Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

“To leave a lasting and strong Maroon”

Michael Giusti dedicates over 20 years to The Maroon
Anna Hummel
Director of Student Media Michael Giusti sits in the Palm Court reading an issue of The Maroon on Nov. 8, 2023. Giusti has been with The Maroon for over 20 years.

Each year, students enter the glass doors of The Maroon office, eager to join the organization. And each year, students in that office say goodbye to graduating seniors who spent their time at Loyola as members of The Maroon.

But this goodbye is not always forever. Current Director of Student Media at Loyola, Michael Giusti, has been part of the organization for over 20 years.

Giusti began his journey at Loyola in 1996 as a staff writer during his freshman year and he quickly grew within the organization. By the time his senior year arrived, he had become the Editor-in-Chief.

But Giusti’s time with the organization didn’t end once he received his diploma and crossed the stage at graduation. Just six years later, he would return, not as a writer or editor, but as advisor and professional in residence to The Maroon.

Liz Scott Monaghan, previous advisor for The Maroon during Giusti’s tenure as a student, recommended Giusti for this position in 2006 after putting in her own resignation. Monaghan’s belief in his abilities was so profound that she refused to resign unless the university selected him as her successor.

“She wanted The Maroon to be in good hands. And she knew that he was passionate about it and that he would do good things with it,” said Autumn Cafiero Giusti, Giusti’s wife and former colleague when he worked in The Maroon as an undergraduate.

This confidence Monaghan has in Giusti began while he was a student. During that time, Monaghan said Giusti consistently demonstrated a commitment to self-improvement.

According to Monaghan, he arrived with much to learn. Before joining Loyola, Giusti had limited experience with broadcast journalism, which was not offered at The Maroon at the time. And despite limited print journalism experience, Monaghan said he continued to show up and take on stories. This dedication left a lasting impression on both her and her colleagues in the field.

“When he was a student, you’d mark up a paper that he wrote and after he would come to you, not to challenge you, but to ask you to go over it with him so he could become a better writer,” she said. “That impressed all of us.”

Autumn also said while working with Giusti in The Maroon, she noticed this attitude, too. She said that even as a student, Giusti always worked in any aspect he could to improve the organization. This would show in his problem solving skills and helping students, adults, and professors in any way he could.

“He was always very much like a go-getter in the newsroom,” Autumn said. “He was always very driven and passionate about The Maroon. It was something that he really, kind of, identified with. It was part of his identity.”

Monaghan characterized Giusti’s tenure as Editor-in-Chief as one full of managerial precision, running the newsroom as a “tight ship.” But, even so, Autumn said he had a big presence in the office during this time and in doing so, the newsroom had placed their trust in him and he worked diligently to maintain that trust.

No matter how hard maintaining that trust could’ve been, Giusti reflected on his time as a student in the newsroom with positivity and joy.

“I definitely enjoyed my time and had a lot of fun. I was the leader and led the newsroom the best I could but definitely was having a lot of fun doing it,” Giusti said.

During his junior year, Giusti changed what was the The Wolf annual yearbook to a quarterly feature magazine of the same title. This transition was something Monaghan thought was a great idea and she admired Giusti for implementing.

The Wolf had been receiving a yearly budget for its once an academic year print. But during Giusti’s time as a student, the yearbook had lost popularity and, according to Autumn, he saw this as an opportunity to expand The Maroon from more than just a newspaper but rather to a news organization.

“He’s all about building systems. He’s very good at building systems and he saw this as a way we can become more of a publisher with multiple publications,” Autumn said

And now, as advisor, this system building has continued. Instead of just two different print publications, The Maroon has expanded and created a digital footprint with an app, social media presence, and a weekly broadcast, all of which have reached new heights under Giusti’s advising.

But the ways and extent to which The Maroon shares news aren’t the only impacts Giusti has had on the organization.

Ramon Antonio Vargas was Sports Editor for The Maroon when Guisti first arrived in the fall of 2006. Immediately, he was amazed by Giusti.

“I remember that first semester, I was struck on how he would be there until we were done and how he would always be there and was always available,” he said. “It struck me how dedicated he was.”

