspiring everyone on my staff to be the best they possibly can, and to give me their all week in and week out, even when it’s dreary and cold outside. 

But of course, this process has not been easy, and I am sure that this upcoming semester will be full of its own challenges. There will always be disagreements and conflict when 10 people have to cram themselves into a 20 foot by 20 foot office for eight hours every Wednesday night. Such is life.

I invite all of you to join us in continuing to help improve the Cigar. Send us your news tips, stop by our office if you need to reach one of our editors, follow us on social media and if you want to, come join our staff. We’ve got an endless amount of stories coming your way within the next four months. 

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Ian Weiner
There's the way things are perceived and then there's reality. The role of a journalist is to help the public differentiate between the two. I'm doing this because I want to make a difference. Giving people the resources they need to be informed is one of the most critical things any society can have. In addition, I like telling stories, whether they are about people, places, things, events, you name it. Lastly, it is an honor to be able to lead the editorial staff, help them achieve everything they want, and leave knowing The Cigar will have a brighter future than ever before.