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Star reporter to take Wildcat reins in fall

CASSIE TOMLIN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Aaron Mackey has been selected as editor in chief for the fall semester's Arizona Daily Wildcat. The junior majoring in journalism and English is back for his fourth semester at the Wildcat after a yearlong hiatus he spent interning at the Arizona Daily Star.
By Aubrey McDonnell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
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Brett Fera, current editor in chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, will be handing over the reins to his best friend and the best man for the job, Aaron Mackey.

Mackey, a man who has "worn many hats" at the Wildcat, said he dreamed of becoming editor in chief of the Wildcat from day one, and his dream will come true this fall as he prepares to take over the position.

Mackey, a junior majoring in journalism and English, said he started working at the newspaper in spring 2003 as a page designer because the news desk was not hiring. He made a lasting impression and became the assistant news editor one year later.

"I've been interested in newspapers since I was in high school; I was the EIC of my high school newspaper," Mackey said. "I love print, I love news and I love communicating. I really care about this campus and the Wildcat is a big part of the students' lives whether they realize it or not."

Fera and Mackey said they both had aspirations to become the Wildcat's head honcho from the beginning.

"He and I have talked about this for years and we actually joked about working for each other," said Fera, a journalism and communication senior.

Since Mackey has been an intern at the Arizona Daily Star for the past year, he never worked for Fera, but he said he hopes his experiences there will help with his editorship.

"Working at the Star was an awesome experience. There is a lot of increased deadline pressure but I really enjoyed it," Mackey said. "I am looking forward to the challenge of producing a daily paper at the Wildcat next semester."

Mark Woodhams, adviser of Arizona Student Media, said it is a little unusual for someone to be off staff for a year and then come back to become the editor in chief.

"It's not that customary for someone to 'get off the bus,' so to speak," Woodhams said. "The value of his internship at the Star and the work he had done in previous years for the Wildcat made him an excellent candidate for the editorship."

Woodhams said in addition to experience, Mackey displayed a lot of vision for what he would like the Wildcat to be next fall.

"Aaron always had some star quality to him. Even as a freshman he was someone you look at as the future EIC," Woodhams said. "He's obviously thought a lot about the job and he'll do well at it."

Fera said he is not worried about the future of the Wildcat because he trusts Mackey's experience will do nothing but better the newspaper.

"I know this place is going to be in good hands with Aaron," Fera said. "I knew from day one that eventually he'd take over."

Mackey said next semester he plans to stay actively engaged in the UA community and hopes to refocus the Wildcat for the students.

"I am looking forward to interacting with the campus community and different student groups on campus," Mackey said. "There is this myth that the Wildcat is anti-greek and anti-ASUA, which I don't believe is true. I think if you sit down and really talk to people with these concerns, what they will find is that the paper is just doing its job of being critical and publishing stories that people need to know."

Mackey said he hopes his effort will keep the Wildcat newsworthy and entertaining.

"Seeking out stories on our campus that matter to our community is really important," Mackey said. "We need to re-dedicate ourselves to our campus and our readers."

Fera said he is confident in the work his best friend will do for the paper next year.

"He knows what a newspaper should look like, so I'm excited to see the new style he'll give to the paper," Fera said.

Woodhams said he is looking forward to working with Mackey next semester.

"He worked hard to learn more about the Wildcat," he said. "He has some good ideas and I look forward to working with him to help make the paper as good as it can be."

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