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Professional leadership at The State News to change in upcoming months

April 12, 2018
The State News Newsroom Adviser Omar Sofradzija poses for a portrait on April 11, 2018 in his office at The State News.
The State News Newsroom Adviser Omar Sofradzija poses for a portrait on April 11, 2018 in his office at The State News. —
Photo by Nic Antaya | The State News

Two leadership roles at The State News will change in 2018, and both positions are open to applications from the public.

The student-led newspaper will see the departure of newsroom adviser Omar Sofradzija at the end of the spring semester. Later, in December 2018, general manager Martha Sturgeon will retire.

Sofradzija, who is also a professor within the School of Journalism at MSU, reflected on his experiences with The State News. As an editorial adviser to The State News, Sofradzija said he’s there to offer professional advice to students.

“Essentially, I’m a professional in residence at The State News,” Sofradzija said. “What I mean by that is, I don’t tell people what to do and I don’t make decisions on what should get done. I’m here as a reference, I’m here as a sounding board, I’m here to offer advice, I’m here to critique their work. I’m here to help them determine their goals, and then help them reach their goals.”

Part of the process also allows students to make decisions regarding what news products they publish, Sofradzija said. 

“It’s their newspaper and their news product and the agenda that they set,” Sofradzija said. “I’m just here to help them make it happen.”

Sofradzija was once a journalism student who worked at his own college newspaper in Illinois. He said working with students, like he once was, is a gratifying process.

“It’s rewarding to see them facing the same sort of challenges I had back then and seeing them overcome those challenges in unique and important ways that are really going to help them be the sort of people they want to be going forward,” Sofradzija said.

Sofradzija said his admiration for journalism was not the only reason why working at The State News was rewarding for him.

“As much as I love and appreciate journalism, it’s less about the content and more about the people here and our staff using this opportunity to figure out who they are and where they belong and how to tap into their purpose in life,” Sofradzija said. “Whether they’ve gone on to journalism or not, I’m always glad to see people discovering who they are and then finding where they belong in the greater world, and to me that’s the biggest reward of The State News.”

Sofradzija said seeing the process of students trying to obtain what they want in a future career makes him appreciate the time he’s had with The State News even more.

“My departure here is bittersweet in that regard,” Sofradzija said. “I’m excited about what comes next, but I’m always going to appreciate and value and even miss this place.”

Staff members at The State News said Sofradzija is a reliable adviser.

“Omar will be sincerely missed by the staff here,” Staff Representative Marie Weidmayer said. “He was always a great person to bounce ideas off and get life advice from.” 

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