Vargas said Guisti came into the office and made efforts to instill a new culture, one he described as making The Maroon feel like a professional newsroom rather than a college club.

“I always admired how quickly he was able to install his culture there,” he said. “And because of that culture, I felt, one, that I was ready to belong, two, I was ready to really learn, and three, I was ready to contribute,” Vargas said.

Giusti still works to make this culture in the office. He actively tries to make sure the newsroom is a professional space and students are gaining experience.

“One of the quick ways to make me growl is when students go ‘well when I work for a real newspaper.’ I get very angry very fast because no, you are working for a real newsroom. Your community just happens to be a university,” Giusti said.

But Giusti couldn’t have done this on his own. Vargas said when Giusti first arrived as advisor, he struggled getting the newsroom to allow him to make efforts to improve the culture. The staff had been used to Monaghan’s running and weren’t always open to new ideas.

By Vargas’s junior year, he had become Editor-in-Chief, the second in that position since Giusti took over as advisor. And when he took this position, the culture shift of the office was able to flood in.

“He always says that he kind of felt like I was his first editor,” Vargas said. “He’s told me that I’ve helped speed along him putting in the culture he wanted to put in.”

It wasn’t just building systems and the professionalization of the office that made Giusti differ from advisors in the past.

Vargas noted Giusti was dedicated to giving the truth. He wouldn’t allow students to use being a student as an excuse to not produce the best work possible. He would critique stories and pages of the paper in order to help students grow.

Even if this was hard to take at times, Vargas said, Giusti would also be the biggest cheerleader anytime someone would win any kind of award or produce great content.

It was with this Giusti was able to build close relationships not only with Vargas but with many of the students he has had. Autumn noted these relationships as special.

“It’s kind of awe inspiring seeing how many students that he’s touched or changed their lives,” Autumn said. “I think he just puts his relationship with the students above all else.”

And it was with that relationship and this culture where Vargas felt he gained the experience he needed.

“By listening to him and working there, I felt like I belonged in the professional world,” Vargas said.

Advisor for The Maroon is not the only position Giusti holds on campus. He’s a professor and chairman for the mass communication department. With each of these positions, however, he said none is more important to him than the work he does with student media.

“It’s really why I come to work in the morning,” Giusti said. “I joke that if Loyola were to take away every other aspect of my job except for The Maroon I’d be perfectly happy, and if Loyola kept all aspects of my job in place and took away The Maroon, I’d quit tomorrow.”

But now, Giusti has realized, after 17 years of being advisor, and four years as a student, he is closer to the end of his time with The Maroon and Loyola than he is to the beginning.

This realization has led him to focus on preserving the office and making it more sustainable so The Maroon will carry on past him.

Doing this is the footprint in cement Giusti hopes to leave when he takes his final steps out of The Maroon office whenever the time comes.

“My legacy, I hope, is to leave a lasting and strong Maroon for generations to come,” Giusti said.

As the current editor of this paper, I want to add my own perspective on Michael Giusti’s invaluable contributions.

He’s been the guiding force behind The Maroon for over two decades, shaping it into what it is today. As a political science major, I may not have had a traditional journalism background, but Giusti believed in me and in the potential of our team. He’s the kind of leader who stays up until 1 am weekly to ensure our paper is printed properly, and he defends us when it matters most. At pivotal junctures, he has faced off with university presidents and even the archbishop, a testament to his unwavering devotion to our noble cause. Giusti has not only been an advisor but a mentor, teaching us valuable life skills that extend beyond the newsroom. His legacy is a lasting and strong Maroon for generations to come. – Patrick Hamilton

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About the Contributors
Kloe Witt
Kloe Witt, Managing Editor for Digital
Kloe Witt currently serves as The Maroon's Managing Editor for Digital. Kloe is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and environmental studies, though is interested in pursuing a career in media services for recreational therapy camps. In their free time, Kloe is usually watching Criminal Minds, listening to Taylor Swift, or reading new books. Kloe can be reached [email protected].
Anna Hummel
Anna Hummel, Photo Editor
Anna Hummel is excited for her position as Photo Editor. Anna is a senior mass communication major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in business analytics. She is passionate about telling stories through photos. In Anna’s free time she enjoys swimming, reading and art.

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