The Round Up is back; Goodbye to the Best College Job


I walked into The Round Up offices on August 17, 2015, simply looking to do something I loved. Just one day removed from moving into the dorms for the first time, my 18-year-old self, after being hired on the spot to be a sportswriter, never imagined that just a day later, I would be covering Division I athletics for a school newspaper. That game was a soccer match, NMSU vs. UNM.  I remember walking back to my dorm room, writing up a recap, and, five hours after the game ended that included having written different leads, asking my roommate Anthony to look it over as I would start to make a habit of doing, and genuinely being confused that my high school journalism class didn’t better equip me for this, I submitted it.

The story posted, bad picture and all. My coverage of the event was bad, my questions and article were even worse. That didn’t matter. I remember sending it to my friends, my parents, sisters, my girlfriend, anyone – this was a big deal.

A few days later I was sitting at a volleyball game covering NMSU against a ranked Oklahoma team and decided, for the first time, I could add something The Round Up was lacking – a sports Twitter. Sitting there at that game on my laptop, @roundup_sports was born – I tweeted to a following of about five people for the first weekend of its existence, making sure there were no typos, and everything was professional. It later struck me that was the first time I realized I could be helping The Round Up, then called the monthly magazine Oncore, in more ways than just following the status quo.

I was excited to go to my bosses and try to pitch them ideas, meet our executive director, get as involved as possible – I mean, after all, this was the same newspaper I had had my eye on since I was a senior in high school to work at, the longest-running student organization on campus.

What became clear over the next few weeks and months, The Round Up was dead, an office that did not seem to have joy in its writing, bosses that many people only saw in passing, no consistent meetings or goals, deadlines missed – I realized I was working at a dying publication. Over the course of the following months, I absorbed as much information as I could from what we once had been, the campus watchdog, a place to be informed – something that was authentic.

Walking into the Editor-in-Chief position in May of 2016, I, now being on the new management team, knew the year before had to change. We had to revive this thing. I thought this was going to be via print – cranking out a weekly publication in print and everyone would simply read it because how could they not?

Fast forward a few months, I remember one December issue we put out that had the completely wrong font for one of our covers and it was essentially unreadable. I was ready to call this whole thing quits – too much work, too much stress, no one read us, the prints had less than 500 reads a month and online just over 1,000 views (which is pretty bad).

I remember coming back in Spring 2017 with a new purpose – let’s finish these contracts we had with the prints and do something risky, uncharted and break from tradition – let’s cut print. Well, one year later, about a quarter million unique page views, three times the articles, and one restored publication later – I wonder what ever took us so long. With all this being said, in my time here, I have seen every side of The Round Up, rock bottom, even deeper rock bottom, rebuild, retool, gradual steps, foundation set, blossoming. Simply put, The Round Up is back.

Not only in our coverage (returning to our core of reporting on government and being a watchdog, this school so desperately needs right now) but in our own confidence in ourselves. The staff this year has been amazing to work with, and I could go on and on naming every writer, photographer, designer, ad rep and coworker, but most of all, everyone, from the bad bosses 2 years ago, to the best workers this year – we all contributed, we were all necessary for the next person.

As I am leaving The Round Up in what now really feels like the three fastest years I could ever have imagined, I leave it most of all thankful. Thankful for my friends and family that were at times my only readers, my best friend Chelsea for being my voice of reason when I was a 19 year old leading a staff all older than me, to even my roommates I’ve had for letting me come back to dorm rooms filled with laughter and not work-related talk. Most of all, I’m thankful to my God, in his infinite wisdom and glory, for allowing me to lead this historic entity on campus and make an impact I know will be echoed for years with this new product.

With that being said, the young 18-year-old that was excited about his first article is now graduating, but the excitement hasn’t waned, in fact, it’s probably at an all-time high. Next year’s cast, under the leadership of Derek, Alanna, and Ch’Ree, will take this product and its coverage to new heights, ones I truly believe this place has not seen for a long time. I now join the countless others before me in the alumni of The Round Up, blessed enough to call The Round Up home during their college career.

I would encourage everyone to check out all of the awesome work we have done this year under our Editor’s tab and continue to check back here during the summer for some coverage. The Round Up will be back full time starting in August 2018, ready to take on the next big story. I know the next generation will make the groundwork we have laid not only worth it but necessary. As I have always thought here, you never know what young 18-year-old that just moved into their dorm wanting to make a difference here, will walk through that door. For the final time as the Editor-in-Chief, this is Albert Luna reminding you to keep your ears to the ground and continue to write your own story.

Albert Luna was the Editor-in-Chief of The Round Up from May 2016 – May 2018.

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