Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

New editor, a newsroom changemaker

Laci Barrow
Spring 2024 editor in chief of The Maroon leads meeting with news team.

Maleigh Crespo has achieved many firsts in her life, such as chartering her high school’s first newspaper and now becoming the first Afro-Latina woman to serve as Editor-in-Chief for The Maroon.

Crespo is a junior majoring in English with a minor in journalism, and she is obtaining her teacher certification with a goal to go forth and teach others. Growing up in south Mississippi, Crespo always had a passion for art, but it was through writing that she discovered her potential.

She attended The Mississippi School of the Arts, where she was accepted for creative writing. During high school, Crespo received positive feedback and recognition for her work, which was often published.

“It was required for us to write every day and to submit our work to be published. I started getting published and winning awards for things,” she said. “I didn’t even know what good writing was. I was new to it all, and that is where I got my start,” Crespo said.

Crespo had a passion for creative writing but soon found herself wanting to discuss what was happening in the world and share the stories of her community.

“I feel like with creative writing, you focus more on your personal journey, but I wanted to incorporate news and what was going on. I didn’t even know what journalism was, I never found myself wanting to be a reporter, but I just knew that I wanted to talk about things that were bigger than myself,” she said.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic during her senior year, Crespo started a digital school newspaper to document moments in time and highlight the community’s experiences.

“I learned how to make a website in my bedroom on a Chromebook that I rented from the school and began to write stories, not just about the pandemic but the community around me,” she said.

When applying for colleges, Loyola, and more specifically, The Maroon immediately caught Crespo’s attention.

“When I found Loyola and discovered The Maroon, I was like, ‘this is where I am going to be,’” she said.

At the start of her freshman year, her dedication to writing was evident to The Maroon staff when her opinion article about the representation of plus-size women in the media went viral.

“It got like 10,000 views in under three days. I think this really helped people to see how serious I was about writing,” she said. “They asked me to apply for the opinion and editorial editor position for the spring semester of my freshman year.”

Throughout her time at The Maroon, Crespo has held various positions and made it her goal to involve students of color in the newspaper. She realized the importance of representing underrepresented communities on campus and used her platform to highlight their stories.

One of Crespo’s achievements was covering a week-long Black History Month program called “The Reunion,” despite initial resistance from some staff members. Her efforts resulted in positive feedback from the community.

“I had so many [Black] students coming up to me, saying ‘thank you for putting us on the front page,’ she said. “Students were able to finally see themselves on the front page and feel seen for their positive work on campus.”

This moment helped Crespo realize that she could create change at The Maroon.

“This fueled a fire in me. And that’s when I was like, ‘I am going to be Editor in Chief, and I am going to make a difference and be a representative of all these communities on this campus,’” Crespo said.

When it came time to run, she admits there was a moment of self-doubt, but she hoped her commitment to the newspaper was evident to her peers, even the ones who were just getting involved.

“There are a lot of freshman and sophomore staff members. And I felt like I was sort of the only person who had the experience of what we used to be and now knows what we have become and how we have grown,” Crespo said. “I have done pretty much all the positions, so I knew that I had the experience and passion for this new role.”

Crespo said she hoped to be a mentor to the incoming staff members.

“The Maroon is currently going through a post-pandemic transition. When I started, it was all seniors, and they all graduated. And since then, we have been trying to rebuild the organization and rebrand from being known as exclusive to inclusive for all students,” she said.

Crespo is aware of the challenges that BIPOC student writers face in The Maroon. Her goal is to rewrite the narrative of The Maroon being a toxic work environment and promote it to be a safe space for all, but especially BIPOC students.

The one thing Crespo is most excited about is bringing back The Wolf Magazine, which hasn’t published since 2020.

She said she’s heard almost every Editor in Chief since then has mentioned bringing back, but it is never done.

“I am not one of those people that talks to talk. This is something that I am going to bring back for the community,” she said.

Crespo is focused on bridging the gap between Loyola students and the newspaper.

“I feel like The Maroon has this very exclusive brand, and I think we are starting to move away from that,” she said. “I do understand that we have a one-hundred-year legacy, but that does not mean that people cannot come and work with us – whether you are a journalism major or not. I want us to continue being a diverse newsroom with students who are representative of our entire campus,” she said.

And as one of the first few Black female Editors-in-Chief, Crespo is more than determined to make a difference and pave the way for future BIPOC Editors-in-Chief.

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About the Contributors
Blakeley Cathey
Blakeley Cathey, Assistant Equity and Inclusion Officer
Blakeley Cathey is the current assistant equity and inclusion officer. She enjoys writing about topics that focus and share the interest of BIPOC students on campus. She is originally from Los Angeles, Ca but is a resident of Baton Rouge, La. If she is not at The Maroon, you can catch her in the SGA hub as the senator for music and media or working with the NAACP as the Second Vice President.
Laci Barrow
Laci Barrow, Photo Editor
Laci Barrow currently serves as The Maroon's Photo Editor. Laci is a junior mass communication major focusing on public relations and minoring in marketing. She loves connecting with her community through the art of storytelling. Outside of the Maroon, you can find Laci scoping out spots to take great landscape pictures and weightlifting. For inquiries, reach out to Laci via email at [email protected]

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    Cornelia BrossetteFeb 19, 2024 at 10:51 pm

    Congratulations to the new Editor-in-Chief and kudos for the staff writer who did an amazing job of highlighting the achievements of the new Chief.