Looking Back at “Mount Rushmore”

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In the late 1980’s, there were no dorms or fraternities at New York Institute of Technology’s Old Westbury campus. The majority of NYIT students drove in for their first class and drove home immediately after their last class. The sports teams and a few clubs were the only on-campus student activity when classes weren’t in session.

There were also the few that chose to join the journalism “fraternity” housed in the damp “dorm” in the basement of Balding House known as The Campus Slate. We were drawn to the Slate for various reasons. Some of us had aspirations of a career in journalism, while others just wanted a soapbox to shout from. Whatever the motivation, we came together each weekend, often working overnight on Sunday, in the common cause of putting out the Campus Slate every Monday morning.

We had the great fortune to be guided by Faculty Advisor Edward Guiliano, who was then NYIT’s English Department Chairman. Ed’s experience as an author and contributor to the New York Times provided us with the real world leadership we needed. Dr. Guiliano motivated us to follow our instincts, while gently correcting our missteps. I remember Dr. Guiliano looking over my shoulder and wincing while reading a review of a Talking Heads album I was writing, but allowing my liberties with the English language “because it was a feature.”

Our Editor-in-Chief was the intrepid Kevin Horton. Without Kevin’s dedication to the Slate, it might not have made it to the 50th Anniversary we now celebrate. From his tireless work producing the Slate during my tenure, to now serving as the Slate’s Faculty Advisor, Kevin has a prominent place on the Slate’s “Mount Rushmore.”

Our sports editor Marshall Katz had a “real world” accomplice in gathering news. Ray Karczewski, shortstop of the Bears baseball team, would come directly off the field, still in his grass stained uniform, sometimes still chewing tobacco, and type the recap of the game directly into the Slate’s typesetting system from memory. That scene was remarkably like ESPN’s ads in which athletes roam their production offices.

While we were a “technology” school, the resources available to us in the 80’s were somewhat limited. Fax machines and the Internet were for big businesses only. Articles submitted to the Slate were either dot matrix printouts that needed to be typed in manually, or submitted on 5.25″ floppy discs that were often formatted incorrectly. We were also the last Campus Slate to manually “paste up” the paper, waxing the back of the pages and cutting with exacto knives to shape the articles, before desktop publishing made that an obsolete art. I remember driving John Flansburgh of alternative band “They Might be Giants” crazy, because I couldn’t figure out how to stop the answering machine I was recording our interview on from beeping every 20 seconds. In short, production of the Slate in the 80’s was a lesson in improvisation and perseverance.

But persevere we did, and at the Newsday School Journalism awards in 1989, we were the most decorated college newspaper on Long Island. I remember being most proud of the awards we shared as a team, as the dedication to task and camaraderie it took to produce the Slate every week made us the best “fraternity” I could ever imagine joining.

Congratulations to the Slate on your 50th Anniversary. I’m proud to have been a small part of the Slate’s history.

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Looking Back at “Mount Rushmore”