The Daily Californian elected campus junior Soofie Motamedi as its next editor in chief April 9.
Motamedi, who has been working for the Daily Cal since spring 2017, is studying integrative biology and minoring in English. Motamedi said she came to UC Berkeley as an intended premed student and that joining the Daily Cal, where she has “corrected grammar and headlines,” has been her chance to branch out.
Motamedi has spent the entirety of her time at the Daily Cal working for the night department. After working as a copy editor for three semesters, she transitioned into working as an assistant night editor for two semesters. According to 2018-19 Editor in Chief Harini Shyamsundar, the night department represents the “last line of defense against libel” and the “final check of everything that goes into the paper.” As a night editor, Motamedi has been “diligent and detail-oriented,” according to Daily Cal Creative Director Victoria Do.
“It’s important to make sure that what we’re putting out there is factual and is not libelous,” Motamedi said.
One of Motamedi’s strengths is her awareness of how every department produces content, Shyamsundar said, who added that Motamedi’s experience as a night editor shows her dedication and exemplifies her knowledge of challenges across editorial departments. Do agreed that the night department has given Motamedi a “functioning knowledge of how different departments interact.”
The editor in chief is in charge of managing the publication’s resources, cutting content and fielding both staff and community feedback. The largest challenges of an editor in chief, however, are those that are unanticipated, according to Shyamsundar. She added that Motamedi’s eagerness to learn will aid her success in this position. Do agreed that Motamedi is capable and will adapt quickly to her new role.
In her platform, Motamedi highlighted her goals of increasing transparency among different departments, working on retention and improving diversity. The ways in which newsrooms organize and present content are changing on a national scale, according to Shyamsundar, which is something the editor in chief should acknowledge. With this in mind, Motamedi hopes to balance revenues while maintaining the mission of the Daily Cal as a print publication.
“Their biggest priority should be that the staff who’s putting this paper together has the resources and the knowledge to succeed. … I think her platform shows that she’s pretty committed to that,” Shyamsundar said.
According to Chantelle Lee, the managing editor of the Daily Cal, Motamedi’s “nuanced perspective” will help her balance the priorities and practicalities of a print publication.
“She has such love and passion for this paper that she’ll make sure that everyone else feels the same way,” Lee said.