Handing over the paper

Video posted April 23, 2012 in News by Katie Montgomery


When Lexi Belculfine accepted the job as Editor-in-Chief at Penn State's student-run newspaper, The Daily Collegian, she knew it would be a huge time commitment. Spending most of her nights at the office, Belculfine said she doesn't have the time she would like to devote to her classes or her social life but that's fine with her.

"I’m also a full time student,” Belculfine said. “I try to wake up at eight in the morning, I go to class, I try to get to the gym and then come into the office between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. depending on what kind of homework I have.

Everything that happens between 5 p.m. and midnight is when the paper actually gets done.”Lexi screenshot

With her senior year coming to the end and an impressive portfolio of successful Collegian experience, Belculfine will move on to The Pittsburgh Post Gazette as a copy editor, leaving the newly elected Editor-in-Chief, Casey McDermott, with big shoes to fill.

After initially applying for the position in early February — a big promotion from her job as managing editor — McDermott began going through the application and interview process until she was chosen as the next Editor-in-Chief in late March.
“I had to put together a leadership proposal with ideas for the Collegian in the coming year,” McDermott said. “[The Board of Directors] treats it very much like a job application because you are essentially applying for the job to lead the paper. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

McDermott beat out one other candidate for the position and began shadowing Belculfine to learn what to expect in the upcoming year.

After months of “Boot Camp,” McDermott’s new position takes effect at 6:15 p.m. on April 27, the final day of publishing under the Belculfine empire.

“I think it still has yet to sink in fully,” McDermott said. “It’s been surreal for me because when I started at the Collegian I was very timid — I was scared to dial on the Collegian phones or ask for help if I didn’t know how to do something.

It’s strange to be in this position now, where people think of me as a role model.”

When everything changed

Belculfine’s advice to McDermott is to be the “mama bear.” She found that being the overbearing mother figure was her recipe for success when dealing with the unexpected events that fell into her lap during the Sandusky scandal, which rocked the university and college sports programs as a whole.

On November 4, 2011, Jerry Sandusky was indicted for 40 counts of sexually molesting minors. Penn Staters were blind-sighted by the accusations as dozens of media outlets swarmed State College in hopes of being the first to capture the devastating news story.

Behind all the expensive news equipment and flashy news vans stood the Collegian, faithfully reporting to the students as it has for the past 125 years.

After months of what many people consider the best coverage of the scandal, Belculfine proudly displays the Collegian news fronts of those dark days across her office walls, as a reminder of the early mornings and all-nighters spent in the basement of 123 Burrows Avenue.