Hailing from San Diego, Arcelia Martin is all too familiar with the 1,000 mile stretch of freeway between Spokane and her home city. She also knows every nook and cranny of Florence, Italy, where she spent a semester abroad her sophomore year.
Infinitely curious and an explorer at heart, Martin will be telling the stories of all Zags in the fall as the incoming editor-in-chief of The Gonzaga Bulletin.
The Bulletin sat down with Martin to discuss her plans for the publication next year.
The Gonzaga Bulletin: How did you get involved in journalism and The Gonzaga Bulletin?
Arcelia Martin: I came into Gonzaga not thinking I was going to pursue journalism at all, and I was placed in Tracy Simmons’ 110 journalistic writing class, and I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with the way she talked about people, and the way she was constantly meeting different people and really respecting their stories and making sure she told them well, while also holding people accountable for what they’re doing, the people who are in power in our society.
Then a girl who works for our paper lived across the hall from me in CM, and I knew she worked on The Bulletin and so I just asked her how to get involved. Then one Monday I walked up all four flights of stairs in College Hall and I told the editor-in-chief at the time that I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I wanted to work here. And he just told me to take a seat, and I’ve been in love with this paper ever since.
GB: What does it mean to you to be the next editor-in-chief of The Bulletin?
AM: Everything. It’s the biggest honor I think I could ever ask for. Education is super important to me because my family sacrificed a lot so I could be well educated. So to get to lead something that promotes education for everyone and to be curious about other people and to see the world holistically, means the world to me.
GB: What changes to The Bulletin can students look forward to in an Arcelia Martin-led Bulletin?
AM: I think I’ve been really fortunate to have been set up by a succession of just amazing editors who I’ve also been friends with. So I think really building on their successes and figuring out what has worked for us and what hasn’t. So students can look forward to more in-depth stories, more stories about every experience at Gonzaga — that’s something that I really care a lot about — and just knowing that every Thursday they should pick up the paper because there’s something important in it, and there’s something they need to know in it.
GB: What is your favorite story you’ve written for The Bulletin?
AM: Well the most memorable story I wrote was actually my first story. I was a very nervous freshman and I took on this feature about this priest who had just been granted his citizenship and I was told to go interview him. And I sat down with him and we talked for six hours collectively over two days, and it took me so long to transcribe. But it was such a beautiful story and it was my first addiction to journalism.
This job means I get to sit down with people I don’t know. It’s a job of first dates. I get to have first dates with so many interesting and bright and colorful people. So after that I was sold. And it was on the front page and I remember it just being the biggest deal.
GB: What’s your least favorite story you’ve done?
AM: A story I was the most disappointed by, I spent weeks tracking down what happened to Hammy Mart, and I got nowhere with it and it is still my most read story on the website. And it’s four sentences saying I found nothing. But I think that was also the most fun I’ve ever had with a story, because I was calling the Washington State Board of Liquor and I was calling all these random numbers, and it was kind of my first bite into investigative journalism and I was like “This is so fun!”
GB: Why should students read The Bulletin?
AM: Students should read The Bulletin because students should care about the people around them, and what’s driving them, and what’s challenging them. Our publication does a great job of including so many different voices in our paper, and we’re continuing to work on that. And also asking the tougher questions and that’s something we’re going to continue doing. So students should read The Bulletin because they should want to learn. Journalism is this form of education in getting to learn about what’s happening around you and how people are being affected by it. So if anything, we’re in this community of learning and of lifelong curiosity. So I guess I encourage students to be curious.
GB: What have you learned from working at The Bulletin?
AM: I’ve learned there is so much more to every person than you think. I’ve learned that a lot in writing features, especially when it’s a kid’s name who I recognize, and getting to sit down and really hearing their story.
And just the trust people have in each other. They have no good reason to tell me their life story, but they do. And it’s because people care about one another. So I’ve learned that if you’re genuinely curious and you’re kind, you will learn for the rest of your life. And what more could you possibly want than that?