By Ryan McFadden
From soft-spoken book lover to editor-in-chief of the Stroud Courier, the trajectory of Yaasmeen Piper’s professional career features boundless potential and attained achievement.
Piper is currently a sophomore at East Stroudsburg University, majoring in English and concentrating in professional media writing.
She has a passion for journalism and a dedication to improvement. Piper was awarded the Robert C. Walker III Scholarship last Tuesday for her journalistic efforts over the past year.
Starting in second grade, the desire to imagine and write stories exemplified Piper’s public-school experience. She was a huge fan of the “Goosebumps” series. Reading those books influenced the style of storytelling that first attracted the new editor-in-chief to journaling.
“We would have ‘journal time’ and we were supposed to write about how our day was,” said Piper. “Instead I wrote fictional stories about ghosts in the school and the teachers actually being zombies.”
These early interests helped shape the young writer’s identity in the classroom as a dreamer, and deep thinker.
They also directed her intellectual pursuits toward journalism. Soft-spoken, and in love with books, Piper found that her voice expressed on the blank page fits naturally with her personality.
“I was always a bit soft-spoken and writing finally gave me a voice,” said Piper. “Through journalism I feel as though I can give others a voice as well or at least give them a platform to share their story.”
Piper was elected editor-in-chief of the Stroud Courier by the club’s members and will assume full responsibilities starting next semester.
Currently, Piper is assistant editor-in-chief to Samantha Werkheiser, a graduating senior who spent the past year in the Courier’s highest position, training Piper along the way.
“There is truly no better fit for this position than Yaasmeen, ” Werkheiser said. “Her leadership and journalism skills have grown so much in her time here. She is an extremely passionate and intelligent individual. The Stroud Courier will be in good hands, and I’m sure she’ll continue to do great things with the paper.”
Piper believes the Stroud Courier is in the perfect position to deliver breaking news to the students of East Stroudsburg University.
Establishing the Courier as a “go-to place for campus news” is one of the objectives Piper seeks to accomplish in her time as Editor-in-Chief.
She also sees ESU’s student paper as the premier platform for its students to show their writing skills.
“Students witness everything first hand so sometimes students are the ones who discover the breaking news,” said Piper.
“What I hope for the Stroud Courier is that it becomes a go-to place for campus news and a place for student to show their writing skills.”
The skills Piper brings to the Editor-in-Chief position have been developed over a lifetime of reading and writing.
A knack for delving through details and analyzing critical nuances within written stories have always been staples of Piper’s repertoire.
The aspiring journalist’s reading schedule includes at least 40 books per year. Now at the Stroud Courier, Piper’s potential is being fulfilled, one issue at a time.
“I was the former A&E Editor, so I know how the newspaper works,” said Piper. “I also worked with all the editors before, so I know their vices and virtues. I also have a lot of experience in writing and editing so I can make sure not only does our paper look good, but our writers are learning as well.”
On the grounds of a college campus, in a nation where social justice issues are widely publicized, a student paper can represent the voices of students the rest of the nation might not have heard from, yet.
The responsibilities held by the press in this situation are taken with great esteem by Piper.
Over the past semester as Assistant editor-in-chief, Piper has written stories such as, “Welsh Apologizes to Davis-Boone, Suspects in Stabbing Now Identified and Queens of Color Tackle Societal Issues: Students Create Support Group for Black Women”.
Overall, Piper covers a diverse range of news topics. Piper is now the third woman in a row to manage the Stroud Courier from the editor-in-chief position.
She follows a long-line of dedicated editors hoping to find work in the changing landscape of journalism. Piper hopes to work for either the New York Times, New Yorker or Teen Vogue/Vogue after graduating from ESU. Balancing classes with editor-in-chief duties takes time but Piper has her priorities set and her objectives identified.
“I really love the Stroud Courier and for me it always comes first, and I think the editors really see that,” said Piper. “I want what’s best for the paper but also for my editors and writers.”
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