It was clear early last fall that the Daily Forty-Niner had a bright future when Madalyn Amato jumped out of her chair to go report a breaking story before anyone else.
The then-newly transferred student from Fullerton College was an instant stand-out reporter and a go-to among the editorial staff. Along with her outstanding reporting, Amato brought her experience from Fullerton College’s student newspaper, The Hornet, where she worked as news editor, director of multimedia and editor in chief.
“From the first day she set foot in our newsroom, you knew she was going to be a great journalist,” said Jay Seidel, adviser of The Hornet. “There’s something about her. I’ve always been impressed by her enthusiasm and energy. She has such a passion for journalism whether it’s written or photographic.”
When Amato, a third-year journalism major, showed interest last winter in being news editor at the ‘Niner, she was a shoo-in. Her work on the award-winning “behind the scenes” series, her around-the-clock coverage of COVID-19 and her hundreds of bylines are a testament to that.
“Maddy is a great writer and editor,” said Julia Terbeche, podcast editor at the Forty-Niner. “She knows how to say what she wants. I trust her judgment, and we work well together.”
It’s a tradition for staffers to decorate their desks when they “move-in.” Some editors choose to cover their desks with “Star Wars” memorabilia or Nicki Minaj perfumes.
Amato’s approach was different. She simply added a stack of reporter’s notebooks and a pile of pens, and hung the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics above her computer.
She meant business. And she continues to mean business as she flourishes as a journalist and leader.
Which is why the Daily Forty-Niner is proud to announce that Amato will be the editor in chief for fall 2020.
Amato said she plans to continue to move the publication “digital-first” with new social media strategies and more visual components on the website.
“I’m proud to be a member of the Forty-Niner,” she said. “Over the past two semesters, I’ve gained a lot of pride. I’m excited to lead the team and move the publication forward.”
Amato will build on the 70 years of the publication in a time when journalism faces uncertainty. But despite the setbacks of the coronavirus pandemic and a shaky economy, she and her team will still be the go-to campus news source.
“She’s not afraid to be firm and honest,” Terbeche said. “Both as a journalist and as a person. She knows how to get shit done.”