After wrapping up his last semester with El Vaquero, former Editor-in-Chief Iain Morton reflects on his time on the staff, calling it, “one of the best experiences of [his] life,” as he passes his position to newly- appointed editor Jennifer Bernardo.
Giving up his job to come back to school, Morton enrolled at Glendale Community College in the fall of 1998. With no intentions of pursuing any kind of career in journalism, Morton applied for work-study and received a position in the journalism department as an assistant to Peter Samore, El Vaquero’s editor-in-chief at the time.
Along with providing Samore with constant support and assistance, Morton soon took the role of entertainment editor in the fall of 1999, writing film reviews for the newspaper.
“I was so fascinated by the paper, I mean it all just clicked,” said Morton. “I saw a lot of opportunity.”
It was not until the spring of 1999, with just one semester of experience, that Morton was able to take on the position of editor-in-chief as well as the task to revamp the newspaper, in the wake of Samore’s wishes to step down.
“I was lucky because I had a year to read the newspaper out of the loop,” said Morton. “But I read it religiously so I saw all the inconsistencies.”
With the journalism department on the verge of being cancelled, Morton saw one last chance to prove the importance and respectability of the newspaper. Setting his goals high, Morton made a number of changes and advancements to the newspaper in his two years as editor-in-chief.
“I was stuffing mailboxes one day and I heard one teacher say `here comes another issue of `El Crapero’ and I thought actions speak louder than words,” said Morton. “It’s been an uphill battle.”
Among introducing a number of new beats like athlete spotlight, student spotlight, government, crime, music and film, Morton also re-sized the newspaper from broadsheet to a more convenient tabloid size. According to Morton, this made it easier for students on campus to keep the paper in their backpacks.
“News was important, but it needed to be fun,” said Morton. “[The paper] needed to be consistent and it needed a fresh look.”
Along with revamping the look of the newspaper, Morton also started a major campaign for advertisement and recruitment. Doubling the number of newsstands on campus as well as using kiosks around campus to advertise the paper, Morton stepped up the credibility of the paper in all his efforts. Backed by a supportive staff, the 24 issues under his direction never missed a deadline and saw color issues all throughout the spring of 2001.
“I am so proud of [the paper],” said Morton. “I think this is one of the most valuable things that the students own, and the most undervalued. I wouldn’t be doing the things I am today and I wouldn’t be who I am today without El Vaquero.”
Currently attending the University of Southern California as a double Communications and Journalism major, Morton has faith in Bernardo who is taking on the position of editor-in-chief. Joining the staff in the spring of 2001, she was always a key player according to Morton.
“I felt like she had the maturity and a lot of good gut instincts,” said Morton. “She was always on the ball and I’m really excited about her taking over.”
Morton, currently a staff writer for the Daily Trojan, attributes much of his success to journalism department head and El Vaquero adviser Michael Moreau.