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East Lansing Info's new managing editor talks the future of the publication

headshot of Julie Seraphinoff, smiling at the camera.
Dylan Lees
/
East Lansing Info
Julie Seraphinoff.

After several months on pause, East Lansing Info began publishing news again a few weeks ago.

The outlet also has a new editor at the helm.

Julie Seraphinoff recently retired from teaching at Haslett High School and has worked at several papers across the county including the Lansing State Journal.

WKAR's Sophia Saliby talked with her about the future of the publication.

Interview Highlights

On how she got the job

I taught high school journalism, and I was a working journalist prior to that, MSU School of Journalism grad, all of that. I've always loved community journalism, and I really felt like that's what I was doing with the high school kids. They were covering their community, and so I was their advisor, their coach through all of that. And so after retiring, I kind of felt like something might come my way that would allow me to use my skills and make a difference in my community. And lo and behold, the managing editor job posting came up for ELi, and I decided to go for it.

On some of the stories she's watching

I think the policing story has a lot of people engaged and is important to our community. Development in our city is huge. I mean, I came here in 1978, and it certainly looks different now with the, you know, the big buildings and so just keeping people informed about that. People want to know about their schools. They want to know what's going on at city council. They want to be updated by all of that, the various commissions and keeping people informed.

On the importance of community journalism

I think an informed citizenry is a more empowered citizenry. And that is what we're looking at, not to advocate, not to take sides. It's to provide information: East Lansing Info, so that our community goes into the issues making decision, and feeling more empowered by being informed, and I think that that's such a crucial, crucial role of community journalism.

Interview Transcript

Sophia Saliby: After several months on pause, East Lansing Info began publishing news again a few weeks ago.

The outlet also has a new editor at the helm.

Julie Seraphinoff recently retired from teaching at Haslett High School and has worked at several papers across the country including the Lansing State Journal.

She joins me now. Thank you for being here.

Julie Seraphinoff: Thank you for having me, Sophia.

Saliby: What made you want to take on this new role after retiring from teaching?

Seraphinoff: I taught high school journalism, and I was a working journalist prior to that, MSU School of Journalism grad, all of that. I've always loved community journalism, and I really felt like that's what I was doing with the high school kids.

They were covering their community, and so I was their advisor, their coach through all of that. And so after retiring, I kind of felt like something might come my way that would allow me to use my skills and make a difference in my community.

It fits in well with me being retired, and it's getting me back into being involved in my community and doing what I've always loved.

And lo and behold, the managing editor job posting came up for ELi, and I decided to go for it. It fits in well with me being retired, and it's getting me back into being involved in my community and doing what I've always loved.

Saliby: Can you talk about what's changed about East Lansing Info after its publishing hiatus?

Seraphinoff: They regrouped, basically. They wanted to bring on, you know, somebody like myself with a journalism background, potentially. So, it's been just getting back out there into the community.

Alice Dreger, the publisher, says that myself, and we have another young man working with us, Lucas Day, He's city editor. We're both journalism grads and have worked in journalism, and the board and Alice and other writers are appreciative of that.

Because we do, we come at it with just really wanting to be dedicated to in-depth coverage, analysis of what's going on in the community and affecting our citizens, our residents, so that they understand and can make informed decisions and feel like they are engaged in their city government, in the arts and culture, in people. And so, I don't know that much has changed.

It's just been really dedicated to wanting to not feel like we have to do the breaking news, post a story every day. We want to go for substance, quality and really provide readers in-depth information.

It's just been really dedicated to wanting to not feel like we have to do the breaking news, post a story every day. We want to go for substance, quality and really provide readers in-depth information.

Saliby: What big stories are you looking ahead to that you think are important to East Lansing residents?

Seraphinoff: Well, I think the policing story has a lot of people engaged and is important to our community. Development in our city is huge. I mean, I came here in 1978, and it certainly looks different now with the, you know, the big buildings and so just keeping people informed about that.

People want to know about their schools. They want to know what's going on at city council. They want to be updated by all of that, the various commissions and keeping people informed.

I also am looking forward to highlighting individuals in our community, those with interesting stories and making a difference.

I think an informed citizenry is a more empowered citizenry.

Saliby: I want to end our conversation by kind of returning to what we started with which was community journalism. What kind of role do you see ELi in the community?

Seraphinoff: I think an informed citizenry is a more empowered citizenry. And that is what we're looking at, not to advocate, not to take sides.

It's to provide information: East Lansing Info, so that our community goes into the issues making decision, and feeling more empowered by being informed, and I think that that's such a crucial, crucial role of community journalism.

Saliby: Julie Seraphinoff is the managing editor of East Lansing Info. Thank you for joining me.

Seraphinoff: Thank you, Sophia. It's been a pleasure.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Sophia Saliby is the local producer and host of All Things Considered, airing 4pm-7pm weekdays on 90.5 FM WKAR.
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