By Zainab Iqbal
Published: May 17th, 2017
In the crook of Roosevelt Hall, just past the security desk, lies room 118. And it’s not hard to miss. Just look up, and an old blue sign will stare back. Walk a little farther, and a mountain of newspapers will await. To the left, will be a door with a few papers taped on. It is the office of one of the campus newspapers—The Kingsman, “The Voice of Brooklyn College Since 1950.”
The Kingsman prints every Tuesday, with a huge photo on the front page accompanying a catchy headline: Murky Results, No Sense of Relief, Berning for Graduation, Criminal Record, and the most recent— The Man Who Keeps the Chimes on Time. Their top investigative stories are usually written and reported by either Managing Digital Editor Paul Frangipane, Editor-In-Chief Dylan Campbell, or Managing News Editor Derek Norman.
The first change? Two of them will be graduating on May 30. The second? The Kingsman’s advisor, Professor Paul Moses, is retiring.
“Both Paul and Derek are going to be missed. They do a lot of work that has been really vital to the paper, and the investigative stuff has been huge for us,” Campbell said. “As for Professor Moses, he is always there for guidance, giving us story ideas, and a sense of direction when things get complicated. He’s like our number one fan. If he likes the issue, even if it was hell making it, it feels a little bit better.”
Moses, a 1975 Brooklyn College alum and a Journalism professor, has been the advisor to The Kingsman since 2001, excluding a couple of years.
“My most constant advice over the years has been to keep it focused on news of the campus and CUNY. Our audience can read about the Mets or the latest Hollywood flick elsewhere,” Moses said. “Our current editors have done really well in keeping it local. That hasn’t always been the case over the years, and that’s fine too. I’m just an advisor — it’s the students’ paper, 100 percent!”
Though these changes will affect The Kingsman for a while, the staff believes they will get through it.
“Professor Moses was an incredible advisor because anytime I would walk up to his office, the door would be open and there would be an empty chair for me to just sit down and let loose any idea or question I would have,” Norman said. “And he would take the time to answer any of those questions and talk me through it, until I decided to stand up and say ‘alright, thank you.’”
On an average day, Norman can be seen quickly walking somewhere— whether it’s to interview a student, or to hang out in Moses’ office—but no matter what the occasion is, there’s a notepad sticking out of the right back pocket of his pants. After all, he’s a journalist.
Norman has held his position at The Kingsman for two semesters. He is a Journalism major, who wanted to practice reporting at a paper which covered things that were significant to the campus community. As managing news editor, he writes and reports, as well as edits every piece which runs in the paper. He believes that The Kingsman has evolved in many ways from the past year.
“I think that every student, every member of The Kingsman brings a piece of themselves to the team; and inevitably, that shifted the direction that The Kingsman takes, because now it encapsulates all of our personalities,” Norman said. “The paper now fixates more on social justice issues, cultural issues, and administrative issues. It magnifies what’s most important to the BC community, as opposed to before when it was events here and there, the occasional feature on somebody, which read more like a magazine.”
Before Frangipane, The Kingsman lacked its online presence. It had a website but it was not operable. Frangipane believed the paper “needed to join the 21st century,” which is why he taught himself how to create and work a website. He created his own position. But as well as managing the digital realm, he works on strong investigative pieces—most of them landing on the front page.
“It’s the importance of digging up things that should be dug out,” Frangipane said.
“Clery Act Requires Less Crimes Reported Than Reality,” is his favorite piece in which he reported on the Clery Act—a federal law which requires colleges to disclose its crime statistics. He had found out that Hunter College publishes its daily crime log online, but Brooklyn College did not do the same. So he went out to search for the truth. And that is exactly what he found.
“A month after I published the article, they put up the daily crime logs,” Frangipane said. “And that was such an incredible feeling.”
Before Norman and Frangipane arrived, there was Campbell and Business Manager Ashley Matos; and things were quite different.
“It was me and Dylan doing all of the work before,” Matos said. “And when they came, things started to go uphill.”
Campbell has been the editor-in-chief for two years—next year will be her third. She is also a Journalism major and joined The Kingsman as a freshman when the staff at the time was looking for a layout editor. She applied and got the position, as she knew how to work Adobe InDesign.
“I remember freshman year; it was kind of hit or miss if we were even going to make four pages of content,” Campbell said. “We were doing half-page pictures, and it was not meeting what we needed to meet.”
Soon enough, people began to graduate and a new leader was needed. Since Campbell was the most “senior person there, liked the work [they] were doing, and didn’t want The Kingsman to end,” she said, she took the position as editor-in-chief. And as a leader for three years, Campbell has worked hard to turn the paper into what it is now. In fact, Norman calls her “the anchor of the paper.”
“There have been weeks which we’ve never had before where we have too much stuff, or we’re squeezing things in, which is a really amazing feeling,” Campbell said. “We’re also eight pages now and in color. And addition to those aesthetic things, we’re a larger paper. We’re covering more stuff; pieces that our writers care about, content we think student’s care about.”
As The Kingsman is facing a similar situation to the one three years ago, Campbell believes it is only temporary.
“I think there are going to be tough shoes to fill just because we love Paul and Derek so much,” Campbell said, “but I think that it’s going to be good to get people who are interested in that kind of reporting, and allow them to grow. And they’re might be some issues, but in the end people will fill that role.”
Norman also believes The Kingsman should continue to do what it’s doing now.
“One of my fears is that it won’t take reporting as seriously as it does now. So I’m afraid that it will stop holding the administration accountable for things like infrastructure issues, budgeting—everything,” Norman said. “I think right now we’re doing a good job, and are shining light on issues that otherwise are unspoken of.”
Currently, Campbell is searching for students to fill the empty roles for next Fall—such as the Features editor position since the current editor Danielle Kogan is taking a hiatus. Though Kogan, a freshman, is taking a break to try some new things, such as the radio station, she credits Frangipane and Norman to helping her learn about journalism.
“It’s actually Paul that helped me find initial confidence in writing, and Derek that really broke down and explained the form of writing a piece,” Kogan said. “They’re incredibly good at explaining both what to do and what needs fixing, and I wonder how the paper will do without them. They truly reflected the broad spectrum of possibilities offered by the program, and inspired me to look into it myself.”
During the summer, Campbell will be speaking with staff writers who have shown promise, as well as stockpiling story ideas to work on next Fall.
And two days after graduation, Norman will walk into a building on the west side of Midtown Manhattan. He will be a news assistant at The New York Times.
“I don’t think I would’ve ever gained the experience that I have now, or the confidence in my skills as a journalist without The Kingsman,” Norman said. “I hope to do what I’m doing now, but on a bigger scale; a platform of a wider range,” Norman said. “And eventually I hope to write things that will impact the world in a positive way.”
Frangipane will be working full time at The Daily Eagle covering crime and courts.
“If it weren’t for The Kingsman, I certainly don’t think I’d have a job, be a good writer, have connections,” Frangipane said. “I originally wanted to be an international reporter—and I still do. But, now I am inspired and energized to report on this city that I owe everything to.”
Moses will go back to what he did before teaching—continuing to write. He will also be working on a new book. His job will be taken by Professor Anthony Mancini, the director of the journalism program.
“I think The Kingsman keeps going no matter what. We might not do our best work, but we’ll still be here trying to pull through,” Matos said. “After all, we got these two boys who wanted to fight the world.”